Pregnancy After Loss
Today felt different for Claudia. It was the due date of a pregnancy loss 5 years ago. A sense of guilt conjured knowing that she was now pregnant with another baby. “Happy 5th Birthday Peanut” Claudia whispered out loud. Lying in bed, Claudia stared out of the window. It was almost as if her body knew what today was, as her belly began to flutter.
What is a Rainbow Baby
A ‘rainbow baby’ is a viable pregnancy and birth after experiencing a previous loss due to miscarriage, stillborn,or infant loss. A rainbow is often seen after a storm (or a dark time), and signifies beauty in the healing, newness, and joy. The term “rainbow baby” has become known as more and more people are opening up about their losses and journeys in pregnancy and parenthood.
Will this pregnancy be different?
Every pregnancy is unique. Connecting with your care provider to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and the overall pregnancy is a good way to begin the conversation about your current care plans. Depending on the cause of the previous fetal loss, this pregnancy may be healthy and uneventful.
Check in with yourself as well. How are you feeling mentally about this pregnancy? How have you prepared yourself mentally with this pregnancy? Emotions will be running a muck as hormones generate and increase throughout the pregnancy. Listen to what your emotions are saying AND allow yourself to experience them. This may be a very vulnerable action for you to endure. That’s a benefit of having a doula to reach out to.
Physically, how is your body managing? Have you been given the greenlight that your body is ready to gestate again? Are you listening to your body when you need to rest? Is bedrest something that may be needed? Are you properly hydrating and nourishing your body with the right vitamins to grow baby?
Common fears with loss
It’s completely natural to feel anxiety, sadness, guilt, etc when expecting a “rainbow baby”. Some common fears that surface are 1-4 pregnancies experience a miscarriage by the 20th week, making this fear very valid. Majority of miscarriages occur with no answers as to “why”.
“Will I lose this baby too?” This is a conversation to discuss with your provider on the circumstances in which the loss occurred. There may or may not be steps that can be taken to keep an experience of another loss at bay.
“Will I be able to love/accept/be happy with this baby?” What we do know is that the heart is the best when filled with love. Multiplying that love as you grow your family leaves a space for everyone in your life. What many parents will share is that parents love their offspring each in a way of their own. This pregnancy does not replace the pregnancy or infant that was lost.
Will I forget my loss? The loss of a pregnancy is an experience that is a part of your memory forever. Your loss will not be forgotten, it will become a part of your story that you will feel comfortable sharing with others as you heal.
Support and Resources for Loss
In Las Vegas, there are a myriad of resources and support groups that will support a family through their loss. Summerlin Hospital offers a support group for families and close friends that have experienced infant loss. They meet the second Thursday of every month. Adam’s Place is a grief center for children and families. They support loss on all levels of the form. Jalen’s Gift provides grief assistance in the form of financial assistance, memorials, memorandums and more dealing with the devastating effects of loss of stillbirths.
Online and worldwide, Postpartum Support International provides a variety of support as well.
Claudia stood up and felt another flutter. “Oh my! What was that?…Was that you little one?!” Claudia said as she touched her tummy. Excitement flushed over her. The feelings overcame and she began to sob. She sobbed for the loss of her pregnancy at 10 weeks, five years ago. She sobbed for what she was experiencing today. Claudia sobbed because she was grateful for her Rainbow Baby.