Tips from PAL Moms is a column at PALS Magazine where we ask you, the PAL mom, for feedback about your experience during pregnancy after loss. We ask a question on our Facebook Page and hope that you can help answer it while also benefiting from the answers, all in an effort to relate and learn from fellow moms who “get it.”
“I gave birth to a healthy baby boy about a year ago, after having lost our daughter two years prior. My husband and I are considering trying for another baby (probably our last), but I’m not sure I can handle another super high-anxiety pregnancy. Do PAL moms find that their second pregnancy after loss is any easier?”
Dear Mama, congratulations on your little boy! I know what an emotional journey pregnancy after loss is, and I understand your hesitation about going through another one. I only have one rainbow baby, but in my dreams, I’d love to have another! For me, timing and circumstances did not allow it.
My circumstances are different, but I can tell you that I recently got a positive pregnancy test after my rainbow turned 2, just days after my partner and I separated. The three days I spent waiting for my blood work from my doctor’s office to come back were the longest three days of my life! It was emotionally draining and terrifying, especially as I had recently become a single mom. I honestly had no idea what I wanted those results to be. On the one hand, having another baby would have been an absolutely amazing experience – a blessing, if you would, but the idea also scared me. My rainbow pregnancy was high risk, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go through another high risk pregnancy (or another loss) alone. When I got the negative results, I was okay, just a little empty.
I do have several friends who have had a second pregnancy after a loss, and almost every one of them have agreed that the second pregnancy was not as an anxiety-inducing as the first PAL. I think that we will always worry more than a mom who has never experienced loss, but I believe that it’s just one of the aspects of being a PAL mom. No one can make the decision for you. You have to do what is best for you and your family.
All I can tell you is to follow your heart! Good luck Courageous Mama, whatever you decide! ~Tara
Here are some great TIPS from other PAL moms:
Meg – Hi lovely mama. I am currently pregnant with my second rainbow and find I have had significantly less anxiety this time around. There are definitely still times where I feel overwhelmed or anxious but overall it is not nearly as bad as last time. However in my last pregnancy with my son I developed antenatal depression which contributed a lot to my anxiety levels. I am 28 weeks and so far both mood and anxiety have been manageable (knock on wood).
Anna – I have found the second one a bit easier, if only because giving birth to a healthy baby helped restore trust that my body can do what it’s supposed to. There are definitely still many moments of anxiety, but not as extreme.
Sheryl – My second pregnancy after my loss was twins, so it was a high stress pregnancy. Once I did feel movement it did lessen the anxiety for me. I think there is always underlying anxiety with any pregnancy after loss. Good luck with your decision.
Adara – I have only had one pregnancy and birth after my loss. I have thought about having more but have decided not to. My pregnancy with my rainbow was way to smooth and perfect even though it was filled with stress anxiety and tests. I just don’t know if I am strong enough.
Nicole – Best wishes either way. My anxiety is exactly why I only had one after the loss of my sweet son. My friend had more anxiety with her second after loss and swore she couldn’t handle it again-her blood pressure was through the roof almost the whole time. I truly think it depends on each individual and their loss journey.
Laurie – My rainbow girl and her brother are only 16 months apart. I found the second pregnancy to be better, anxiety wise, but I don’t know if that’s just because I did not have time to think about it.
Michelle – I’m 32 weeks with my second rainbow baby. Our son is 14 months old now, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m so busy with him, but my anxiety is much much less this time. I still cry when I’m about to have a scan, and I’m sick on those days too, but I feel calmer in myself and the weeks have flown by. I don’t think you can ever have a sit back and relax pregnancy ever again after you’ve lost one. You have to try and coach yourself all the way through that what will be will be and worrying won’t help at all (easier said than done I know). Much love to all.
Larissa – Yes, it definitely was for me. The anxiety was still there, but when compared to my first PAL, it set in later in the pregnancy and took longer to be as severe. Having had a good ending to my first PAL (second pregnancy overall), I felt I could trust my body just that little bit more during my second PAL.
*To read more Tips from PAL Moms about this specific question visit our Facebook page.
* For extra support about a second pregnancy after loss, please read the following PAL Original Pieces: Larissa Genat’s “A Second Rainbow“, Eileen Tulley’s “Three Ways my Second Rainbow Pregnancy is Different From my First – Bump Day Blogger Eileen Week 14“,Kristen Paul’s “Life With Noah: Milestones (and Maybe Babies)” and Tara Bennett Kilian’s “Tips From PAL Moms: Did You Try for Another ‘Rainbow’ Baby?”
*If you have a question that you would like to ask other PAL moms, please message us on our Facebook Page.