I'm a chocolate-loving nutritionist, pre & postnatal coach, doula and let's face it- total birth nerd 🤓. I'm here to help you cut through mommy-marketing and pinterest perfection to confidently cultivate a pregnancy and postpartum experience you totally love.
Sunday was National Rainbow Baby Day, which got me thinking all about my own rainbow baby experience. If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I don’t love the term “ rainbow baby”.
For some, the thought of a rainbow baby is the hope they need to navigate the storm of loss.
For me, it feels like it glosses over or serves as a cure for the loss that occurred. Like the immense grief and emptiness is somehow fixed because you got your rainbow. But that grief is also a reminder of my own baby’s existence. One that upon briefly meeting me, or seeing family photos, you may not know about.
I stress that there is no right or wrong way to process pregnancy and infant loss. It is the ultimate you do you, boo.
I’ve warmed up to the term rainbow baby after someone explained that a rainbow is actually the perfect combination of grief and joy, the coexistence of both. It cannot exist without both rain and sunshine.
And that is truly how I would describe navigating pregnancy after loss. It is the ultimate juxtaposition of intense hope, love, joy and anxiety, grief and fear.
Here is what I wish I knew about navigating pregnancy after loss…
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, love and light.
The fear and anxiety of loss does not go away. For some, it’s amplified with subsequent pregnancies. This also may make it more uncomfortable for others as they support us. (this is on them, not on you).
You may not breathe a sigh of relief.
There may not be a magical milestone where you feel safe and assured of your pregnancy outcome. For me, on a deep subconscious level, I did not truly believe I was having another baby until he was crowning. (and then I thought oh shit, we are bringing home a baby— are we ready?)
A support team that advocates for your needs is crucial.
Make sure your birth team is on the same page— do you need extra support during ultrasounds? Do you want additional NSTs? Do you need someone to do the advocating for you because it is too damn draining to do it yourself?
Pregnancy after loss during a pandemic means it may be harder to access the care you need and deserve. Bring up your needs early and often with your team and make a game plan.
Mental and emotional health and wellbeing are just as important as physical wellbeing.
What makes you feel safe, seen, and heard? What do you need to cope with anxiety and fear?
For us, it was important that we had continuity of care, a team that believed in my body’s ability to safely birth, access to additional NSTs and ultrasounds (without feeling like a bother), and easily accessible and compassionate support (shoutout to Alma Midwifery for all that and more).
Everyone’s experience of pregnancy after loss is different, what matters is that you feel safe and supported.