Being pregnant after previous pregnancy loss(es) can be a time of confusing and mixed emotions. With 50-80% of women becoming pregnant again within 12-18 months after their loss, this topic is not spoken about nearly enough.
Why does Pregnancy After Loss (PAL) feel different?
When a woman is pregnant after loss, there is often a mismatch between what she feels she should say, in response to others' comments and questions, and her internal experience - which could be dominated by fear, worry, and sadness from the previous loss.
Our tendency as a society is to focus on the positive and to make assumptions that pregnancy is always exciting, joyful, and celebratory.
Here are some examples of how this can show up, see if any look familiar to you.
A well-meaning friend:
During a routine ultrasound:
A friend who hasn't experienced pregnancy loss:
Scroll to the end of this article for a link on how to better support someone pregnant after a loss!
To the Mamas of their Rainbow Babies (babies after a loss)
If you are pregnant after loss and feeling all sorts of confusing emotions, know that you are not alone. It’s very common to be feeling sadness, fear, and joy, all at once. Or to cycle between many different, and sometimes conflicting, emotions.
The best way to get through your pregnancy is to take it day-by-day, milestone-by-milestone. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Try to allow moments of joy, in between the moments of fear. Even if the joy is fleeting, it is important to allow it when it shows up. This does not jinx you or change anything about this current pregnancy.
- Give yourself permission to grieve and honour your loss(es). It is ok and important to do so. It does not take away from this current pregnancy. They are different pregnancies.
- It is normal to feel angry inside when people tell you "everything's going to be ok". You know their intentions come from a loving place, yet this comment can feel invalidating and dismissive. After a loss, it is hard to trust and believe that this pregnancy will be ok. This is understandable and a very common experience.