Dear Courageous Mama…Pregnant with your Last Child after a Loss

_LK10996_LKDear Courageous Mama…Pregnant with your Last Child after a Loss,

Not that long ago,  I was you. I was standing where you are standing right now. I was pregnant with my rainbow baby, my LAST baby.

I will not lie. As happy as I was, I was terrified too. Pregnancy after loss is not an easy path to tread. It was not the journey I wanted for me. It’s not a journey any of us would choose, but I want you to hear these words, sweet mama. You can do this!  Yes, it’s going to be the one of the hardest things you’ve ever done.  Yes, it’s going to be scary at times, but I promise you it will also be full of so much hope, beauty, and love that sometimes your heart will feel like it’s going to explode with joy.

As emotional as a PAL pregnancy is, knowing that it’s your last pregnancy makes it more bittersweet – if such a thing is possible. Embrace all of those feelings, courageous mama. Every single one. They are yours. You have earned them, especially the happy ones.

Sweet mama, I know that ever since you found out you were pregnant and knew THIS was the final time,  it seems like the days are creeping slowly by. Your body has betrayed you before, and you are afraid it will again.  You are looking forward to the moment when your baby will finally be here, alive, safe, and where you never have to take your eyes off of him (or her) again.

It seems like that day will never come, especially on those anxious days when you worry more than usual. Maybe you’re not quite sure if your baby is moving as much as he usually does, so you go in to see your OB for one extra monitoring. It’s reassuring to hear that strong, fast fetal heartbeat and the swooshes (and feel the kicks) while your son tries to kick to monitor off because it’s too restraining around your belly. Maybe it’s the weekend and you can’t get those contractions to stop, even after guzzling water and lying on your side, so you head to labor and delivery again. Whatever the reason for calling your OB office and asking to speak with the nurse or calling the on-call doctor and waking her up at 1 am., you don’t feel silly at all because they knows you’ve already lost a baby and that you’re higher risk this time. They also know that this is your last baby, so you’re all kinds of emotional and determined to make sure that everything goes as OK as it possibly can.

Yes, courageous mama, when you first learn that you are pregnant with your final child after a loss, it seems like you are pregnant forever, or at least as long as an elephant gestates.  It’s scary to think about how much can go wrong in the days between conception and delivery, and Google is not your friend when you are worried about every single new symptom you are experiencing.

Not long ago, I was you. I was standing where you are standing. Happy, terrified, and ready to embrace my last baby. But now that my rainbow is here,  I want to tell you, as scary as my PAL pregnancy was, I miss it too. It went by much quicker than I realized it would.

I miss the first time I felt him move…and how happy it made me feel because I KNEW he was really there. I miss the way his brother and sister squealed in delight the first time they felt him kick…and how surprised they were that someone so tiny could be so strong. I miss the way he got hiccups every single day…and how I could set my phone on my belly and watch it dance.  My family got a big laugh out of that one too. I miss the way his daddy would put his mouth against my belly and chant “1, 2, 3, 4! I love the Marine Corps!” That would really make him kick hard. I even kind of miss the yucky stuff like the morning sickness and the achy back and waddling around. I’d do it all over again.

I have a lot of pictures and I wrote a lot about my pregnancy, but some of my favorite memories are just that – memories. Snapshots and sound bytes that only exist in my head. I’ll never forget the first time I heard my last baby cry or the way I cried too, knowing he was finally here – alive and safe. I’ll never forget the first time I saw his daddy hold him or how gentle he was picking him up that first time. I’ll never forget the first time the nurse handed him to me or how I kissed him and whispered, “Hello, my love.  I’m your mommy, and I love you.” I never wanted to let him go.

It’s OK to be scared, mama. It’s ok to anxiously await your baby’s arrival, but take a moment to enjoy to little things. Looking back, those little things are the big things. Embrace this pregnancy as fully as you feel comfortable embracing it. As much as you are looking forward to holding your precious baby in your arms, one day you’re going to miss the closeness you’re sharing together right now.

Take a picture. Make a memory. Breathe! Enjoy THIS moment.

Love, Tara

Kids Hospital Jesse
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About the Author:

Tara Bennett Kilian
Tara Bennett Kilian is the Social Media Coordinator and Editor for Pregnancy After Loss Support. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her three living children. She's a former English teacher turned WAHM, a writer, and a businesswoman. Due to complications from her first two pregnancies and a diagnosis of secondary infertility, she was surprised and ecstatic to learn she was pregnant in January of 2014, almost a decade after her previous pregnancies. Her shock turned to grief and disbelief when she miscarried. Devastated, and hurt by those who couldn’t empathize, Tara reached out to other loss mothers. Less than two months later, she was pregnant again. Feeling a multitude of emotions, she found solace at PALS, where she could share her experiences with other moms on a similar journey. Tara is now the proud mother of a rainbow! As someone who loves supporting loved ones through difficult times, Tara is excited to help other mothers through the emotional journey of PAL, and she thinks it's a great way to honor the memory of the baby she lost. Tara also writes (sporadically) at her blog This Old Lady Had a Baby.


