The pregnancy after loss journey is…complicated. It is every emotion that you have ever felt and they are all struggling to exist together. You may feel like you are faced with an ever-growing list of things to do and remember. I know how that feels. So, when it all feels too daunting and you doubt your ability to handle it all, I want you to put your list aside and pick up this one that I wrote especially for you.
These are the five things that I want you to remember during your pregnancy after loss journey.
1. This is your pregnancy.
I know it may seem obvious, but society so often tricks us into thinking that a woman’s pregnancy is a communal experience. Everyone has an opinion or a suggestion for how to be pregnant. They may mean well, but your pregnancy is happening to you and you are in charge. So, call the doctor. Watch Netflix all day. Take up knitting. Do whatever brings you peace.
2. This is your body.
Those aches and pains you’re feeling, they are yours. Those precious kicks and thrilling flutters belong to you. You need to trust your instincts because you are the only one who can truly know what is going on. Take this opportunity to build a relationship with your body and to know what it needs. It is the shelter for your baby and you are the caretaker. Honor yourself.
3. This is your baby.
Yes, it takes two people to make a baby and yes I’m sure there are others besides yourself who will care for this baby when it arrives. But for right now, you know your baby best. You have an intimate knowledge of their movements and their habits. Mothers possess a natural instinct and I hope you are never made to doubt this. These maternal instincts are there to protect your baby. Trust yourself completely.
4. This is your grief.
Sometimes we are so focused on the pregnancy aspect of pregnancy after loss, that we overlook the after loss part. Pregnancy after loss will never be like pregnancy before loss. It is important to find a place for your grief on this journey, but you get to decide what that looks like. Maybe you want to hold your grief high or maybe you want to tuck it away. How you grieve will always be your choice and that will never be truer than during your pregnancy after loss journey.
5. This is yours.
Every moment of heartache and every shiver of celebration belongs to YOU. You are doing a very courageous thing in taking this pregnancy after loss journey. When you dare to hope after heartbreak, you are DARING. You are brave. You are strong. You are vulnerable. You are doing this.
Remember these things as you proceed through your journey, but I also want you to know that you are never alone in this. You have a whole community that is ready to honor you and your pregnancy after loss journey.