Handling Pregnancy Fear After A Loss

I originally wrote this when I found out I was pregnant in January with hopes of selling it to a certain publication. Since it’s now posted here, you will see it was not accepted. I had no plans of ever posting it or trying to sell it again because soon after receiving my first rejection email, I miscarried and the article no longer made sense. But at the time of writing it it did and I’ve had quite a few messages since from women who are pregnant after a loss asking me for advice. Here’s what I did:

I’m Pregnant After Two Back-to-Back Miscarriages. Here’s How I’m Handling The Fear.

I am a healthy, 32-year-old mother of one spunky daughter and two angel babies. Life hasn’t been easy for my husband and I in the fertility department. After years of trying and then “not not trying” we were finally blessed with a healthy baby girl. However, she only came after we had resigned ourselves to being the best aunt and uncle and, more importantly, truly accepting that children weren’t in our cards. Like the saying goes, if you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans. So we were beyond shocked when we found out I was pregnant. I had an uneventful yet peaceful pregnancy. She was born healthy and strong. I conceived again when she was ten months and again, we couldn’t believe it happened so easily and especially so soon after our first. We thought we were one of those couples everyone has a story about, getting pregnant immediately after struggling to have the first. We told our friends and family right away because miscarriage didn’t seem a likely option for us.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. I miscarried at ten weeks at my daughter’s first birthday party. It was a bittersweet day of celebrating one life while simultaneously losing another. After that, Fear moved in, residing deep in my soul and controlling most of my thoughts and actions. I became certain I would never have another baby and that past actions were now catching up to me in some kind of karmic payback. Every period became a heavier weight on my shoulders as my biological clock continued ticking, quicker and quicker. Tick tock. TICK TOCK.

However, by some incredible stroke of timing or luck or Divine intervention, three days before my 31st birthday and a year and a half after the first miscarriage, came the news I had been desperate awaiting: I was pregnant. The excitement dissipated quickly when I miscarried at seven weeks. This one was beyond devastating. How does a woman who makes most of her own foods and beauty products and exercises and eats a balanced diet and doesn’t smoke miscarry TWICE? I couldn’t wrap my head around this. I was healthy. I was strong. I took vitamins and supplements for goodness sakes!

That miscarriage threw me into an anxiety and depression episode unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I wasn’t sure I’d recover from that but eventually, with professional help and medication, I crawled out of that dark hole and found light again. I tried to give up the burning and desperate desire for baby number two after that but that finicky emotion Hope was alight the entire time. Hope was always a small lit flame throughout my many attempts of giving up and finding my peace.

But Christmas 201IMG_87086 was an eye-opening experience that led my husband and I to both find peace with only ever having our beautiful, strong, little girl. We somehow managed to extinguish Hope and we wished it farewell as it moved on to help the next person. Then, this past January, we found out we were pregnant again. My instant thought was “What? Why now?” I cried but these weren’t the tears of the past pregnancies. These tears were scared, angry and shocked. We had truly made peace with only having one. We made plans and set goals for the year that did not include months of uncomfortable pregnancy body, cankles, vomiting or an infant.

 

Now, the Fear that was residing deep in my soul is now perched upon my shoulder, whispering horrifying thoughts and terrible scenarios. But I’m trying my damnedest to ignore them. Here’s how I’m handling the fear of miscarrying again:

1. Changing How I SpeakIMG_9479

Taking my words from my typical, fear-fuelled, negative diction to empowering positivity. Instead of saying, “I hope this ultrasound goes well” I’ll say, “I can’t wait to see that flicker of Life on the screen.” When I catch myself using or thinking negative or hopeless wording, I stop, take a breath and choose again. Where I would once say, “I’m scared I’ll miscarry”, I’ll consciously choose to say, “My body is strong and capable of birthing a full term, healthy baby.” Words are powerful so I’m mindful to choose wisely now. Omitting negative words and replacing them with positive ones (even if I don’t always believe them) makes a huge difference.

