Knee deep into lesson planning for the following school week, I felt a light pressure in my gut. I wondered what it was until it continued a total of 3 times. Then, I realized that at 17 weeks I could feel my baby girl moving. It was a moment I desperately needed and it forced me into an exhale. Her presence reminded me that everything was alright.
I had been emotionally and mentally drained as well as anxious. Because I’m a teacher, my job isn’t the most strenuous by any means. However, I am walking up and down flights of steps all day and every day to get to each of the classes I teach, as well as up late often preparing lesson plans or grading schoolwork, while barely being able to keep my eyes open. I’m always wondering if I’m putting too much on my body or if I’m on my feet too often. I love my career and am grateful for it. Though, I’m always asking myself if it’s smart to work full time while being pregnant. I’ve been continuously reminding myself that I’m not the only one and that pregnant women do this all the time. Plenty of expecting mothers have worked their entire pregnancy and many have worked jobs that require more physical labor than my career choice. With that, I realized that it’s only anxiety from suffering previous losses that was making me feel like something could go wrong because of my work ethic.
I shared my concerns with my doctor and was reassured that my day-to-day activities align with the amount of exercise that’s actually encouraged and advised for pregnant women. While that was a relief, I was still feeling anxious about even being in school amongst all of my students (whom I love) during this ongoing pandemic. Just about every day, another student or staff tests positive for the virus. While I have thus far been fortunate to not have been in direct contact with anyone who has tested positive, the statistics and outcomes for pregnant women and the virus are burdening and overwhelming for those who aren’t vaccinated as well as those who are.
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Considering all of that, alongside the preparation for baby Brielle (moving into a home with more space, getting a newer and safer car, creating a birth plan and making decisions about maternity leave), which all can sometimes bring me to grieving thoughts of my angel babies – I had been exhausted. I have learned how much of an emotional rollercoaster it truly is to be pregnant after loss. I needed a moment to catch my breath and that is what my baby girl gave me.
To feel my baby’s movement inside of me for the very first time was restoring and refreshing. It gave me the opportunity to replenish joy and release my tension. Our pregnancy after loss community is in an interesting time dealing with everything that comes with being pregnant after loss combined with the challenges of world health. We are being stretched in ways we’ve never anticipated but we are surviving, our babies are surviving and we’re doing the best that we can.