Every pregnancy is a blessing, but every pregnancy is also different. Each is filled with its own challenges and triumphs. But I think the most challenging pregnancy of all is one that comes after a miscarriage. While I feel so excited and blessed to be pregnant with this baby, I would be lying if I said it’s not harder. Rainbow babies are different from regular babies because I know now that 1 in 4 can easily be me. It is me.
A pregnancy following a miscarriage is a joyful experience, but it is also filled with so many difficult feelings and situations that no one ever seems to talk about.
In the beginning, I was afraid to get excited. I (stupidly) thought not getting excited would somehow make it hurt less if this pregnancy were to end in tragedy too. Any sort of action felt like a gamble to me. I didn’t know when it was safe to tell people, safe to start buying things, safe to start picking a name. I was so afraid of history repeating itself. I was haunted by the memory of angrily shoving all the baby things into the back of a closet so I wouldn’t have to look at them anymore. I remembered how I felt like such a fool telling people I had a miscarriage when I had told them I was pregnant only days before.
I go into full-blown panic mode at any sign that something might be wrong, and I automatically assume the worst. Although I know the miscarriage wasn’t my fault, I worry if I lose this baby, it will be because of something I did or didn’t do. I call my doctor at the first sign of an issue because the thought of not acting fast enough scares me to death. I go into every ultrasound with this sense of dread of finding out the worst…again. The night before a doctor’s appointment is most often filled with more praying than sleeping. I can’t relax until they find the heartbeat and I know all is well. And the wave of relief I feel after that moment never gets old.
Yes, it’s unwarranted guilt, but it’s still there. I feel guilty any time I even consider uttering a complaint about a pregnancy symptom. It feels wrong to be miserable even when I am trudging through things like morning sickness, because I know how blessed I am just to be pregnant. I feel guilty that being pregnant again makes the loss hurt a little less.
I have learned that grief and joy can exist together. I can be excited about this pregnancy without forgetting the life that was lost. I feel immense happiness in anticipation of this baby, but I still feel sad sometimes about the baby I never got to meet. I love watching my three-year-old girls get so excited about becoming big sisters, but my heart breaks when they include in their prayers a request for this baby to not “go away” like the last one did.
I thank God every day for this pregnancy. I am thankful to carry the hope that in a few more months, I will have another daughter. I realize not everyone gets to be pregnant again after a miscarriage. Some never have the opportunity in the first place. It’s something I never take for granted.
I’ve had to accept the reality of having zero control over what happens. All I can really do is hope, pray, and take it one day at a time. Knowing I am going to feel all these things and worry until my sweet baby is safely laid in my arms, is tough.