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  • Writer's pictureJulie Lee

From Heartbreak to Hope: How to Deal With Pregnancy After Loss

Updated: Jun 25

pregnancy after still birth, pregnancy after miscarriage
How to Deal With Pregnancy After Loss

So, you've been through the unimaginable – the loss of a baby. And now, you might be considering trying again. Many doctors suggest waiting at least three months, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) even recommending six months. But honestly, there's no hard evidence backing these timelines. In fact, some studies suggest that the uterus could be more receptive to a new pregnancy soon after an early loss, providing you want to try again quickly, and that’s personal choice!


Trying to conceive again after such a profound loss is a rollercoaster of emotions. The thought of another pregnancy might fill you with anxiety and fear. What if it happens again? What if your next baby doesn't make it either? The pressure to get pregnant again, perhaps if you're not ready, can be overwhelming. Anger and frustration are also common feelings – it's hard to face another pregnancy when the previous one ended in heartbreak.


Losing a baby can completely change how you view pregnancy. What once seemed like a joyous time now feels fraught with anxiety and worry. Thankfully, most healthcare professionals understand this, and can provide extra care, monitoring, and reassurance during subsequent pregnancies.


The term "Rainbow Baby" is often used for a baby born after a loss. This new life isn't a replacement for the one that was lost, but it can bring hope and healing. Some parents find it comforting to include the memory of the lost baby in their new journey, maybe by thinking of them as an older sibling. But remember, do what's right for you and your situation, this doesn’t fit for everyone – one size does not fit all!



The term "Rainbow Baby" is often used for a baby born after a loss


Connecting with other parents who have experienced similar losses can be incredibly supportive. But everyone grieves differently, and what helps one person might not help another. It's important to find the support that works best for you.


Although extra scans and tests might be offered in your next pregnancy, depending on your previous loss which can help alleviate some anxiety, it won't eliminate it entirely. Pregnancy after a loss is often filled with mixed emotions – guilt, fear, anxiety, hope, and relief all tangled together.

It's natural to have conflicting feelings about trying again. You might be eager to start immediately, worried about waiting, or unsure if you're ready to stop trying altogether. These feelings are complicated by the fear of another loss and the anxiety that comes with a new pregnancy.


Financial concerns, if your facing IVF treatment, intimacy struggles, and the pressure from well-meaning others asking intrusive questions can add to the stress. In the UK, our "stiff upper lip" culture often means we don't talk about our feelings openly. People might avoid the topic of your loss altogether, not knowing what to say or fearing they'll say the wrong thing. This can be isolating and frustrating. However, I must say that it can be difficult for those around you to get it right because grief is so unique to each griever. Whilst you may be longing for someone to ask about what happened, giving you an opportunity to tell your story, your partner may be dreading someone asking and want to run a million miles in the opposite direction. As a griever it can be a good idea to tell your support network what you need; give them a chance to get it right.


Pregnancy after a miscarriage, ectopic, or molar pregnancy can be incredibly tough. You'll likely experience a whirlwind of emotions, including guilt, fear, anxiety, and hope. Living with uncertainty takes immense strength and courage, especially when things have gone wrong before.


Mindfulness can be a helpful tool during this time. It's like gym for your brain – regular practice can build your mental resilience. It's not a quick fix and it's hard work, but with consistent effort, it can help you manage your worries and stay present, reigning in those run away thoughts and reduce catastrophising - make it a life choice.



Use all of your senses to pay attention to the task in hand - you don't need extra time to be mindful!

Talking to others who've been through similar experiences can help you feel less isolated. Hearing their stories might provide comfort and a sense of community. The idea of getting pregnant again soon after a baby loss can be overwhelming, and you should never feel rushed if you're not ready.


If you do decide to try again quickly, be prepared for the emotional toll it can take. It's perfectly natural to feel worried about your next baby. Many parents don't feel a sense of relief until they're holding their baby in their arms. The loss of a baby is a numbing shock, turning your world upside down.  It's not just the loss of your baby that hurts – it's also the loss of the pregnancy, the joy of seeing your baby for the first time, taking them home, and all the future moments you had imagined. These associated losses bring a whole heap of questions and what-ifs along with extra grief.


Should you hold your child? Should you name them? Did you do something to cause the death? Should a post-mortem be performed? What about funeral arrangements? Where can you turn for help? These are all tough questions that many parents face.


Remember, grief is a product of love and connection; it's okay to not be okay for as long as it takes. Seek support when you need it and take things one step at a time. Your journey is unique, and there's no right or wrong way to walk it.


Julie

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