Navigating Pregnancy After Loss

Let’s be honest, for most women, navigating pregnancy after loss sucks. On the outside, folks may think you’re getting your rainbow baby, your promise, your happy ending. But you know two things to be true:
  1. this new life does not replace the one you lost.
  2. what you know, better than most, is that there are no guarantees.

Does this mean you have to live your pregnancy in fear, anger, or anxiety? Absolutely not. But it is important to note that these things are part of the equation. Joy, hope, love can coexist with grief, anxiety and fear. 

To ease your mind, consider these things as you navigate pregnancy after loss.

5 tips for navigating pregnancy after loss

Build a support team on the same page

Ensure your birth team and care providers understand your context for this pregnancy.  Don’t worry about taking too much time, it is important for your team to understand your needs, fears, and hopes. This is where there is a big advantage to working with a midwifery team. Most perinatal appointments are an hour long, allowing for plenty of time. If you find office visits stressful, bring a support person to ultrasounds and perinatal appointments.

Connecting with a doula or pregnancy after loss support group can also be an incredible addition to your support team.

Be bold and assertive with what you want and need

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Do you want extra testing? Ask for it. Do you want to avoid certain spaces? Share that information with your provider. Make your provider slow down to hear what you need. Share your triggers, what is supportive and remember it’s okay if that changes throughout your pregnancy.

Stay in the present moment

Stressing about what might happen, isn’t helpful, because like so much of the birth process, it’s out of our control. Even planning for the future may feel like too much, and that is okay.

When you feel yourself spiraling or anxiety taking the wheel, acknowledge it and then bring yourself back to center. Acknowledge what you know to be true in this moment: This is a different pregnancy. I am pregnant today, I am safe, my baby is safe.

Incorporate mindfulness practices and grounding exercises to help bring you back.

Know Whatever you are feeling is valid

People process pregnancy after loss differently and that is normal and valid. Somedays you may be overjoyed and other days may feel impossible. Feelings of guilt often sneak in – guilt for not enjoying or enjoying pregnancy, for connecting (or struggling to connect) with this new baby. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to feel certain ways. Acknowledge, without judgement, how you’re feeling today, know that it will shift through your experience, and that there is no wrong way to process pregnancy after loss.  

Remember to take care of you

The focus, with most pregnancies, is around the well-being of that growing babe. But your mental, emotional and physical well-being is just as important. Eat well and move your body in a way that brings you joy to lessen the effects of anxiety.

Create a joylist, full of things that make you feel centered, connected, and joyful. Do something from this list each day. It can be small, like drinking a cup of coffee in your favorite mug, or bigger like going on a fun date.

Journal, work with a therapist, or attend a support group to help acknowledge fears, without letting them rule your pregnancy.

Herbal remedies like rescue remedy, skullcap, lemon balm, magnesium, and motherwort are helpful to calm nerves in the moment. As always check with your provider before starting an herbal remedies. 

Have you navigated pregnancy after loss? I’d love to hear your story. Share in the comments below.

Need more support as you navigate this pregnancy? Book your Bump Life Basics Consultation to go from feeling like a stranger in your own body, fearing food, or worrying with every workout to consciously and confidently navigating pregnancy with ease.

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