Pregnancy after loss is willingly entering into a battle that you aren’t guaranteed to win. You know it won’t be easy, but you are ready to fight for your baby, for your family, for yourself, and for life. You know the stakes are high – that losing the battle could result in another encounter with heartache, another season of grief. But you still hold tight to the hope that winning this battle will promote healing.
You march through the early days of your rainbow pregnancy, questioning if the morning sickness is a sign that all is well or if something is wrong. You wonder if you’ll walk out of your first OB appointment heartbroken or hopeful. You imagine hearing a heartbeat, but fear you’ll be left with silence.
You armor up before each visit to the doctor, a layer of protection covering the already broken parts of your body. “Just in case,” you tell yourself. Just in case the words “I’m so sorry,” shoot out of your doctor’s mouth straight towards your heart. You know you’ll need something to keep those words from immediately penetrating the depths of your heart and soul. You’d prefer for the bad news to seep in slowly, giving you time to escape before crumbling to pieces. You prepare for it. Just in case.
Your natural instincts lead you to constantly defend yourself against false hope. And you find that your best defense comes through the use of short, wavering words. If, maybe, but and we’ll see are the first words out of your mouth each time a passerby congratulates you or responds to your growing belly or inquires about your plans. “If this baby lives,” you say. “Maybe we’ll paint the nursery blue, but first let’s see if we get to bring this one home.”
You are fighting a battle indeed. And the memory of defeat is never far from your mind. You remember being stomped by the crushing weight of your baby’s death. You remember blood and pain and trauma. You remember crawling through the trenches of grief alone. And you wonder if you are in for it again.
It’s a long and trying battle. But you are a warrior.
You fell to your knees after saying goodbye to a baby who suddenly vanished. You thought you’d been promised life only to be handed death. But you refused to stay down. Slowly, you stood back up, reclaiming your strength and choosing to try again, taking another chance at life.
In the midst of a battle between belief and doubt, you choose to believe that this time will be different. When doubt says you’re a fool, you choose to believe that your baby is worth fighting for.
In the midst of a battle between hope and hopelessness, you choose to hope that your baby will come home with you. You recall being left in the most hopeless of situations as you once said goodbye, but you cling to the hope that this time you’ll get to say hello.
In the midst of a battle between courage and fear, you choose courage. Even though it’s scary, you are willing to take a chance on life, on love. And you allow courage to navigate this journey of unknowns.
In the midst of a battle between life and death, you cherish life, for you are uncertain how long it will last. When death overshadows your pregnancy, you cling to the life growing within. And you imagine its potential.
Each day as you rise out of bed, you choose to fight.
Each day as you muddle through the long hours, you choose to fight.
Each night when you are unsure of what tomorrow brings, you choose to fight.
Because you are a warrior. And you are a mother. And you were made to fight for your baby, for life.
Hold tight, mama. Even when your entire being tells you that pregnancy loss is the end, keep fighting to believe that pregnancy after loss might just be the beginning. You are a warrior. And while the battle isn’t over, you’ll keep fighting for the life that has just begun.
This letter is included in our book, Pregnancy After Loss Support: Love Letters to the Mom Pregnant After Loss, edited by Emily Long and Lindsey Henke.
Get your copy on Amazon* or Bookshop* today.
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See the author, Jenny Albers, read her love letter as part of our book launch party:
Thank you for this <3
Much love to you.
This was exactly what I needed ❤️ I’m sorry for your losses ❤️
Same to you, Christina. Big hugs.
Beautifully written and much appreciated. I lost my firstborn at just four days old a very long time ago though sometimes it feels like yesterday. Then I had a miscarriage and finally my rainbow baby and then her sister. It’s a long journey filled with pain and fear but for some, in the end, comes a certain relief intertwined with a hollow space in the heart that will never be healed. Thank you for your courage to share. Much love always- Terry