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PAILS of Hope

Contemplating Pregnancy? a.k.a. "Here We Go Again"
by Maribeth Doerr, cubby moderator
If you have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, the decision to attempt another pregnancy may be very difficult. You may be wondering how much more heartache you can handle. You and your mate may even disagree about trying again. Or, you may feel obsessed with pregnancy. Whatever your feelings, your first question is usually, "when should I try again?". I suggest you ask yourself two questions: 1) Am I physically ready?, and 2) Am I emotionally ready?

Am I Physically Ready?

They physical aspect is probably easier to answer and can be done with the help of your doctor. Find out as much about your physical condition as possible. Ask questions, read books, and educate yourself about your health situation. If you're uncomfortable with your doctor, this may be a good time to consider changing careproviders. When you've found a careprovider whom you respect for both his/her medical expertise and emotional support, discuss your options. When he/she feels you're healthy enough, and you've become fully aware of the physical risks involved in another pregnancy and/or further infertility treatment, you're ready to ask yourself the second question.

Am I Emotionally Ready?

Emotional readiness may be somewhat elusive. This decision-making process will feel much like an emotional roller coaster. You may experience the most intense desperation you have ever felt to become pregnant again right away. The simple reason is, you probably wanted a baby very much and that desire didn't change with your baby's death. However, at other times, you may feel as though you could never endure such heartache and disappointment again. If you experience this range of emotions, you're very normal!

Ask yourself if your every conscious thought is of your loss. Are you feeling consumed by grief, guilt, or failure? Are you expecting a baby to make you feel whole or to take away your grief? If so, it's probably wise to wait. Ask yourself if you desire to have a child is greater than the fear over further disappointment or losing another child.

Remember that when you are ready to make a decision, it is yours to make with the agreement of your mate. Those around you - family, friends, doctors - may suggest you try again as soon as possible because they feel a new baby will fix the heartache. A new baby is not a band-aid and cannot replace the child you lost. It can be very difficult to be a bereaved parent and an expectant parent at the same time. Nine months can seem like an eternity when you're grieving for the old pregnancy and nervous about the new one. Grief, itself, has physical symptoms and that compounded with the stress of pregnancy and the fears of subsequent pregnancy can be overwhelming. Also, conceiving again around three months after your loss will make your due date close to the first anniversary of your loss. This can be very difficult. However, many parents who do conceive shortly after a loss also feel the hope of holding a new baby is a healing experience. Some are fighting biological clocks or have other reasons where waiting would just be too difficult. Hopefully, through awareness of these situations, you can prepare yourself and make intelligent choices that are right for YOU.

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In contrast to those who will try to push you into conceiving right away, there will be those who will feel you are crazy to try again. Your family and friends are probably just afraid of you being hurt again. While these concerns may interfere with their ability to support you through another pregnancy, try to remember they're scared too. Again, it's important to do what's right for you and your immediate family, not do what everyone else thinks.

Are You Ready?

Only you will know the answer. After the loss of a baby, pregnancy is never quite as innocent. We are forever changed by our experiences, and we will never take childbearing for granted again. But - if you feel you are physically and emotionally ready and your desire is greater than your fear, you are probably more than ready for this new challenge. As hard as it may be, as joyful as it may be, the wait is well worth the end result when you bring home that healthy baby!

And remember, at StorkNet, we're here to help!

Maribeth       

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