The redemption and hope of pregnancy after miscarriage is a beautiful thing, but it brings with it unexpected truths and anxieties.
I took my first two pregnancies for granted. I didn’t experience a single complication with either one, and since my mom had five healthy, mostly uneventful pregnancies, I naïvely expected mine would be the same. I took my third pregnancy for granted, too, until we lost the baby at 12 weeks.
Now, in my fourth pregnancy, I’m learning a lot about how different it is to carry a child after losing one.
Unexpected Truths of Pregnancy After Miscarriage
The anxiety doesn’t go away
I thought- and hoped- that the constant anxiety I felt would subside somewhat when my pregnancy progressed past the point I miscarried. In a lot of ways, it did. But in several other ways, it continues even though I’m more than halfway through my second trimester.
Part of the reason is that, in the nearly 12 months between the loss of our third pregnancy and the beginning of our fourth, I read a lot of blog posts and articles about pregnancy and infant loss. I sought out stories from women who could relate to my grief and, in doing so, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss.
I came to realize what I’d always known, but had never quite internalized: loss can come to anyone, at anytime. Reaching an arbitrary milestone doesn’t make me immune to that loss. I’ve learned I won’t truly feel this baby is “safe” until I hold her in my arms.
Signs of pregnancy are welcome
I would love to have sickness-free pregnancies. But I didn’t with my first three, so the morning sickness that occurred so frequently during the first dozen weeks of this pregnancy was welcome. While unpleasant, the nausea was a sign that pregnancy hormones were still running through my blood. I was still thankful when the morning sickness passed, but I appreciated it while it was around.
The big stuff becomes smaller
With my other pregnancies, we discussed possible names long before we found out the gender. The “big” ultrasound, the one with the gender reveal, was much-anticipated. This time around, our 20-week appointment, when we found out we’re having a girl, wasn’t the big to-do it’d been before, and we’ve only just begun discussing possible names.
Part of this, I’m sure, is due to the fact that we already have a boy and a girl. Maybe so many things about this pregnancy would be routine even if we hadn’t experienced miscarriage. I feel certain, though, that most of it’s because our main focus is the health of the baby. As long as we know she’s safe, everything else is secondary. Of course, that was the biggest priority for us before, too, but miscarriage brought it to the forefront.
It changes the future
J and I always said we wanted three or four kids. Granted, I don’t think that’s something you can really know until you have kids and get to experience the parenting thing for real. I can’t answer the question of whether or not we want four kids until I know what it’s like to have three.
What I do know is that, even if we decide we want another baby, we’ll have to consider if the pregnancy is something we can handle. 40 weeks of anxiety and the unknown will be worth it if we do decide to have another baby, but suddenly the decision to get pregnant isn’t to be taken as lightly as it was in the past.
Our previous pregnancies were huge blessings, but there’s something so bright and shiny about this one, about this rainbow baby. We realize everyday how thankful we are to experience it.