1) I have the right to grieve my child or children that have died and/or the previous pregnancies I have lost. I have the right to be sad about my loss(es) during my current pregnancy.
2) I have the right to be scared, anxious and afraid. I already know what it is like to lose. I know how it feels to have the “It will never happen to me” actually happen to me. I have already had the worst happen, and I know it could happen again. Please don’t diminish my reality by diminishing my fears.
3) I have the right to receive support. I need it now more than ever. Especially from my family, friends, other bereaved and PAL moms, mental health providers, and my pregnancy care team.
4) I have the right to seek reassurance from others when needed. I also have the right to turn down reassurance that others give me that I did not ask for and do not want to hear or believe at this time.
5) I have the right to be believed by health care providers. I am the expert on my body, my baby, and this pregnancy, and my concerns should and will be taken seriously. If they are not taken seriously, I can and will find a doctor or midwife who will respect my experience and expertise of knowing myself and listen to my needs.
6) I have the right to plan for and have the birth experience I choose. Be it a at home, hospital, or C-section birth, I have the right to plan and hope for the birth experience that I will find the most healing. I understand firsthand that life doesn’t always go according to plans, but I still have the right to plan for things being different this time.
7) I have the right to not attend baby showers, birthday parties, holidays and any other events that are triggering for me. Declining an invitation to a baby shower during my pregnancy after loss is not self-centered or rude; it’s called self-preservation, which we all have a right to want and enact during our pregnancy after loss.
8) I have the right to feel joy and hope for this new life I carry inside of me. I am free to hope that this child will bring me some sense of healing and joy back into my life.
9) I have the right to NOT be okay. I have been through one of the worst experiences a person can go through; I have lost a child and the mothering of that child. Because of this I have earned the right to not be alright during this pregnancy after loss. If someone has a problem with that, then they might not be someone that can be in my life right now.
10) I have the right to remember my child(ern) that died and/or the previous pregnancy I have lost. Just because I am expecting again does not mean I have stopped grieving all that I have lost.
11) I have the right to celebrate or not celebrate this pregnancy. Pregnancy after loss is hard. It might be the hardest thing I have ever done after losing my child. I have the right to be confused about the dance of joy and grief that continually flows through me as I expect new life while grieving another.