You’ve done the test, and it came back positive. You should be leaping for joy and planning for your future baby, right? But if you’ve previously suffered a miscarriage, feeling joyous after a positive pregnancy test can be unrealistic and complicated. After all, losing a baby, no matter what gestation your pregnancy was at, is a traumatic and upsetting ordeal that can take a long time for women to move through. Discovering you’re pregnant again, despite how much you and your partner want a baby, can cause some mixed feelings such as guilt, fear and worry.
You should know that these feelings are very normal and shared by many other women who are pregnant again after a loss.
Here are some thoughts you might be having and how you can deal with them:
1. I feel like I’m betraying the baby I’ve lost
Many women say that feeling happy about their pregnancy and the new baby on its way feels like they are betraying the baby they lost. Acknowledging how you’re feeling and talking about it with someone you trust can help, as can attending a support group. When you’re ready, give yourself permission to look forward to meeting your new baby. Over time, and as your new pregnancy progresses, this should become easier to do.
2. I’m terrified of losing this baby too
Feeling afraid of miscarrying again is very normal and many women don’t relax until they’ve passed the point at which they lost their last baby. Although it’s easier said than done, try to relax and focus on keeping healthy and well while you wait for your scan. Some women ask for extra blood tests and early scans to check for signs of the pregnancy developing, which can allay some anxiety. You can see your GP to enquire about this.
3. I’m scared to get excited
While you might have felt overjoyed and excited at discovering your last pregnancy, it can be hard to muster up the same positivity for a pregnancy after miscarriage. Sometimes knowing more about what happened last time can help you understand why it occurred and why this new pregnancy is likely to be okay. Ask your GP or obstetrician to explain your last miscarriage to you and offer some reassurance about your new pregnancy.
4. I’m worried about telling anyone about this pregnancy
It’s natural to want to keep this pregnancy to yourself until you can be sure that all is okay, but consider telling one or two people just so you can talk about how you’re feeling. If you’re anxious about the new pregnancy, it makes sense to have someone you can offload this to.
5. I don’t feel happy about this pregnancy
Miscarriage can be such a painful process that feeling happy about a new pregnancy can take some time to develop. Be patient with yourself and talk with a trusted friend about how you’re feeling. Online forums can also be a good place to share your feelings, as there are likely to be many women who understand what you’re going through.
6. I don’t want to bond with this baby
Some women report feeling incredibly bonded with the babies they lost, which makes the pain of losing them so much more intense. As a result, you may not want to bond and connect with the new baby inside you for fear of losing this one too. It’s okay to feel this way, which will hopefully lessen as the pregnancy progresses. If the feeling of being disconnected from your baby persists throughout the pregnancy, talk with your GP about getting some extra support, as counselling might help you work through it.
7. I can’t forget about the baby I lost
It’s normal to grieve the baby you lost. Some women say the pain never leaves them, it just lessens over time. Some women find a way to remember the baby they lost, such as writing the baby a letter, keeping things from the pregnancy or planting a tree in the baby’s memory. Give yourself permission to cry regularly and talk about your loss.
8. I know I need to relax but I can’t
Early pregnancy can be long and torturous when you’re waiting for signs that the pregnancy is viable. As hard as it can be, try to find healthy ways to distract yourself and trust the pregnancy to continue developing. Meditation, reading or getting stuck into some other project will help you keep putting one foot in front of the other until you reach the next reassuring scan.
9. What if I keep miscarrying?
Whether you’ve had one miscarriage or multiple ones, it can be hard to shake the fear that you might never have a baby. But try to stay positive. Many women who experience miscarriage go on to have successful pregnancies, and there’s a good chance you will too. If you’re really concerned, please consult with your GP who can make sure you get some extra support.
If you’ve experienced pregnancy loss and need some extra support, contact SANDS on 1300 072 637.