10 Things No One Says to the Anxious Pregnancy After Loss Mom (But Probably Should)

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During my pregnancy after loss I was SUPER anxious! And you know what, that is TOTALLY normal. A pregnancy that follows a loss is a unique experience, one where the joy of expecting a new baby is riddled with fear. You worry that this baby will die too, just like your previous baby did. It’s no wonder that the mom pregnant again after a loss is wracked with fears during the next pregnancy. So, if you support a mom who is going through a pregnancy that follows a loss, here are some things you CAN say to help her. You may ease her nerves for a minute or two during this anxious nine month journey through pregnancy after loss.

  1. Your motherhood is not defined by the number of children you have on Earth or by your child’s death or by your losses. You.Are.A.Mother! No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Remember that!
  2. You are brave, strong, and courageous. You are grieving AND creating new life at the same time. That is super wicked hard–no matter how others respond to you and your conflicting emotions of pregnancy after loss. You are a courageous mama!
  3. Just take one step at a time. You don’t have to do it all today. You don’t have to do any of it today. Just take one day at a time. Remember, today you are okay.
  4. You deserve to believe that this baby will live, no matter how hard that it might be to do. If it’s too hard for you to believe this, then I will believe it for you. I’ve got you!
  5. I will hold onto hope for you. I know that is really hard to do during a pregnancy that follows a loss. If you can’t get behind the idea of hope right now, then I will for you. I will hold onto hope so tight that it will squeeze out and ooze right into you.
  6. You don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to be courageous. You get to be scared and sad and all that messy emotional stuff because this pregnancy after loss shit is hard! You get to have all the feels because that is what this messy life after loss is about. I give you permission to embrace it. Feel the feels. It will be okay. The emotions won’t break you. They are there because you love and loved so strongly that your heart now feels like it wants to burst. Let it. I’ll help pick up the pieces.
  7. You get to feel joy. You get to celebrate this life and the life growing inside of you. You deserve it!
  8. You are already a mother to ALL your children: living, deceased, and in the making. You are a beautiful mama, no matter what!
  9. You are a loving mother. As Jodi Picoult is quoted, “The very fact that you are worried about being a good mom means you already are a good mom, a loving mom.”
  10. I’m here with you.

*Photo Source: “IMG_2824” by Bri Stoterau, Bri_x0 @ Flickr, use licensed by Creative Commons 2.0

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About the Author:

Lindsey Henke

Lindsey Henke is the founder and Executive Director of Pregnancy After Loss Support, writer, clinical social worker, wife, and most importantly a mother to two beautiful daughters and one sweet-cheeked baby boy. Tragically, her oldest daughter, Nora was stillborn after a healthy full-term pregnancy in December of 2012. Since then, she has turned to writing on her blog, Still Breathing. Lindsey was featured as Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine’s Knocked Up Blogger during her pregnancy with her second daughter, Zoe, who was born healthy and alive in March of 2014. Her writing about life after loss has been featured on Still Standing Magazine, Listen to Your Mother, Scary Mommy, Healthline, Postpartum Progress, and The New York Times. Lindsey can be reached by email.

7 Comments

  1. Nicole July 28, 2016 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Hi, I needed this. I had a missed miscarriage in February of this year (2016). I am now pregnancy again, 11 weeks today! A week ago we saw our little baby, he/she had a strong heartbeat, 160 bpm. But I am struggling today. I didn’t know I miscarried until we went to the doctor, last week we went into that small room, the same room where we were told that our little baby had no heartbeat. It was devastating. But this time it was good news. But I can’t kick this feeling that sometime bad is going to happen.

    “You don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to be courageous. You get to be scared and sad and all that messy emotional stuff because this pregnancy after loss shit is hard! You get to have all the feels because that is what this messy life after loss is about. I give you permission to embrace it. Feel the feels. It will be okay. The emotions won’t break you. They are there because you love and loved so strongly that your heart now feels like it wants to burst. Let it. I’ll help pick up the pieces.”

    Today, I am not strong, I am not courageous. I am so scared and sad and so, emotional. I am so worried that something is wrong but my body isn’t going to tell me. I am going to go back to that doctor’s office and go into that room and there is not going to be a heartbeat.

    Thanks for your permission to feel these feelings because my husband and mother tell me that all this worrying isn’t going to be good for the baby and everything is going to be okay but how can it when it wasn’t before?

    Thank you,
    Nicole

    • Chandra Hardy December 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      Nicole,

      I experienced almost exactly what you did. We went in at 13 weeks to hear our baby’s heartbeat and it wasn’t there. They sent us to get an ultrasound and seeing a baby that got to 7 or 8 weeks and stopped growing, with no heartbeat… it was the most devastating moment of my life.

      18 months later we found out we were pregnant again and I was in tears before I even laid down for them to try to find that first heartbeat. Luckily, this time they found it and now we’re 36 weeks along, but I’ve spent every minute since that pregnancy test came back positive worrying that something will go wrong. People have told me the same things they’re telling you (everything is going to be ok), but yeah, it wasn’t before and you can’t just erase that. I loved this list 🙂

      I hope everything goes well for you this time. I hope you find moments where you can let yourself feel excited and happy, and that you can be gentle with yourself when you find yourself hesitating.

      Best of luck,

      Chandra

  2. MIA – Allowing Myself August 2, 2016 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    […] Where I am “grieving AND creating new life at the same time“. […]

  3. Alicia Risi January 1, 2017 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    I experienced a missed miscarriage in May 2015. I also had a chemical pregnancy 3 months ago. I’m now 7 weeks pregnant and have my confirmatory appointment on Tuesday. I really needed to read this. I’ve been holding my breath and trying to be positive, but it’s so hard. I’m so scared! But reading this made me feel like maybe those closest to me can keep me afloat while I fall apart a little…

  4. […] 10 Things No one Says  to the Anxious After Pregnancy Loss Mom (but should) […]

  5. Stephanie April 19, 2017 at 6:53 am - Reply

    I can’t tell you how much this article means to me. I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks, then was pregnant with my rainbow baby two month later and then 10 months after she was born was pregnant again and miscarried at about 8 weeks. A year after our last miscarriage I am now 7 weeks pregnant and am absolutely terrified. We have seen our baby and the heartbeat but all I can think about is how at any moment it might just stop. My husband just keeps telling me “you can’t think that!” I can’t wait to share this article with him to show him that how I feel is ok. Thank you SO much for sharing this!

  6. Skyla J August 26, 2017 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    Oh my goodness thank you !!! Bless you and your beautiful for this article. I am 5 weeks pregnant after a MMC and D&C at 10w. I go from feeling anxious to indifferent and almost numb. The feelings of indifference make me sacred, because how can I feel indifferent if it is a viable pregnancy ? I felt so deeply connected and joyful about my last baby I was on cloud nine the whole time !! So it must mean it isn’t viable because I don’t feel that connection .. or I won’t let myself for fear of another loss, both options make me feel sad. But reading your list bubbled up some tears that desperately needed to come up and for that I am so grateful. Your words were so comforting and exactly what I needed to read.

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