Coping with pregnancy after loss


If you follow me on Instagram you may have spotted my little announcement last week. I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant with our baby girl.

My missed miscarriage last year took me a long time to recover from. Not physically, but mentally. My periods didn't start again for 3 months, and until they did, I didn't feel like I could move on. It took another three months for me to feel ready enough, brave enough, to try again.

I wanted to share with you just how difficult pregnancy can be on your mental health, particularly after loss. I didn't have any signs with my first pregnancy that anything was wrong. In hindsight I thought that the minimal pregnancy symptoms I'd had, tiredness, sore breasts, had perhaps disappeared a few weeks before I miscarried. So when I fell pregnant again I analysed every ache, pain, symptom, lack of symptom I had. I worried they all meant I was going to miscarry. My boobs stopped hurting again at about 8 weeks. I was getting quite bad back pain that kept me awake at night. I didn't get any sickness again. I was basically a ball of anxiety for 3 months.

My booking in appointment came and went. The awkward question of 'is this your first pregnancy?' needed to be answered on more than one occasion. But before I knew it I was back in that same waiting room at the hospital, waiting for my 12 week scan. Walking past the EPU unit was hard. Blocking out the thoughts that were telling me we would be back in there was hard. Being led into the same room to have the scan was hard. Nobody tells you how to cope with all of this. Needless to say when the sonographer started the scan and I could immediately see a lively little bean on the screen, I burst into tears. Her trainee quickly handed me some tissues. Very well trained.

It was certainly a very different experience to last time. It was the joyous experience it was supposed to be, but tinged with guilt as we walked past the EPU unit. There was a lady being led there in tears.

You would think that my fears would be lessened after having positive news, but I've realised that anxiety follows anxiety, follows anxiety. I was still very worried that something was going to go wrong. That the nuchal test for Down's Syndrome would reveal bad news, it didn't, then it was that there wouldn't be a heartbeat at 16 weeks, there was. I cried again. Then it was that I hadn't felt baby move yet. Turns out I have an anterior placenta (placenta is lying at the front of my womb). Then it was that I hadn't been very consistent in the first few weeks about taking folic acid and something awful would show up on our 20 week scan. Everything is fine. Except my brain evidently.

I didn't want to tell anyone. The part I struggled with the most was people congratulating me and feeling happy for me, when I was struggling to picture this pregnancy ending with a healthy baby in my arms.

It was the news that we were having a little girl at our 20 week scan that finally got me to calm down and accept that this was real. That we were really having a baby. The little bean was now a baby girl. A baby girl I had so longed for. A baby girl who's name had already been decided. A baby girl who my mum had already bought a very cute handmade blanket for. A baby girl that Ben has decided will be a pro golfer. Or footballer. The women's game will be just as big in 18 years time so he tells me. Quite right too.

People are right when they say that I will never stop worrying, not even once baby arrives. I'm determined to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy as best I can. I still have concerns, I always will, but I can feel our little girl wriggling as I type and she deserves to have a happy, relaxed mummy for the next 18 weeks or so.

This isn't your typical pregnancy announcement. Neither was my Instagram post. For me, pregnancy hasn't been a happy journey. Reading pregnancy announcements online really hurt. I wanted each one of them to acknowledge my pain. I muted and unfollowed a lot of people. So I just want to end this post by saying I know how much it hurts to see that someone else is pregnant when you are not. I want to keep sharing my story because although it isn't something particularly talked about, I think it is something an awful lot of women go through. And you are not doing pregnancy wrong because you're not enjoying it. This is me saying that I've been a pregnant mess and that's okay.

Once my miscarriage was 'complete' I was just left to it essentially. Nobody tells you how to deal with the raft of emotions that come your way. My only advice really is to just keep talking about it. If that means finding people online to have a chat with, then do it. Having to deal with anything alone does make it much harder. If you need a chat feel free to email me, or message me on Twitter or Instagram. Tommy's is a good online resource for advice on baby loss as is SANDS.

Post a comment

Instagram follow @notestothemoon