The untold side of pregnancy after loss
By Randi van Wiltenburg- Butterfly Baby Doula Services
You open the package of your pregnancy test; the sound it makes brings back all the emotions you’ve been holding back. Your body starts to quiver, your stomach tightens in knots, your eyes brim with tears, and you follow the directions. You debate, do you watch it for the two-five minutes it could take, or do you walk away and come back? No matter what you choose to do, that test will tell you what you probably already know.
Those two lines appear you want to cry and scream, smile and throw up, be excited and scared all at the same time. You’re pregnant; sometimes you can embrace this and feel sheer joy. Other times, it brings sheer terror and panic. Will this test result in a happy ending, will you bring a baby home, or will it end in despair yet again?
That test cannot predict the future; it can only tell you what is as of right now. It’s very common that many start taking tests regularly, commonly referred to as pee on a stick syndrome. The lines become a life line, you analyze and compare, are they changing, is the test line darkening, is it giving you results faster. This isn’t even taking into consideration the digital tests that tell you how many weeks since conception you are approximately. The costs of these add up, financially and emotionally. I’ll fully admit it was very hard to stop testing and just believe I was pregnant, it’s been almost two years since I had to take a test and I still haven’t thrown all my positive tests away.
Now people can even get home fetal Dopplers, which has benefits and risks. A benefit would be hearing you baby’s heart beat, reducing worry, stress and anxiety, it can also assist with bonding. Risks are not finding the heart beat (baby’s move, placenta being in the way, baby being too small…) as well as the sound waves emitted from it, we don’t know the longer term side effects of this. This is something I would highly encourage people to discuss with their medical providers about.
Often after a loss or multiple losses people wait to announce their pregnancies, anywhere from 12 weeks to baby being born. Announcing and then having to tell about a loss can be too much or too difficult, people are often more reserved in their reactions after known losses as well. Everyone will deal with this one differently, and no way is right or wrong.
Every twinge, tingle, bleeding or spotting, baby not moving for awhile, all these can send someone straight into a panic and sometimes even a anxiety attack. These of course can impact ones ability to bond with baby while in utero.
People don’t always grasp why someone would feel reserved in their pregnancy, especially after a loss. Many think that people should be overjoyed and celebrating, this isn’t always a natural progression of emotions and that is okay.
This is where I feel very honoured and blessed to support clients, I can assure you that you’re not alone, you’re not broken, that this is common and I hear you, I grasp where you’re coming from ( I will never say I understand, as each persons journey is theirs and theirs only.) I can be there if you need to cry, yell, scream, sit in silence, just be and know that someone gets it and isn’t judging you.
Like most pregnancies, those after a loss are full of ups and downs. Just know you’re not alone when it comes to the ups and especially the downs. I am here for you.