March is Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month. Why March? Well, March is a time where we are starting to come out of the dark winter months. It is a time when there is hope for new life. There is the hope of a rainbow.
With 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage and 1 in 160 pregnancies ending in stillbirth, loss unfortunately affects many of us. And a good amount of us will go on to conceive again, often within the first year following their loss.
Pregnancy after loss is a different kind of journey. Pregnancy after loss is filled with a mix of emotions. It’s complicated. It’s filled with anxiety. And for some, it can also be filled with grief. In fact, women who become pregnant following a loss report higher symptoms of depression and anxiety than women who have not experienced a previous loss.
And to my surprise, pregnancy after loss can still feel heavy even after having a rainbow. Even though I went on to have a healthy, beautiful baby following my miscarriage, I still feel the lingering anxiety within my current pregnancy. Even though I have my little ray of sunshine after the storm, my heart still remembers. My rainbow does not negate my storm.
When I see a positive line on that test, I see a line that says, I am pregnant for now. I know things can change in a moment. I know my hopes and dreams can come crumbling down. I can be excited, yes. But not too excited. I am hopeful, yes. But I am still scared.
And ultrasounds have become a thing I sorta dread. Before, they were exciting and wonderful. Squirmy gummy bears and little feet. They were a glimpse into the future. But then they were what broke the news. They were what crushed my hopes and dreams. And then they became a source of anxiety. They stirred up fears and triggered the what-ifs. What if there is no baby? What if there is no heartbeat? What if the baby is not growing or something is really wrong? All of these thoughts spiraling through my mind. And there I am trying to press them down. Trying to not let them take over. Trying to not let them ruin the whole journey.
It’s hard to not let the what-ifs creep in after a loss. And it’s still hard not letting the what-ifs creep in after a rainbow. I’m learning that pregnancy after a loss is always going to be a little different.
So to all the mamas wishing for their rainbow, holding their breaths, or trudging through their pregnancy after loss journey, you are courageous. I know this journey is hard. It is emotional. It is scary. And you, mama, are so very brave.