An angel mama is not something I ever thought I would call myself. Yet in July 2020, that was the name I was given.

What began as a year full of joy and excitement quickly crumbled and was shadowed by grief and sadness with the loss of our pregnancy, our sweet baby boy Isaac Malakai.

After a long healing journey, debilitating grief, and therapy, my heart, mind, and body were ready to try again.

Deciding to try and conceive again after loss was mentally exhausting. Counting days, checking the calendar and period tracking apps, taking one too many pregnancy tests, hoping each month yet being met with disappointment.

When those two pink lines finally appeared, joy and happiness was all that was felt before suddenly being overcome with fear and anxiety for what the future may hold.

Will I actually get to carry this baby, let alone meet it?

This journey became the hardest and most challenging journey I had been on.

Sarah Maika's maternity photo - Pregnancy After Loss: Holding Onto Hope

Author’s Personal Collection/Sarah Maika – Photo Credit: Sunday Soul Photography

Simply put, pregnancy after loss has been the worst experience of my life after losing my son.

Reaching each new week in this pregnancy was a milestone for us, but it was also extremely scary and anxiety-inducing, wondering if we’d make it to the next.

As miraculous and special as it was to see our sweet girl suck her thumb at every scan, hear her heartbeat at each midwife appointment, and feel and see her kick and tumble around in my tummy, I couldn’t help but be met with the heavy reminder that I missed these moments with my son who was ripped away too soon.

The reality is that pregnancy after loss isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not always a happy and joy-filled journey. My pregnancy after loss was none of those things.

Pregnancy loss stole my innocence and robbed me of the privilege of enjoying pregnancy.

Pregnancy AFTER loss unlocked a new level of grief I didn’t know existed.

9 months of grieving the baby who came before but didn’t make it to our arms whilst simultaneously finding the joy in the baby that I’m currently growing.

9 months of protecting my heart and soul.

9 months of holding my breath at every scan, midwife appointment, toilet trip, and tummy kick.

9 months of being terrified to speak, love, and connect with the human I’m growing inside me.

9 months of wondering why my sweet girl could make it this far, but my son couldn’t.

Choosing hope and faith during this journey after suffering a pregnancy loss is one of the hardest and bravest things I’ve ever done.

Choosing to find the joy and excitement amongst the sadness and fear of the unknown, it took courage.

Choosing to find the the strength to get up each day and carry on knowing my little girl needed me and it’s exactly what my son would have wanted me to do.

I had to remind myself that it’s OK to be grateful for my baby but hate the pregnancy. This doesn’t mean I love my baby any less.

My journey hasn’t been what I imagined, filled with fear, miscarriage scares, severe sickness, multiple hospital trips, extreme weight loss, anxiety, loneliness, and depression.

But somehow, through ALL of that, I held onto hope. On the days when I couldn’t, my husband held onto hope for me, my parents held onto hope for me, and my close friends held onto hope for me.

On July 11th, 2023, we welcomed our sweet rainbow girl into the world at 40+5 weeks.

Sarah and her daughter after birth - Pregnancy After Loss: Holding Onto Hope

We experienced the most beautiful, raw, and empowering water birth.

It was all finally over.

I had never been so happy to finally hold her in my arms.

It felt surreal, to be staring at this tiny nose and those big brown eyes, to hold that tiny hand and see those tiny toes, to feel the warmth of her body and her heart beating on my chest.

She was here, we had made it.

Hope had overcome fear.

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