2. Blaring The Tunes

When I’m in the car, making dinner or working, I will purposely put on songs that make me feel happy and brighten my mood. I grew up on 90’s hip hop/alternative rock and 00’s pop so I love to throw those on loud, sing along and dance to the memories. I have music on almost every day all day to keep my energy up. I drown out Fear with happy lyrics and upbeat melodies. Trust me, it’s impossible to feel scared when you’re laughing, reminiscing, singing and dancing.

IMG_92443. Leaning on My Family and Friends

I have a sisterhood of women who I can cry to, vent to, vulnerably express myself to and they stand by me 100 per cent. When I am caught in a scared moment, they will literally light a candle for me and baby and send a picture of it to me. They will send pregnancy affirming mantras and positive affirmations. They will listen patiently while Fear finds its way out of my body and into their ears. Overall, they shower me in love and positivity. However, I know a lot of times our tribe can’t understand miscarriage/pregnancy loss fears if they haven’t experienced it themselves so they say the wrong things to us. When this happens to me, I just kindly ask them to not say anything at all and instead, ask them to send love and light to baby and pray for a healthy pregnancy/baby in our honour. Sometimes, before I even say anything, I will say “I don’t want you to do or say anything, just listen.” People respect that honesty and truthfully, they probably welcome the relief of not having to think of something to say when they know they can’t actually relate.

 

4. Affirmations, Visualizations, Mantras and Meditations

This is one of the most Fear-crushing daily works I do. I have a poster on my bathroom mirror affirming how strong I am, how capable and deserving I am of this baby. I read it twice a day. It makes me feel empowered and confident. I have mantras such as “Baby is growing healthy and strong” and “Baby is nestled into my body, warm and safe.” Every night I visualize baby wrapped in a warm, protective sac burrowed happily into the side of my womb. I imagine she/he is sleeping peacefully, growing rapidly and excited to meet her/his parents. I finish my night with a guided meditation. I love the app, Insight Timer, and I’ll choose a pregnancy focused meditation to connect to baby and find peace in the growing weight nestled in my womb. With all of this positivity and good intention surrounding me and by taking these thoughtful actions, I have little time to focus on the Fear.IMG_9539

5. Trust in the Universe/God/Source/Divine Intelligence/Alf/whatever you believe in

This has been the hardest for me because when I last trusted the Universe I believed a second baby wasn’t part of the plan anymore. Now that it is, I feel confused and slightly betrayed. By committing myself to the unknown plan, I relinquished my desires and began focusing on how I could be of service for the higher good of all. Besides, it’s not like I have a phone number for Universe that I can call and say, “Hey Universe? I thought another baby wasn’t going to happen for us so what’s up with that? I thought we had an understanding!” For now, I just have to choose to believe that I am part of a bigger plan than my human brain can’t fathom and that everything is unfolding exactly as it should. This trust is hard to give but I believe it is 100 per cent necessary for fulfillment and true happiness. Reading The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein has also helped me place my faith into this unknown energy.  As she writes, “as long as you remain surrendered and committed to the highest good, everything you need will be shown to you.” I highly recommend reading this to help you along your pregnancy. It’s a profound read that will bring hope, peace and certainty to your Life’s path.

Pregnancy in general can be a scary experience, especially for first time moms. However, when you’ve suffered a pregnancy loss, the fear is exponentially higher. Miscarriage/ infancy/pregnancy loss are rarely the first topic of conversation for most people but it is such a common occurrence that demands more awareness and better resources. Women need to know they aren’t alone in their fears. We know the potential risk of pregnancy and we know how devastating the loss is making it quite difficult to fully embrace the joy of growing Life again. But we must do what we can to try to have a positive birth experience and these are a few methods that have helped me along the way. I want this pregnancy to be one filled with joy and peace not one of stress and fear. And I want the same for other mom-to-be’s too. I hope these tips serve you well on this beautiful journey.

Despite the outcome of circumstances I truly believe these steps helped me for those eight long weeks. I hope this article and these tools help many other women, even if it’s just a little bit!

United we rise,

-K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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