Trying to Conceive can be a crazy adventure for any mother. It can drive a woman crazy. The whole process comes with its ups and downs, its joys and its woes, before you even have the help of pregnancy hormones. It can feel like you’re running after something that is constantly just out of reach… But you continue to run because you know what your chasing.

When TTC after a loss, there are a lot of stages moms can go through. In some obvious ways, these stages are similar to any woman who is trying to have a baby. But in many ways they are completely different. The first big difference is where it begins. For loss moms, it starts with grieving.

Stage 1: Grieving

For a PAL mom, it had to start here. And this stage never really ends. Whether the lost pregnancy or infant is a motivating factor pushing you to try again, or maybe is holding you back for a time before you are brave enough to face the challenge again, that original loss affected you. You took a blow, physically and emotionally, and you are stronger now. You have stepped up and decided you are ready to try again. The grieving doesn’t fly out a window, rather it becomes a fact of your existence and is now a piece of who you are. An angel’s mother forevermore.

Stage 2: Wishing

In a way, this stage could have come before stage one for many, as well as now. This is always a motivating factor, isn’t it? The longing for a baby in your arms to love and care for. The wishing your angel could be there to see their new baby sibling, and the wonder of how you can love that little one who has gone too soon so much, and still love the little one who hasn’t come, yet, at all.

You wish for a baby to wake you up an night to eat. You wish for the joy of seeing your little one smile for the first time. You wish for the peace of a healthy and happy baby, living in your arms. You wish to be able to speak up in those ‘mom discussions’ about your own experience and thoughts.

You wish hard enough and long enough that you are finally past the debilitating kind of grief and are ready to start again.

And then comes stage three.

Stage 3: Worrying

This stage happens in every pregnancy, to a point. But in a typical pregnancy of a woman who has been blessed enough to never have experienced a loss, the worries and woes are not the same as they are for us.

The anxiety surrounding pregnancy begins much earlier for PAL moms than for most. Weeks before a hoped pregnancy, you are worrying and wondering if the timing is right, and if your health is in suitable condition, and if all the stars will align for you this month, and then if you will be lucky enough to keep the pregnancy all the way through to a healthy and living delivery.

You’ve already counted out the possible due date of the “peanut” that may have implanted in your uterine lining, and you’re already mentally marking the pregnancy milestones in the next months of your calendar. You are constantly pinning useful and helpful pregnancy information and taking extra vitamins just in case.

You’re imagining the season in which you’re “due” and dreaming up plans for your new baby. And maybe, if you’re as crazy as me, you’ve already planned out the office-turned-nursery layout and started crafting things to hang on the walls.

You’re worrying about the infertility possibilities or realities and worrying if you will ever get past this stage at all.

You’re even worrying a little bit about your mental state.

Worst of all, you’re also worrying about the possibility of this potential pregnancy ending abruptly as well.

Stage 4: Testing

And after all that worrying… You still don’t even know for sure if your egg of the month was successfully fertilized and then successfully implanted to begin the long task of growing into a perfect little baby.

So, you have to test.

But its more than just a test to see if you’ve been lucky enough this month to start the journey to the end of your rainbow. No, it is a test to tell you whether your next stages of crazy will be the weekly calls to an OB office, or if you’ll start back to the weekly searches on Google for fertility information.

And if you’re smart, and patient (unlike me), you wait until you miss that day when your Aunt Flow should have come to visit to pee on a stick. Or, if you’re crazy and impatient (like me), you’ve been tracking like crazy and have bought multiple pregnancy tests to use every couple days just hoping that sometime two pink lines will show up instead of just the one.

Then, whether one pink line appears, or two grace your presence, a whole new crazy starts up.

* * *

The crazy is beyond worth it though. And, even we angel moms who don’t have any living children know it. The capacity to love that is revealed to you through having children is the most joy you have felt in this life. Which explains why the loss of which is so painful.

So why do we continue to try even when we know the pain that can follow?

As for me–even though this month came up with another negative–I choose to keep chasing joy. I hope my rainbow is coming for me, sooner rather than later. But, I know that my angels and future children are the keys to unlock the happiest version of me.

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