Pregnancy after loss is incredibly challenging on its own. But, add in a global pandemic full of uncertainties and constant changes, and pregnancy after loss is excruciatingly difficult. We want to support you through this time and put together some coping strategies to help you right now.
Remember that we’re your PALS in a PANDEMIC.
Plan – appointments, your days, and your schedule. The more you can control in uncertain times the better you might feel. Consider consolidating appointments to minimize multiple trips to your provider. Think of ways your partner can virtually attend appointments through FaceTime, video recordings, or waiting for you in the parking lot for after your appointment. And remember to schedule your days. Wake up and go to bed at the same time each weekday. Make a routine that fits your needs and gives you some semblance of normalcy when everything for you is so far from normal right now.
Advocate – with your provider for you and your baby. Your body, your baby, you know what is best for both of you. When things feel uncertain, call and request a phone consult, to talk to a nurse or to get in sooner for a Telehealth or in-person appointment to discuss your most recent concern and care needs. Let your provider know your new concerns as they relate to any change in your pregnancy and as they relate to any new changes in policy you may be worried about.
Listen – to your body and baby. Now more than ever it is important to trust in your intuition around what your body needs and what your baby’s daily movement schedule may be. Doing so will help you feel more connected with your baby, and this will help you find comfort in an uncomfortable world right now and could also notify you of any possible concerns. Remember, knowing baby’s movements is about baby’s constancy, routine, frequency, and strength.
Support – find other pregnant after loss (PAL) moms who get how hard pregnancy after loss is and how much harder it is now during the COVID-19 pandemic. When we practice social distancing we are basically isolating from others. During PAL feeling alone is the last thing a loss mom who is pregnant again needs. That is why connecting virtually with other PAL moms is so important. Pregnancy After Loss Support has 14 online groups as well as local meet-ups that have turned into virtual support groups. Give them a try if you are in need of added support or get on the phone or start texting with your fellow loss mom friends who are pregnant again to stay connected in this very forced socially disconnected time.
Practice – positive self-talk and looking for the positives. During difficult times such as a pandemic and being pregnant after a loss, it can sometimes help to look for the small wins in daily life. Also, consider being kinder to your own self in how your inner voice chats with you. Even on dark days, there is some small spark of light. Maybe when you are feeling down you can give yourself props for how far you have come during this stressful time and pregnancy or you can notice the positives in the fact that now you know that meeting really could have been an email. It’s the small wins right now that will get you through each day.
Avoid – the news. Consume as much as you need to stay informed, maybe 20 – 60 minutes a day, and then take a break. Don’t worry, with the ways media works in our day and age, if you need to know something, you will find out sooner than later. So feel free to give yourself a break.
Nurture – yourself through nutritious meals and giving yourself much-needed compassion. Life is really messed up right now, for everyone! And even moreso for those who had struggles like loss and becoming subsequently pregnant after during the pandemic. That’s why nurturing yourself by giving yourself permission to be kind to yourself, cutting yourself some slack, and also feeding yourself healthy and delicious foods is important during this stressful time. Remember to eat, hydrate and don’t forget to indulge a little bit here and there, because that is what truly nurturing yourself looks like.
Declutter – since we are living, working, and never leaving our homes right now, consider organizing your space in a way that functions for your new multiple needs. Designate certain rooms for certain events and tasks only. Or if you can’t control and bring order to all the rooms in your home, find one room that is your space and create a comfortable retreat that is organized and to your liking to escape to when you are feeling overwhelmed by the overlapping and overwhelming living and working situations we are all experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exercise – everyday if you can. Exercising here just means movement. Find a way to move your body, if it’s cleaning the house, doing yard work, going for a walk around the block, or even just gentle stretching. Any and all of these activities will help you feel less stuck in your challenging pregnancy and while social distancing.
Meditate – Haven’t mediated before? Well, now during social distancing and being pregnant after a loss might just be the right time to pick it up. There are a TON of great apps out there to get you started, HeadSpace has some pregnancy and COVID-19 specific meditations to try. The CALM app lives up to its name. And if an app isn’t for you, then just set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes on your phone, find a quiet space and focus on your breath. Doing so will help destress your already overactive nervous system. Because any PAL mom who didn’t have a stressed out nervous system before the pandemic probably is experiencing an anxious nervous system now. And even if you end up hating mediation, it might just be considered nap time, and that’s okay too.
Identify – your feelings and FEEL them! Oh, mama! How many feelings can one person feel in a day? The PAL mom feels all the feels even when not in a pandemic, so now that you are, feel free to feel them all even more. Grief, pain, sadness, and fear are a huge part of pregnancy after loss. Now, being PAL in a pandemic, they are even MORE SO a part of PAL because the whole world is feeling this way and you feel like everyone else, but 10 times worse. Identify these feelings. Feel them. So you can validate that yes, the whole world is in pain, and right now, you are in that pain and even more! That’s a pretty awful place to be. You get to own that pain and validate that unique suffering. It’s hard for the world right now, and even harder for you in the world as a PAL mom.
Connect – online with family and friends at least once a day. We are social creatures. We are not created for the world of social distancing. We are born into a circle of support and as women we birth with a circle of support. We need that same circle during our pregnancy. So, even though we are isolating from others through distance, try as best as you can to reach out to others emotionally during this over-the-top challenging time. PAL is challenging enough, now trying to do it without friends and family nearby is even more challenging. We can change that by adapting our social connecting practices to include virtual coffee dates, dinners, and game nights with friends and loved ones.