do I have to wait after my loss before I can try again?
Careproviders have differing
views on the optimum timing between pregnancies. Be sure to discuss
with your careprovider what they suggest in terms of your physical
health. Because timing has many issues including your physical health,
your age (is that biological clock ticking?), your prior obstetrical
history, and your emotional well-being, I've written a separate
article to present some of these issues.
Contemplating Pregnancy? (aka "Here
We Go Again!")
and I can't agree on when to try again. What should I do?
You will need your partner's
emotional support more than ever during a subsequent pregnancy,
so it's important that you are BOTH ready before you take the leap.
You can't make him ready if he's not but there are few things
you can do:
- Instead of talking to him, try listening. By encouraging him
to talk about his feelings and fears, you may provide the support
he needs to feel ready.
- Be aware that you may very well share many similar thoughts
and feelings. This sense of common ground can make you feel
that you agree more than you disagree. It can be illuminating
to discuss together the following questions:
There are no right or wrong, good or bad, reasonable or crazy
answers. Every answer is valid and can give you insight on ways
to support each other.
- What is the worst thing that could happen?
- What is the best thing that could happen?
- What is the most likely thing that will happen?
- For many dads, a main concern is for the mother's safety and
well-being. He may fear for your health, your life or your sanity.
If this is the case, you can try to reassure him. Perhaps your
doctor or therapist could address some of his concerns. Meeting
with a genetic counselor may also offer information he needs.
- Being patient can be most helpful. Pressure does little to
make anyone adjust or work through things. By simply easing
off, you may give him the space he needs to feel comfortable.
A common dynamic is to strike a balance in the relationship,
such that the more obsessed you are with getting pregnant, the
more he backs off. By reducing your obsession, you may enable
your partner to feel more open to another pregnancy.
terrified of a loss. How will I make it through nine months of
Slowly and one day at a time!
Or, if you're having a bad day, take it an hour at a time or 10
minutes at a time. Set up some mini goals for yourself. When I hear
the heartbeat for the first time, I'm going to buy that teddybear.
When I get to the end of the first trimester, I'm buying that new
maternity shirt. When I feel the first kick, we're going out to
dinner. Make your goals short and look forward to those rather than
the entire nine months which can feel overwhelming.
Read Suggestions for Coping With
Pregnancy After Pregnancy/Infant Loss
if I'm too afraid to bond with my baby?
Keep in mind that bonding
is a process, not an event. Every parent has their own timetable.
Some of us live in complete denial throughout a pregnancy in order
to endure it. Just the fact that you want to conceive again and
want the new pregnancy to continue is a sign that you are bonding.
It is very normal to be afraid of getting close to your baby.
Guarding those emotions thinking it will protect against more
pain is a common defense mechanism. One thing to keep in mind
is you would be devastated if you lost your new baby, so why not
let those maternal juices flow anyway? Even if you don't feel
completely bonded before birth, your baby will not be harmed.
Adoptive parents bond after the fact with few problems. You and
your baby will have many opportunities for joyful bonding. Relax,
enjoy and trust that it WILL happen.
too afraid to set up the nursery or have a baby shower. What should
Pregnancy is always a time
to nurture yourself, so go with what feels comfortable to YOU.
If you're not ready to put the crib up, don't. If you're not ready
to buy baby clothes, don't. If you want the entire room set up
and waiting by the end of the first trimester, do it. Each choice
has its pros and cons, and it helps to think what YOU really want
to do (rather than what your friends and relatives think you should
do). Do what feels comfortable and right to you. If a baby shower
scares you, explain that to your friends. Suggest that the shower
be given after your baby is born and home safely. In this way,
the gifts are very personalized for baby and you get the joy of
showing him/her off to your shower guests.
appropriate to name my baby after my baby who died?
While there are some valid
reasons for wanting to name your new baby after your baby who died,
there are very significant reasons not to. Consider the long-term
feelings a child and adult will feel about sharing the name of a
sibling they didn't know. Explore your heart to determine whether
using a name or names again is an effort to "replace" the previously
lost baby. That is too much to ask a subsequent child to live up
to, implicitly or explicitly.
However, there are ways to pass on parts of the name if that
is important to you. Sharing middle names, using a middle name
as the first name, or using the same initials with different names
are examples. Or choose a totally different name to acknowledge
that these are two different individuals.
do I cope with inappropriate comments from friends and family
such as "just relax, everything will be fine"?
People who have not had
your experiences can't understand the fear that you have for the
safe delivery and health of your baby. Try to ignore their unthinking
comments and rely instead on the support of those who do understand
what you've been through (like StorkNet!). You might also gently
remind them that given your history, you're very sensitive to
what could happen and such comments are not helpful. Explain what
would be helpful for you. There is a tendency for many to believe
that once a person becomes pregnant after infertility or loss,
everything that happened previously is erased or should be forgotten.
Reminding others that this isn't the case may make them understand
your fears better. If this doesn't help, you may have to distance
yourself somewhat from those who are not supportive. Take care
can I prepare for labor when I'm so afraid of something going
wrong at the last minute?
This is a time when you
need the support and encouragement of others. Make sure your careproviders
can emotionally support you as well as give you excellent medical
care. Using a doula, particularly one who is experienced in working
with moms who have had a high risk pregnancy, can be very helpful
during labor to keep you focused on the task at hand. Discuss
your fears with your partner and anyone involved in your care.
Write about your fears in a journal. Seeing your feelings down
in black and white can help you make some sense of them and help
alleviate some of the pressure. Remember that fear is normal,
and recognizing that you are vulnerable will actually help you.
When you actually face your fears rather than stuff them, you
will be better able to master them and cope with them.
will I feel when I bring my baby home?
The answer to this question
is as individual as you are. You may feel a very mixed, bittersweet
bag of emotions, compounded by postpartum hormones. It may feel
unreal to finally have a baby at home after months of worrying
if it would ever happen. You may feel equal amounts of happiness
and sadness. You may miss your pregnant belly (also a normal postpartum
feeling). You may feel immense relief. You may suddenly realize
just what you missed before. Your baby's milestones may be bittersweet
as well. When you have moments of sadness, acknowledge it. Then
remind yourself of the joy you also have in your arms.
going through so much to build our family, will I be overprotective
of my baby?
It's hard to separate what
are normal parent fears and what constitutes being overprotective.
In today's society of increasing violence, it's appropriate to be
protective of your children. Remember that all children get sick
periodically and they will have bumps and scrapes as they start
exploring their world. Child proof your home, and remember to tell
yourself that you cannot prevent every bad thing that might happen
to your child. This doesn't make you a bad parent; it makes you
a normal one.