My Pregnancy After Loss Bill of Rights

PregnancyAfterLossBillofRights

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.

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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.

10 Comments

  1. Zoe whittaker January 29, 2015 at 9:21 am - Reply

    I wish I had been able to read this when I was pregnant with my 2 year old after I had lost my still born son , if anything it would have made me feel normal with how I was feeling xx

  2. Aretha Richards January 30, 2015 at 2:15 am - Reply

    I wish I had this the 8 years between my third loss and my Rainbow. After being told I would never have children I had my Rainbow and even then I had doctors telling me I would not have her – but my faith, that is all that I can call it – I had complete peace and faith that I would have “this” baby and now she is 13 and the joy of my life – she is the reason for everything I do every day. I am so glad that other mommies have this Bill of Rights and the support that us older mommies of loss did not have

  3. Laura Stark January 31, 2015 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Just what I needed to hear. Thank you.

  4. […] https://pregnancyafterlosssupport.com/pregnancy-loss-bill-rights/ Traducción y adaptación: Dra Agostina Bianconi y María Esther Olivera (Equipo Fundación Era en […]

  5. Loren Mcaleer March 13, 2015 at 12:39 am - Reply

    I just want to thank you for this – I’m passed the halfway mark in my pregnancy after 3 losses and haven’t once felt like anyone or anything understood all of the things I’ve been feeling until reading this. For the first time, I feel normal and more at ease knowing that it’s not just me who has went through all of these things.

  6. Kelli May 18, 2015 at 12:30 am - Reply

    Thank you for this. I just found out that I am pregnant again after 2 miscarriages, and am having a difficult time navigating my feelings. This is extremely helpful and comforting. Thank you again.

  7. Elizabeth August 5, 2015 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    I wish I saw this a year ago when I had my first lost

  8. Bhavana February 23, 2016 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    This is what i really want to do, especially after my 3rd pregnancy loss BIG THANKS

  9. Whitney June 7, 2016 at 7:03 am - Reply

    I needed this right now. I’m in suck a terrible place and feel that no one around me understands. I am pregnant with my rainbow baby but I should still be pregnant with the child we lost. In fact I would be due this Saturday. Having to try to be happy while I am still grieving for the baby I just lost a few months ago is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Number 11. made me cry, because I am indeed confused about the dance of joy and grief and I have not been able to celebrate this pregnancy, although I want to… Thanks for this.

  10. Tokoya Patterson March 7, 2017 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Thank you

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