Pregnancy After Loss or Subsequent Pregnancy
Pregnancy After Loss is a distinctive experience and while there may be some shared and universal experiences, e.g. nervousness, anxiety, worry, the experience of carrying a baby after experiencing loss(es) is nuanced and unique to the individual.
Your story matters, your experience matters, and having support while you traverse your own personal feelings and thoughts around fears, milestones, bonding, etc., matters.
Words of hope.
"I felt guilty and afraid. Guilty that I could love a baby who would not have been here if my previous baby had not passed away. Afraid that this guilt would stop me from bonding. And, I was afraid that something might happen again. Therapy helped me feel validated when I felt angry that others seemed to have forgotten what I went through when they didn't understand that I wanted to do things differently this time around. And I began to feel okay feeling a little more connected to an experience that I was terrified of being connected to. Therapy didn't give me back the innocence I had before suffering loss but it helped me share and make sense of my feelings, and, actually, to feel different. Therapy was a good partner through my pregnancy after loss journey."
* * *
"I felt discouraged that my partner wanted to celebrate in the traditional ways we had planned before and that this time, I wanted nothing to do with any of that. I felt disheartened when I saw other people pregnant and smiling and I wanted to yell at them for being happy and tell them not to be so naïve. I felt like I was stealing joy from my family when I was just trying to protect myself and I just wanted it over with. And, I was angry that I felt robbed of the excitement of expecting.
I felt alone. Therapy helped me me cope."
* * *
"Therapy during PAL helped me grow.
It's bittersweet to say that, now.
I will never be thankful for my loss, that is not something I can say, but I am thankful for the good that has come out of this journey. I am thankful for the way I advocate for myself now, the voice I have, my vulnerability, and loosening my need for control. Therapy meant I didn't have to try to problem-solve my own pain away, all by myself. It meant I could heal alongside my pain."
A pregnancy following perinatal loss may feel difficult and there may be signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, or traumatic stress. This can be a confusing time with complicated emotions and experiences, e.g. fear, anger, guilt, shame, panic, apprehensive or conflicted feelings around joy,
and/or a sense of frustration or loss of a blissful pregnancy experience.
The aim in therapy which supports PAL is to provide a safe place to explore complex emotional and/or body feelings of this unique experience.
A client learns to move gently through their present-moment, lived experience of PAL, to observe themselves without judgment, to process grief or trauma, to provide for themselves options for regulation and responding, to cultivate a different emotional experience,
Additional supports which may be helpful:
Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS) , Online Peer Support
And, in Edmonton, Parent-Care Support Society