Written by my Spring 2019 apprenticeship program participant, Brooke Davis, this post discusses the specific challenges of pregnancy after miscarriage and how she overcame them.
I just recently read a quote that said “pregnancy after miscarriage is like holding your breath for 9 months.” That resonates deeply with me, and I’m sure many other women who have suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth and go on to get pregnant again.
The excitement that you feel to be pregnant again can often be drowned out by the unrelenting fears that stay in your mind. Will this time be different? Will I have to go through this pain and loss again? How will I get through these next 9 months? I know I’ve had these thoughts run wild in my mind for sure.
After suffering a miscarriage last year, I’m blessed to be expecting again. Currently 29 weeks pregnant with my first baby, a girl. Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve had to cope with many fears and worries. However, through it all I have been determined to try my best to enjoy this journey. It’s been difficult at times, but I’ve learned some things along the way that have really helped me. I’d like to share a few suggestions for enjoying a pregnancy after experiencing a previous loss.
Acknowledge and accept your feelings and fear.
It’s okay to feel scared, nervous, and anxious. When I first found out I was pregnant again, I initially tried to hold back these feelings. I felt guilty that my excitement was stifled by fear. I slowly learned to accept what I was feeling. It’s a completely natural response after experiencing such a heartbreaking loss.
It’s fine that you may not want to announce your pregnancy right away or buy baby items too soon. I had to learn to be content with the fact that my pregnancy experience this time around may not be the same as it is for a woman who has never experienced a miscarriage. Acknowledging the loss I experienced and accepting that things may be a bit different for me, until I’m more comfortable, took a lot of pressure off of myself.
Be as healthy as you can be.
There’s a lot about pregnancy we can’t control, so whatever is in your control, try to make sure it’s in your best interest. Take a good prenatal vitamin, stay active, eat nutrient-dense foods, and follow any specific instructions given by your OB/GYN or Midwife. These things don’t always guarantee good outcomes, but they definitely help! Trying to be as healthy as you can be for your baby can give you a small sense of control in an otherwise unpredictable time in your life.
Give yourself some major self-care.
With the anxiety and stress you may feel, finding an outlet is so important. Prayer and reading devotionals were so helpful for me in releasing a lot of the fear that I held onto. I would seek out pregnancy prayers and read many scriptures specific to worry, fear, and anxiety. This was such a calming routine for me.
Prenatal yoga and meditation also helped me to look inward and really connect with my baby—which I had previously been afraid to do. Whatever self-care activities help you to relieve stress, I encourage you to make it a top priority during this time. Allowing inspirational, motivational, and/or spiritual time to be a part of your pregnancy may be a great step to helping you enjoy this journey.
Find a community of support.
Connecting with women who have experienced a pregnancy loss really helped me to feel like I’m not alone. You often don’t realize how common miscarriages are until you’ve gone through it yourself and other women are brave and kind enough to share their stories. I’ve found this sense of support comforting and uplifting, especially from women who have gone on to have healthy pregnancies and babies after their loss.
Connecting with other pregnant women, even those who have not experienced a miscarriage, can also truly help with enjoying your pregnancy. The bonding that occurs while you go through similar milestones is amazing. I joined a prenatal yoga series after my first trimester and the excitement that those women had about their pregnancies was truly contagious. I would often forget my own worry and fear for that hour and a half of class.
Finding a community of support may be looking into a local support group, connecting with other expectant moms where you work or live, joining online groups, participating in various prenatal classes, or even creating one yourself.
Communicate with your partner.
Communication with your partner about your feelings is a crucial step in enjoying a pregnancy after a previous loss. Although I was the one that physically went through the miscarriage last year, my husband experienced the same loss that I did. Talking about our worries and fears together, along with our excitement of what was to come, was imperative to helping me find comfort in enjoying this pregnancy. If I had down days he was able to lift me up, and I could do the same for him.
Along these 29 weeks of pregnancy, I have learned so much along the way. When I first saw my positive pregnancy test I initially thought the fear, worry, and “what ifs” would have me miserable for my entire pregnancy. As I get closer to my due date, I’m proud to say that I have actually learned to enjoy this journey. Do I still have my moments where fear sets in? Absolutely. I still have a few weeks left of pregnancy and likely won’t be completely comfortable until I am holding my daughter in my arms. However, these strategies above have really helped me personally see that there is hope for enjoying a pregnancy after miscarriage.
Brooke Davis is a Registered Nurse, Certified Women’s Health Coach, and founder of Healthier Existence. Healthier Existence specializes in working with women who have menstrual and reproductive concerns along with other symptoms of hormone imbalance. With 1:1, do it yourself, and group programs, Healthier Existence aims to help women utilize good nutrition and other healthy habits to help balance their hormones naturally, become free from unwanted hormonal symptoms, and improve fertility. To learn more, visit her website.