March is Pregnancy After Loss (PAL) Awareness Month, and although PAL Awareness Month has been celebrated since 2012, I only became aware of it last week. So, why is there a need to spend an entire month raising awareness for a great thing like pregnancy after loss? And, shouldn’t we just be glad to be pregnant again?
Truly, unless you have experienced it yourself, I can see how this may be hard to understand, but I think being a loss mom, I get it. I have experienced being pregnant after loss three times. The first ended in another loss and the next two pregnancies gave me my daughter and son. Pregnancy after loss is a blessing, and there are so many things to be grateful for when you become pregnant again. PAL is having people pray for you and your unborn child, having them cook for you, and be genuinely happy for you.
During those pregnancies, I experienced many things, and I hope by sharing some of these with you, you can understand why there is a need to raise awareness and support for women who are going through pregnancy after loss.
So, here is what pregnancy after loss was like for me:
Pregnancy after loss is whispered prayers through-out the day begging God to save your baby or give you the strength to endure another loss.
Pregnancy after loss is having every doctor you see tell you that your “history” makes this a high-risk pregnancy.
Pregnancy after loss is constantly running to the bathroom to check to make sure there is no blood on your underwear or any other sign that you have started to miscarry again.
Pregnancy after loss is listening to people’s opinions about you being pregnant again so soon after your loss.
Pregnancy after loss is fighting the urge to take pregnancy tests over and over again just to make sure you are still pregnant.
Pregnancy after loss is people not understanding that you still miss your babies who died.
Pregnancy after loss is feeling sad, then happy, then guilty.
Pregnancy after loss is getting so nervous that you get a headache every time you visit your OB/GYN.
Pregnancy after loss is only realizing you’ve been holding your breath when you finally hear the heartbeat and release a breath of relief.
Pregnancy after loss is not wanting to tell anyone that you are pregnant again because you aren’t sure if they will be there for you when this baby dies too.
Pregnancy after loss is people offering to throw you baby showers and not understanding that you just aren’t there yet.
Pregnancy after loss is smiling politely while people tell you about everyone they know who had a miscarriage but then had eight or nine healthy babies, but really all you want is one baby.
Pregnancy after loss is thinking that every pain or cramp is the beginning of the next miscarriage.
Pregnancy after loss is people asking what name you chose, but you don’t want to say yet because you have to wait and see what happens first.
Pregnancy after loss is dealing with unsolicited advice about what you can and cannot do now that you are pregnant again.
Pregnancy after loss is being cautiously optimistic with your partner and then hoping it wasn’t a mistake to get his hopes up.
Pregnancy after loss is using the phrase “viable pregnancy” and hating yourself for it.
Pregnancy after loss is Googling everything pregnancy-related then regretting that you googled anything pregnancy-related.
Pregnancy after loss is hoping to feel nauseous as a sign that you are still pregnant.
Pregnancy after loss is making the decision to either stop working or risk losing your baby.
Pregnancy after loss is bed rest for months. Twice.
Pregnancy after loss is having to deal with life and all that it throws at you when all you want to do is fall asleep and wake up when your baby is here.
Pregnancy after loss is being especially protective of your bump and getting mad when strangers come too close.
Pregnancy after loss is fighting your own thoughts and trying to stay positive, but you have been here before and you know a little part of you expects it to fall apart again.
Pregnancy after loss puts a lot of strain on a woman’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, and while this is true of all pregnancies (after loss or not), there is still much to learn about ways that we can show support to women who are currently experiencing PAL. And this is why awareness and education are important.