  1. Glynis Markey February 12, 2016 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    I had my first son in 1975 after a long stay in hospital as I had pre eclampsia.I was only 21 and it was quite traumatic looking back.I had to have an emergency c section @ 37 weeks.But we were both ok.Then three years later I gave birth to my second son and this was a long labour that culminated in a forceps delivery.I divorced the father of my two eldest sons and remarried several years later.I became pregnant in 1989 and everything seemed alright until the final few weeks.I could not feel any movement and I was getting severe pains.Anyway I visited my midwife and she sent me home and said not to worry,She did not carry out any basic observations.When I returned for my routine visit a few days later I was informed that there was no heartbeat.I had to give birth to my son naturally and I was about 38/39 weeks pregnant.After Luke was born we decided to have another baby and I fell pregnant fairly soon after.But at 18 weeks I started to haemorrhage and I went to the hospital and was told this baby had also died.I was left throughout the night and the next day had a scan,This revealed that although I had lost a fair amount of blood my baby was alright.I gave birth to Kane via a c section at 38 weeks.He was healthy and the next year I had Eden again a c section delivery.

  2. kim April 9, 2016 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    I am 9.5 weeks pregnant with my rainbow. I lost my son at 39.5 weeks last year. I just wanted to say that this article is so beautiful and so moving.

  3. Glenna May 18, 2016 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    I love your blog. Yes, being pregnant after my loss 8months ago different. But thank you for the encouragement and beautiful words you wrote because you made me feel strong and confident about my new journey. Thank you so much.

  4. kelli July 14, 2016 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this we lost our son mother’s day weekend this past May he’s our 3rd child our first angel. We have gone around and around about having another as sweet Joseph was not planned we were sure we were doe and he surprised us and broke us. My mind says it was not meant to be I was not to have a 3rd here on earth buy my heart needs that baby here my heart doesn’t care about logistics. I’ve reached the point where most people look at me like “are you still sad about that” & yes I am there is no words for the pain of holding your child’s lifeless body in your arms and kissing him good bye. At the same time people think it makes no sen see to go again or that my wanting to try again is an attempt to “replace” our son as if a chld could be replaced. I appreciate your honesty.

  5. Krista July 31, 2016 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Thanks! Thanks for sharing your heart and experience. We are expecting our rainbow baby in 2 months. A good reminder to just enjoy. We are thinking this will be our last. Such a good reminder for my husband and I and our son and daughter to slow down and enjoy all these special moment.

  6. Nicole Mion January 30, 2017 at 8:00 am - Reply

    This story touched me very very close to Heart I got pregnant in 2014 after 16 years of no babies I thought I was done having children I lost that baby at 17 and a half weeks I’ve been got pregnant 2 months later with my son Sylis he was a very strong baby and very very active when I was about 32 and a half weeks his movements slow dramatically I put it off as he was running out of room cuz he was getting bigger and I was small plus I had not been pregnant in almost 17 years by this time well his movements finally completely stopped I tried everything to get him to move drinking juice eating sweets nothing worked I went to my local hospital Labor and Delivery and was told those awful words there is no heartbeat I had to deliver my baby via C-section as he was transverse and they do want to try to cause any harm to his little body by trying to turn him I was sure I wanted my tubes tied while they were doing the C-section doctor talked me out of it and I’m glad she did 7 months after I lost Silas I became pregnant with my rainbow and my last baby I’m 38 and I have cervical cancer I knew I would not have another chance after this one my fears were oh so real and I was just so sure that history was going to repeat itself she is here now and safe and a happy 7 month old baby but I do miss all of my pregnancy symptoms milestones and people’s reactions my oldest children are about to be 21 and 19 and I too took great pride when they pulled her out cuz I had her at 37 weeks via C-section again and they handed her her daddy for the first time I could not stop crying your story reminds me so much of my own I will never take for granted the life that grows inside of a woman’s womb and I constantly try to help women understand that stuff like this can happen and does happen thank you so much for sharing your story and huge hugs to you and your Rainbow pot of gold

  7. Cristina May 7, 2018 at 6:49 am - Reply

    Thank you so much… your letter has filled me with love and hope.
    A PAL mum from Spain.

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