After the death of a baby or babies there often comes the question of if and when do we try again? For some, the experience of their baby’s death opens a range of questions to be considered before moving forward and deciding what to do, and for others there is a stronger sense than ever of the desire to have a child. No matter where you are at, the decision to have another baby after a  loss is a truly personal one based on a range of factors.

Often many people ask, how do you know when is the ‘right time’ to have another baby? There is no one set amount of time, and what might be right for one person might be different for another. There can be a number of physical things to consider in helping you work out when is the time, which may include how far along you were in the pregnancy when your baby died, the type of delivery – whether you required a caesarean birth, vaginal birth, D & C or other medical interventions, the reason for your baby’s death if known and your general health. It may be useful to consult with your GP or Obstetrician for some guidance in assessing your physical well-being and how this will contribute to future pregnancies.

Sometimes, our body may have healed and we can be physically ready to fall pregnant, but our emotional healing can take a little longer. Some people experience anxiety and worry about a new pregnancy, and whether it might happen again that they experience a loss, whilst others might feel numb or excited about the future possibilities. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Sometimes these feelings can be all consuming and mixed up, and make it hard to relax and enjoy the process of trying again. There can also be new layers of worry about people forgetting the baby once pregnant again, of even a sense of guilt of thinking of a new baby. It can be important to look at how you can symbolise and acknowledge the baby who has died and your experience as you embark on this new journey, and to be kind to yourself as you navigate the months ahead.

After you have become pregnant again, you may experience a mix of emotions. There can be excitement and hope, coupled with worry and fear. These emotions may come and go throughout part, or all of the pregnancy, and after the birth. Many people find that they are grieving for the loss of their previous baby and with the added dose of hormones that they need extra support from both medical and family to guide their way through the time ahead. Often the next 9 months can feel like a lifetime so the following ideas might be a useful start to help you in hopefully having a successful pregnancy.

Take it one day at a time. Easier said than done, but it really works. When you feel yourself worrying about the future, stop yourself and think only about today. Notice how this pregnancy is different from the pregnancy in which you suffered a loss, and especially how things are going better. Pay attention to what’s going well each day and how you and your baby are staying healthy.If you do notice signs that something may be wrong, please contact a medical professional for further advice or support.

Take good care of yourself. Focus on what you can do to make this pregnancy a healthy one. Pay attention to your health and physical well-being. Deal sensibly with stress — you have enough coping with the loss you’ve experienced. Don’t pile on responsibilities at home or work, or over-commit yourself to family and friends.

Try some relaxation exercises. Make up your own mantra, such as, “New pregnancy, New rules.” Naming the baby, or talking to the baby can help you bond and start to connect to this new life. If you start to find the worry becoming overwhelming try some deep breathing or going for a gentle walk in some fresh air.

Know that you’re not alone. Many families find there is no clear answer to what caused the loss of their baby, but it is important to know that it doesn’t mean it will happen again. Sadly, for some families they may experience a number of losses before a reason can be found and treatment can be given, however many families do go on to have a healthy pregnancy after their loss. Try to focus on how well you and the baby are doing now and setting yourself short term goals, such as the next ultrasound, or next Dr’s appointment. Breaking it down in this way can help in not feeling so overwhelmed, and feeling like you are reaching successful milestones.

Talk to your doctor or midwife often. Seeing someone regularly for prenatal care can help to reassure you that your baby is doing well. This is particularly important if you’re considered high risk. While it sounds scary, being high risk can be beneficial. You may be monitored more closely, which can be a positive thing, especially if you’re nervous. Sometimes being monitored so much can also add to the anxiety, so it is important that you know you have some choice and control in the treatment you receive. If you feel uncomfortable, or have questions perhaps make an appointment to talk with your Dr to arrange a plan for your pregnancy care.

Find a support group. Many mothers share that they find it can be hard sharing with others during this next pregnancy because they may not understand the worry and often hear comments like ‘ you must be so happy now’ or ‘there is no need to worry’. This can be frustrating, and add to the stress and worry. There are a number of online pregnancy after loss support groups which are for people who are trying to conceive or are pregnant again. You might find comfort reading others stories and how they have coped with their pregnancies, and get ideas on how you too can survive through this time. It can also be a safe place to vent your own anxieties around others who might understand.

Seek professional help if you need it . If you find yourself struggling, and finding the range of emotions overwhelming there are a range of support options for you and your partner. Most professionals acknowledge that the grief of losing a baby can come in waves and can take away the innocence of the experience of pregnancy, and that new layers of grief may come up during the pregnancy, or after the birth of a new baby.

And finally, what ever place you find yourself reading this post, be it trying to fall pregnant again, contemplating it, or have a baby on the way, be kind to yourself and hold on to the hope that after every storm there is a rainbow on its way.

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