Monday, November 25, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss: Things to Consider

Deciding when to try for a baby can be a difficult decision at the best of times, but it's a decision that becomes more complicated when the parents have experienced the loss of a baby. As well as needing to think about the normal things, there are extra factors that baby loss parents have to take into consideration. I'm not an expert by any stretch, but I wanted to share with you some thoughts on things that you may like to consider when deciding on a time frame for your rainbow pregnancy.

Test Results
Were any tests taken at the time of your loss that could impact on the success of a later pregnancy? For example, if you have had some blood taken to test for a clotting disorder, it would be wise to wait for those results before becoming pregnant again. If something as simple as taking some aspirin each day was going to drastically increase the odds of bringing home a living baby, that is worth waiting for. Whilst waiting for 6 weeks to get results may feel like forever, keep in mind that anything that increases the likelihood of a living baby will be worth it.

Your Body
I don't think it's news to anyone when I say that pregnancy is tough on a woman's body. Depending on how far along you were when your loss occurred, your body may have gone through immense changes (softening ligaments, moving muscles, labour and birth) and it might be in need of a rest. Will you physically be able to handle another pregnancy? Some doctors say you need to wait "x amount of cycles" before trying again, but others say that it doesn't matter. There doesn't seem to be widespread agreement, so listen to your doctor, don't be afraid to get a second opinion, and trust your instincts about your body.

Your Emotions
It's likely that you will always be at least a little bit afraid of being pregnant again. Considering what you have experienced, I'd say that is perfectly acceptable and normal! I remember hearing once that a good time to start trying for your rainbow baby is "when your desire for another baby is greater than your fear of another pregnancy." I cannot remember where I heard that, but I particularly like how this quote acknowledges that the fear and anxiety will always be there even when it's not the dominant emotion. Being pregnant and preparing for a new baby does somewhat limit your ability to grieve for your child, and you will experience all the normal hormonal/emotional effects of pregnancy. There is no need to rush your emotions.

Your Husband/Partner's Opinion
Your husband may or may not be ready when you are, and that is ok. There's no rule that says partners must be ready at the same time! He may be ready before you or he may take longer to be ok with another pregnancy. If another pregnancy is likely to affect your health, it could be a very scary thing for him to consider. He's already lost a child, and may not be ready for something that will affect your health too. Perhaps he needs more time to grieve without the distraction of preparing for another baby, or maybe he is not ready for the anxious nine month wait for a living baby. Please, whatever you do when deciding when to try again, make sure that you do not push your needs of desires above those of your husband. It would be worth waiting until you are both ready, because you will need each other more than ever during the pregnancy.

Significant Dates/Anniversaries
Think about potential due dates. Are you ok with your next baby potentially having a similar birthday? Are you wanting to avoid being heavily pregnant around the anniversary of your loss? You know better than most people that pregnancies don't always go to plan, but it is worth thinking about things like anniversaries and birthdays. Don't let your desire for a pregnancy right now override how you might feel if your babies were to share the same birthday or month.

Finally, I wanted to mention something that need not be high on your list of things to consider:

What Others Think
This point does not apply to doctors. LISTEN TO THEM! But when it comes to the opinion of your neighbour, hairdresser, long lost cousin or the stranger in the street - that is not important. It is your decision. People who know you well, such as family, close friends or a pastor, are a bit different. They may have ideas on when they think would be an appropriate time for you to try again; perhaps they want you to have another baby as soon as possible, or they may think it is best to wait. I'm not saying to ignore them, but you are the one who knows your situation best. Don't make your decision based on what others say.

Obviously, every person's situation is different. In case this was ever in doubt, over the next few days I'll be sharing the stories of a few of my friends. Each of them have different thoughts when it comes to the timing of pregnancy after loss. I hope that by sharing their stories, you will gain a better understanding of how different people approach this topic.

To read all the posts in this series, click here.

If you have been pregnant after a loss, what things did you consider? Is there something you would add when talking to someone who is thinking about a rainbow pregnancy?


Post a Comment

Blog Design by Franchesca Cox