At this point we need to touch on the topic of future pregnancies. Many people think that if they can just get pregnant again, all the pain of their loss will magically disappear and life will be perfect again. You need to be forewarned that this is usually not the case. A future pregnancy brings with it some of the pain of the past loss. You no longer approach pregnancy with the same unbridled joy, because you now know that things can go terribly wrong. Your feelings of safety are gone – you realize there are no guarantees. And you wonder, if this baby also dies, how in the world will you survive?
You can feel anxious and tense when you go for an ultrasound, don’t feel the baby move in a while, have a bit of spotting or cramping, visit the Dr. you saw for the previous pregnancy, or reach an anniversary date: the day you found out you were pregnant last time, the day you first felt the previous baby move, the baby’s due date or date of death, or first birthday, etc. Even walking down the baby aisle at the supermarket can trigger sad or anxious feelings.
But to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Now that you know these times may be difficult for you, they won’t take you by surprise. You will know what is happening to you and why. And there are some coping strategies for dealing with these emotions when they surface:
Talk to your mate or a close friend as soon as these feelings come.
Pour out your heart to the Lord and pray about what you are feeling, asking God to comfort and strengthen you.
If you need the reassurance of your doctor, ask for it, and for ultrasounds if they will reassure you.
Face your fears and get reliable information on what concerns you – ask your doctor, or go to a reliable website, such as webmd or mayoclinic.
If you are experiencing elevated anxiety or panic attacks, ask your doctor to refer you to a professional counselor or therapist. They can help you work through your fears and anxiety.
Get into a support group of caring people, somewhere you feel safe expressing your feelings.
Put together a team of people to pray for you and your baby, and let them know that notes, cards, or texts of encouragement would be greatly appreciated during this time.
If there are klutzy people around you who routinely do or say the wrong thing and further wound you, educate them! Give them a copy of the papers What We Wish Others Understood About The Loss Of Our Child and Responding to Grieving Families.
Remember to be kind to yourself! Allow yourself some extra grace. Take care of yourself, get plenty of rest, avoid stress as much as possible, and eat a healthy diet.