Content Warning: This post discusses pregnancy loss and may be upsetting to some readers.
In this age of frequent fertility problems, where many women seek assisted reproductive methods such as supervised cycles and IVF, the internet abounds with advice on surviving the “two week wait”, the time between insemination and discovering whether the cycle has been a success. Having experienced this two week wait many times in the past, both with and without health professional involvement, I am relieved that such support exists. Indeed, some of it served to preserve my mental health at a time that it’s quite easy to go a little crazy.
Since the death of my three-week old premmie baby and my subsequent high-risk pregnancy with #2 however, I’ve noticed that there isn’t a great deal of guidance for loss mothers on how to survive the potentially 40 weeks of anxiety, stress, impatience and renewed grief that follows the initial news of a new baby.
Yes, there’s a fair bit of information on what to expect from a pregnancy after a miscarriage- which is not a lesser loss by any stretch, but simply different from that of a stillborn or a neonatal death. Those articles tend to focus though on how you might feel, encouraging you to accept that those emotions are normal and common. What I have truly felt the lack of though, is ideas on what to do when you want time to move faster, when you only want to be looking back with a knowing smile, considering how it all went well after all.
The point blank truth is that not everyone’s post-loss pregnancies will go well, and all parents (though I speak particularly to Mummas) need some plans for how to tackle this slowly-creeping time in a way that will assist them no matter what the outcome. These methods won’t work for everyone, but I think it provides a starting point in considering how to deal with the excruciatingly lengthy unknown.
Midwife Melissa Pearce on the guilt that comes with pregnancy loss. Post continues below…
1. Spread out your weekly pregnancy updates across a few days
Every new week of pregnancy was initially like water-torture for me; the days would move ever-so-slowly while I wondered whether my baby would make it past that particular number. Eventually, I signed up to four pregnancy information websites/apps/YouTube channels and structured my viewing so that there was something new and interesting to learn about each day. “What to expect when you’re expecting” was my first one with a lovely video on Monday. Tuesday gave me BabyCenter, where the baby information was less, but there were pictures of other womens’ bumps to compare with. Wednesday was ChannelMum on YouTube where the woman chatted for a minute about her personal experiences compared to the textbook. Thursday, ‘The Bump’, showed me beautiful artistic pictures of the fruit and vegetable size comparisons. Friday, was usually the surprisingly good Huggies website where I always found some interesting nugget of extra information. Saturday and Sunday I tended to look for more general articles.