Congratulations. Your co-worker, friend, or loved one are pregnant after their loss. You were (hopefully) there to support them when they experienced the heartbreak of their loss and now you’re thrilled to be there for them in this subsequent pregnancy. There are a million questions that you want to ask them. You want to talk about the pregnancy and their feelings and their hopes and their dreams.
But, they don’t seem to have a lot to say.
Well, yes and no. They may do very little talking, but there is a lot to say about being pregnant after a loss.
Here’s what we’re really saying.
What we say: Yes, I’m excited.
What we’re really saying: Sure, I’m excited. I’m also terrified and confused and exhausted. It is possible that I’m feeling every feeling that’s ever been felt and it’s happening all at once. But, I’m going to say I’m excited because the fact that you’re asking me this questions means you don’t totally get it and I just don’t feel like explaining it right now because did I mention, I’m exhausted?
What we say: I’ve had a little morning sickness.
What we’re really saying: I’ve had a little morning sickness, but maybe it’s cramping. I hope I don’t start spotting. But, it’s okay. (Deep breath.) Lots of women spot. There’s the morning sickness again, but I feel like I was more nauseous in my last pregnancy. This feels different. Is more nausea better or worse? Hold on, I do feel like I’m going to throw up but maybe that’s just from all this anxiety.
What we say: I haven’t really bought anything yet.
What we’re really saying: I don’t really want to talk about baby clothes when I’m not sure if there will be a baby to wear them. I’m afraid to go shopping because I don’t want to come home to a room full of baby stuff with no baby. No, I don’t want you to buy me anything because I want to pick it out. It’s my baby. I want to shop for them, but I want to wait. Or maybe I don’t. What if this baby lives and I come home and there’s nothing? Should I fill a cart on Amazon and just check out after the baby is born? I hope 2-day shipping is enough time.
What we say: We’re going to find out the sex.
What we’re really saying: I know that I’m not supposed to care whether it’s a boy or a girl. I know I’m supposed to just want a healthy, living baby. But, I might care a little. That’s okay, right? I’m not sure if I want it to be the same sex as the baby I lost. If it’s the same then it will be like getting a second chance. If it’s different it could be a fresh start. What if I’m disappointed? I’ll feel so guilty. Whatever it is, people will just try to convince me that it’s a blessing. What if it doesn’t feel like a blessing right away? Do you get to care about things like this when you’re pregnant after a loss?
What we say: Yes, my appointment went well.
What we’re really saying: My appointment went well, but that was yesterday. The relief I was feeling after my appointment was gone by the time I finished dinner. I know you think that means everything is going to be okay, but everything was okay last time. Until it wasn’t okay. Then it got bad–really bad. I wonder if it’s going really badly right now. I haven’t felt the baby in a while. Yes, I know I felt them yesterday but maybe something happened overnight. I wonder if the doctor will let me come back in today, just to check.
What we say: Thanks for asking.
What we’re really saying: Thank you so much for checking in on me. Thank you for loving me when I’m hard to love. I want to thank you for continuing to care when I don’t have much to offer in return. Thank you for remembering the baby (or babies) I’ve lost while looking forward to knowing the baby who’s on the way. Your support is everything. A million thank yous that I can’t find the words to say, but they are there. I hope you can hear what I’m really trying to say in those few words I’m sending back to you.