I am a member of the group of women who have been through a miscarriage – 1 in 4 pregnancies is the statistic. It was my first pregnancy. Looking back on that time, I feel like I was so naïve. I lived in a veil of innocence and had no idea that a miscarriage was even a possibility. The four weeks in which I knew that I was pregnant were filled with joy, optimism, and hope. And then my world came crashing down.
I felt so fortunate and blessed to get pregnant exactly 6 months after my loss. It was also the first cycle in which we were ready to try again. Waiting for my rainbow baby was a beautifully challenging time. But I don’t think that the challenges faced during pregnancy after miscarriage are talked about enough by moms who have experienced prior loss.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage
Pregnancy after miscarriage is very emotionally taxing. My pregnancy was riddled with anxiety. I was a regular in the therapist’s chair. I had a tough time convincing myself that the pregnancy would be a healthy one. Every day I struggled with those feelings and the toll that they took on my mental health. I continued to take antidepressants during pregnancy, which can be a controversial decision. But after carefully weighing the pros and cons with my care team, we decided that continuing on the medication was best for both myself and my unborn child. I put in a lot of work during that time to keep my mental health as healthy as possible while managing a lot of difficult feelings.
Every day I was terrified that something bad would happen. I didn’t get much relief even when I started to feel him move. Using many grounding techniques and working very hard with my therapist helped me challenge the “what if” statements that frequently crept into my mind. I challenged them by stating facts: I felt the baby move only 30 minutes ago, my last ultrasound showed a healthy baby, my bloodwork is excellent. It was not until he was here on this Earth with me that I finally had some relief. I just could not wait to meet him, nurse him, and hold him safely in my arms.
The Arrival of My Rainbow Baby
Meeting my rainbow baby was nothing less than magical. I remember everything about when my son was born. Waiting for that first big cry, watching my husband hold him for the first time, the dimple on his chin, his perfect little eyelashes, and his teeny fingers and toes. He was more perfect than I could ever have imagined. I was so happy to have him safe in my arms. A baby was something I had longed for, for so long. He was healthy, strong, and it was truly love at first sight. Babies are a miracle, and my rainbow baby was even more of a miracle for our family. I stared at him constantly in those early days and have thousands of pictures on my phone of his first few months of life.
My son is now a toddler, and I still frequently ask myself, “How is he real?!” Every day with my rainbow baby gets better and better. He fills our lives with so much joy and laughter. There is no world in which the baby I lost could co-exist with my son, which was a hard reality to reconcile, but it got easier. Our son was the missing piece of the puzzle that allowed us to heal and to move forward.
My best advice to a mom experiencing pregnancy after a miscarriage is twofold. First, I promise that the pain does heal, and it does get better. And second, meeting your rainbow baby is the most magical experience that you can imagine. So hang on to that hope throughout the more emotionally difficult times in your pregnancy.