Loss changes so many things in a person’s life. There are times of loneliness and feeling helpless. There are moments of not understanding why this had to happen. There is often a feeling of regret and overwhelming sadness, and there may at times be a feeling of wishing that the loss had never happened. And yet, just sometimes in the midst of all of this comes something unexpected, something beautiful and a little dash of hope.
When we venture back in to the world and begin the journey again of pregnancy and parenting after the death of a child, it can feel like a rollercoaster ride. It is not unusual for families to find that they are pregnant again soon after their baby has died, with many experiencing the 1st anniversary of their baby’s death in the midst of the new pregnancy, or close to the due date. This adds an extra layer of grief and emotions that may fall alongside the joy and anticipation of new life.
It was almost 5 years ago that my first son Adam died, and a year later I too found myself in this situation. I was pregnant, and approaching the first anniversary of Adam’s birth and death, and ironically facing the same gestation that I was when Adam died with this new baby. I found myself torn between grief and fear, and on the day of Adam’s 1st angelversary I gravitated between intense sadness and anger, to guilt that I was torn between Adam and this new life inside of me, with a small amount of relief that I was pregnant again. I was angry that it seemed that everyone was more interested in talking about the new baby, and not talking about the other little baby that had come and gone in an instant on this day a year ago. It seemed to me that until this point, I didn’t know how to connect and enjoy this new pregnancy, and I didn’t know how to let people in to have permission to enjoy it as well. I wasn’t ready to let go of the grief, so I had to find a way to live life around it instead.