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Navigating Pregnancy After Loss

Melissa Sulley | | Comments 0

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We know the journey of pregnancy is a rollercoaster of emotions, and when you've experienced the heartbreak of loss, embarking on another pregnancy can be especially difficult. Feelings of anxiety, fear, and even guilt are incredibly common. It's completely normal to worry about the health and well-being of your new baby, constantly wondering if history will repeat itself. Every twinge or discomfort can make your heart skip a beat. But here's the thing you are not alone in these feelings. Many folks who have experienced loss feel a mix of emotions during subsequent pregnancies. It's important to acknowledge and honour these feelings, but it's also crucial to find moments of joy, hope, and excitement amidst the fear. 

Easier said than done right?! So what are some ways you can manage the anxiety and fear during this pregnancy? How can you make space for the grief and joy while still celebrating the small moments? We know this isn’t easy and we know everyone’s journey is different. Below we share 6 things that have helped others navigate their pregnancy after loss and we hope it can bring some light to your journey as well. 

Make Space for Grief & Joy 

It’s important to acknowledge the range of emotions you may be experiencing. From joy and gratitude, to fear and worry; it’s all valid. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings, and don't feel like you need to move through them quickly. Cry and laugh when you need to for as long as you need to. Feel anger. Feel the joy. It's ok. It's normal. 

It’s also helpful to remind yourself that pregnancy after loss does not erase the pain of loss. It’s okay to mourn the baby you lost and to acknowledge the grief that accompanies your new pregnancy. Give yourself permission to grieve; it’s a natural part of the healing process. This doesn’t mean you love your new baby any less.  

Celebrate Milestones & Bond with Baby 

Every milestone reached during pregnancy after loss comes with a renewed sense of hope. Whether it's hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time or feeling those little kicks. Celebrate each milestone as a reminder that this pregnancy is unique and deserving of joy. Share these special moments with your partner, friends, or loved ones, and allow yourself to fully embrace the happiness that comes with them. 

Take time to bond with baby. Talk or sing your favourite songs to them. Buy something special for them that you can cherish no matter the outcome. Write letters to them that you can read back years down the road. Do whatever big or small things that feel right to you to gently celebrate this baby to come. 

Also take time to remember the ones you’ve lost. Wear a piece of jewellery, read stories, or even hang artwork in your house that reminds you of them. Talk about them, say their name(s). Find ways to incorporate them into this current pregnancy as a way to honour them as well.  

Regular Self-Care & Healing 

Taking care of yourself is crucial during pregnancy after loss. Prioritize what is healing for you. Experiment, try new things, see what fits. Give precedence to emotional and physical self-care. Speak positive affirmations to yourself, practice mindfulness, or try prayer or meditation, techniques. Go to therapy or work with a pregnancy after loss coach. Try some yoga, write through your emotions, sing or listen to songs that bring you joy. Create things, read cheesy novels, go for a hike; try all of the things. Eat healthy, move your body, go get massages. Do whatever you need to do to help you on your healing journey, and to help reduce anxiety during your pregnancy.  

Advocate for Yourself  

Often times in the medical system our fears and anxieties are brushed aside and we are told we are "worrying for nothing.Get as much reassurance as you need. Get a midwife or a doula who is experienced in advocating for birthers. Have someone walking alongside you who will fight for you and with you. Dont brush anything off, go and checked out even if it's just for your own peace of mind and mental health. 

Surround Yourself with Good People 

Surrounding yourself with a few good people who are empathetic and understand the complexities of your journey in one way or another can be life saving. This doesn’t mean all the people on your “few good people” list have experienced a loss, but they are acquainted with grief of sorts and are able to sit with you in the mixed emotions. These “few good people” listen, they don’t minimize your pain or make you explain the pain away. They make you feel safe, comfortable, and important. They hold space for all your questions without the need to provide answers. They are willing to say “this is really hard” and able to make you laugh in those much needed moments of release. Find these few good people in your life, and hold onto them. You’ll need them.  

Be Easy on Yourself 

Being pregnant after loss is not easy. It can be plagued with worries as your body grows and adjusts to life growing within you. Make space for all the emotions, celebrate the milestones, advocate for yourself, and surround yourself with a supportive community. But, above all, take time to rest and remember to be easy on yourself.  

Know that we are rooting for you, gently celebrating with you, and holding onto hope for you as you navigate this rollercoaster of pregnancy after loss.  

Melissa Sulley

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Coach

Melissa Sulley is an accredited Pregnancy + Infant Loss Grief Coach with a Bachelor of Psychology and Education from Western University. She is the mother of three children earth-side and seven children waiting for her in the stars. 

Her personal experiences with pregnancy, parenting, and loss have fuelled her passion to empower families through parenthood and grief. She has chronicled her journey on her blog and built an online coaching business to support others through loss. 

Aside from her work, you can often find Melissa sipping margaritas with her single mom friends, café hopping, laughing at ridiculous memes, or curled up with a good book on the couch.  

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