I spent the majority of my adolescent and young adult life, actively trying to avoid getting pregnant. Until you're ready, willing and able to have a baby, a pregnancy is somewhat of a "bad" thing that you don't necessarily want to experience. I didn't realize how heartbroken I could be, then, when I lost something I once (and for a while) never wanted. I didn't realize how experiencing a pregnancy loss would affect me, especially as I try to get pregnant (now) again. There are things no one will tell you about getting pregnant after having a miscarriage; Things that are often swept under the rug along with pregnancy and infant loss itself; Things that need to be openly discussed with little-to-no hesitation because the only thing worse than suffering, is suffering in silence.
I was pregnant with twins when I found out, at 19 weeks, that one of my sons' heart had stopped beating. I had no idea at the time, but that kind of loss was going to stick with me long after I birthed a son that would cry, and a son that would remain silent. I had no idea that now, even two years later, the ache of that loss would weigh heavily on me and impact my decisions. My partner and I are trying to get pregnant again, and I am nothing short of terrified. I know what it is like to have someone tell me that I have lost a baby. I know what it's like to be a statistic; the kind that doctors and nurses and the internet warn pregnant women about. I am so afraid that I will experience the same thing, again. I'm so afraid that pregnancy loss will be par for my pregnancy course, and I'll have to mourn a future I was never able to experience. Again.
Thankfully, talking about these fears and anxieties, help. Thankfully, I know I am not alone. Thankfully, many women who experience a pregnancy loss go on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. Thankfully, just because I am afraid of getting pregnant again, doesn't mean that my pregnancy will be anything other than wonderful and pleasant. We have no way of knowing what may or may not happen, as a woman who has experienced a miscarriage or as a human being in general, but thankfully we can continue to tell ourselves the following things and remind ourselves that our experiences, while powerful, do not and should not dictate our futures.
You'll Be Afraid...
It's going to be so hard to feel confident after you've been through a miscarriage. When you find out that you're pregnant again, your excitement will be mixed with anxiety and fear and even disbelief. It's OK not to be just happy. It's hard to pretend that you didn't experience a miscarriage before, and those feelings of loss and inadequacy are bound to follow you through any subsequent pregnancies you experience. It's OK to be afraid. It's normal to be afraid.
...And It'll Be Hard To Stay Positive
When I lost a twin at 19 weeks, and had to carry one deceased twin and one thriving twin at the same time for the remainder of my pregnancy, I was anything but positive. I tried to be, don't get me wrong, but it was hard to think that the worst of the worst wouldn't happen, again. When you've been part of a statistic and you know what it's like to have someone tell you that your baby's heart is no longer beating, it'll be difficult to think that you won't hear those words every single time you get pregnant. You won't.
You'll Look Forward To Every Doctor Visit
I loved going to the doctor as often as possible, especially if it meant that I was going to be able to hear my baby's heartbeat and hear the doctor tell me that everything was OK. I was scared, don't get me wrong, but the fear of possibly hearing something bad couldn't outweigh my need for constant reassurance. I needed to hear that heartbeat, constantly. I needed someone to tell me that I everything was going "according to plan." Honestly, it was exhausting.
You'll Probably Want To Keep Your Pregnancy News To Yourself...
When I found out I was pregnant with twins and told my close friends and my mother, almost all told me to keep my pregnancy a secret until I passed 12 weeks. It's pretty normal for pregnant women to hold off announcing a pregnancy until they're in the second trimester, as your chances of miscarriage drop significantly. Then, a few weeks later, we lost our baby at 19 weeks and I felt so foolish. I felt foolish for announcing a pregnancy "early," even if it wasn't considered "early," and foolish that I was, now, having to announce a loss and deal with uncomfortable or painful conversations.
...But You Definitely Don't Have To
My partner and I are trying to get pregnant again, and we've talked about what would happen if we did. Will we wait to announce our pregnancy again? Will we announce it at all? Will we wait until the third trimester this time, or at least past 19 weeks? I am still torn and still considering our options, but I don't want to be afraid. I honestly want to announce my pregnancy the moment I find out, even if it's 5 weeks. I want to be honest about miscarriages and pregnancy losses and if that means having to announce a loss, too, then that's just part of my journey.
Of course, this option isn't for everyone and I think how and when and why a woman announces her pregnancy should be entirely up to her. Just know that if you're in the same boat, you don't have to stay silent. You get to decide how you treat and/or talk about your pregnancy. You.
It'll Be Hard To Believe You're Pregnant...
It's going to be hard to believe. Hell, sometimes it's hard to believe you're pregnant without having suffered through a pregnancy loss. Believe it.
...And That You Won't Lose This Pregnancy, Too
An estimated 40 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages, but less than 5 percent of women experience two consecutive miscarriages and an even lower percentage (just 1 percent) experience more than two recurrent losses. Chances are, your body is going to handle this next pregnancy just beautifully.
You'll Be Very Careful. In Fact, More Than Necessary.
Unless suggested by a doctor or midwife due to a medical issue or pregnancy complication, you don't have to significantly alter your life in order to stay pregnant. You don't have to put yourself on bedrest and you don't have to be constantly cautious. You can live our life. Hell, you deserve to live your life.
Miscarriage Is Common, Even If It's Isolating...
So many women stay silent about miscarriages, which leads many more to believe that it's not a common occurrence or that something is wrong with them or that they're the only woman who knows that that kind of loss feels like. While each pregnancy loss is unique and affects women in different ways, miscarriages are common.
...But Your Chances Of Having A Healthy Baby Are Just As Good As Anyone Else's
If you've had one miscarriage, your chance of conceiving is just as good as anyone else's. Seriously, if you can create an embryo, the chances are high that you will carry it to term. What happened with a past pregnancy isn't necessarily indicitive of every other pregnancy you may or may not experience.
Your Body Isn't Broken Or Flawed
Going through a miscarriage isn't indicitive of the kind of mom you will be or the kind of body you have or some flaw that you'll have to overcome. Miscarriages just, well, happen. In most cases, a miscarriage cannot be prevented, and no matter what you or your body did, that pregnancy was going to end before you were ready. It's not your fault. You did nothing wrong.
Your Experience Will Make You A Better Parent
It will be difficult to remain positive and it will be difficult to live your life without fear, but going through a miscarriage will make you a better parent. It can make your relationship stronger (if you're in one) it can make you more appreciate of the next pregnancy you experience (even if you're also afraid) and it will strengthen you to deal with the numerous unknowns that motherhood provides. Seriously, if you can get through this, you can get through anything.
You Don't Have To Be In A Hurry
Everyone handles a miscarriage differently. Some need a significant amount of time to mourn before they can even consider going through another pregnancy (me), while others are ready to try again and as soon as possible. You don't have to be in a hurry and you don't have to take your time. You get to decide how you handle your miscarriage and you get to decide when you try again. Just like any other pregnancy (or anything regarding your body) you get to make the decisions. You get to make the choices. It's entirely up to you.