• What We Wish You Knew About Pregnancy After Loss

by Kathleen Smith October 16, 2019

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This is a special guest blog post contributed by Amanda Morris who is a mama to one on earth, one in heaven, and one on the way.

Being pregnant after loss is one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced - second only to my stillbirth itself.

You see... All the typical parts of grieving and healing after a loved one dies are not allowed after you have a stillbirth and still long for more children. 

Your body holds all the scars of every second of your baby’s life and death. Your mind still remembers what it was like to be so excited about your new baby and the crushing feeling of hearing the words, “I’m so sorry, but there’s no heartbeat.” 

You have to go through the trauma of delivering a baby that is never going to cry. Then your body goes through all the typical postpartum symptoms; bleeding, swollen belly, leaking breasts, engorgement, depression, etc.  

And then, as if that isn’t enough for one person to throw in the towel and say I’m done, you somehow find the strength to try again.

Because your heart has a meteor-sized hole in it.  

Because you know there are more children waiting for you.

Because your arms are as empty as ever and you desperately need to fill them.  

The reason I say you are not allowed to grieve in the typical way in a pregnancy after a loss is that usually when someone dies you can help mitigate the triggers that cause you emotional pain. You can try to avoid certain things that bring up feelings and remind you of how your loved one died. 

When you are pregnant again after a loss, you literally have to go through each and every step that led up to your child’s death and experience them all over again. The doctor’s appointments, weekly updates, pregnancy apps, ultrasounds, preparing the nursery, the list goes on and on. 

You have to feel the same symptoms. Your baby’s kicks are a constant reminder of their older sibling’s, and you fear for the day they might stop too.

You’re constantly bombarded with hopeful quotes about rainbow babies at the end of the storm and you try so hard to believe them.  

And then there’s the well meaning comments from strangers and friends. You know, the harmless ones that would be totally welcome to any pregnant woman except you. 

“Are you excited?”

“Is this your first baby?”

“Do you hope it’s a boy or a girl?”

“How many children do you have?” 

These are questions that I’m sure come from a place of genuine curiosity, but they can feel like daggers to a woman pregnant after a loss. We don’t know how to answer them. Do we tell the truth so that we don’t dishonor our angel baby’s memory? Do we quickly answer the question as if the loss never happened to spare the asker any awkward discomfort? 

How deep do we want to get while standing in the grocery store checkout line?  

Next time you see a pregnant woman consider that she might be barely holding it together. Consider how your words may affect her if she’s experienced a previous loss. When it comes to pregnancies, 1 in 4 women have experienced loss and they are more common than you think.

If your friend has experienced a loss, be patient with her. Know that her new pregnancy doesn’t erase the other one. Her mind is so overwhelmed with her own stuff that she may not be able to focus on anything else. She may seem distracted or distant but it may just be her way of coping. She will come back soon. Once she can finally breathe again. Once she knows her baby is safe.  

I’m so grateful for those who have reached out to let me know that my baby is not forgotten by them. There’s nothing more important to a loss mama than acknowledging that her baby existed. 

I’m thankful that Kathleen and Justin, the parents behind Smiling Tree Toys, know how important it is to remember these special babies.

And I love that they make beautiful Memorial Keepsake Blocks for families like mine to honor our babies in heaven. 

Baby Memorial Block

 

———————

Amanda Morris 

Mama to one on earth, one in heaven, and one on the way. 

@amandarmorris



Kathleen Smith
Kathleen Smith

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