Becoming pregnant after a loss can be an intense experience.
One woman may welcome the pregnancy with exuberance and confidence in her body’s ability to carry to term while another is filled with ambivalence …or even breath-snatching anxiety. This is further complicated if pregnancy loss is part of a fertility narrative for the woman– repeated experiences of pregnancy loss can make it difficult to feel calm and confident while pregnant. If the woman knows the importance of the in utero environment for a developing baby, she may find herself stressing out about stressing out!
Part of the healing process is to fully acknowledge the storm the mother has been through in losing her child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death. While some of these losses are acknowledged by our culture as a “legitimate,” others, sometimes, are not. In fact, a woman who is grieving the loss of a child earlier in the pregnancy may experience it as the loss of a child but may not feel she has access to traditional cultural scripts around mourning and grief.
In every case, it is important for the mother to determine for herself the meaning and depth of her loss. She has a right to describe the storm she’s been through in her own terms. And, she can learn skills to manage the anxiety, ambivalence, or fear which can be stoked by becoming pregnant again. It is possible to mourn the loss of a previous pregnancy while establishing a loving bond with the new, developing baby.
A pregnancy carried to term after loss often represents a rainbow after the storm. It is a beautiful event that does not negate the power of the storm that preceded it. These children often represent hope as the counterbalance to the devastation of loss. Babies born after loss are beautiful, sometimes bittersweet, proof that life moves ever forward!
Sometimes mothers need support in finding their way to hope so that they can feel they are bonding fully with their new baby. In this case, individual therapy or group therapy is a terrific option for moms to connect with their energy, their confidence, and their wisdom.
Thank you for visiting Pregnancy Loss Therapy! Here’s to you– wishing you lots of rainbows.