(I was surprised by the response I received from so many of you when I wrote Why I Regret Keeping My Pregnancy a Secret. It seemed to resonate with a lot of women, and that encouraged me so much.
What broke my heart into a million little bits was reading all of your comments. Every single one of you had lost a baby through miscarriage. Each of you knew the pain I shared. You loved those little angels. Some of you grieved alone, and some grieved with family and friends. But we all grieved.
Many of you are also currently expecting, and it was suggested that I write something about surviving a pregnancy after suffering the loss of a baby through miscarriage. I thought that was a wonderful idea and so here we go!)
After losing my first baby through a miscarriage, I could not wait to get pregnant again. Right or wrong, I felt like it would somehow ease the pain. All I wanted was to hold my baby!
Well only a month and a half later (my body miscarried on it's own - thankfully I didn't have to have a D&C) I took a test and found out I was pregnant. But after the initial "Yes!!" my response was very different than the first time I was expecting.
I walked into the living room where my husband was sitting and handed him the test. "It's positive." I searched his face to find the joy I so desperately wanted to feel.
But all I felt was fear.
His face echoed my feelings and we hugged each other and just sat in silence for awhile. I told him I was so happy, but so scared. I didn't feel like I could go through that kind of pain again if we lost this baby. I felt guilty for not experiencing the same kind of excitement for this baby as I had for my first.
As my pregnancy progressed, I knew that my chances of losing the baby significantly diminished, but my fear didn't. At every midwife appointment I feared not hearing that beautiful heartbeat. If it took longer than a minute for them to find it, my heart sank so quickly I felt I would be sick.
My mother-in-law asked one day if I had felt him kick yet. Honestly I hadn't even thought to be looking for it. My friend asked if I sang to him or read to him. It never crossed my mind. I felt that something was wrong with me...
Even days before he was due, I still felt that something could happen to him. I couldn't let myself get too attached.
I know that sounds beyond messed up, but that is my natural coping mechanism: to detach myself. I emotionally withdrawal in hopes that somehow if tragedy strikes I won't be completely devastated.
I always knew I naturally coped this way, but during my pregnancy it was amplified. I didn't want to open myself up to potential pain, but I also felt like I was letting my fear rob me of the beautiful journey I was on. I was growing a baby inside of me, shouldn't I be rejoicing!?
There were countless times I would have to cry out to the Lord and beg Him to take away my fear and give me peace. It wasn't something that was conquered in one sitting. I would have some days that were harder than others, where the fear of losing my baby would make me cry and mourn for something that hadn't happened yet. There were also days where I was able to enjoy the thumps and kicks I was feeling inside of me and there were only tears of gratitude shed for my baby.
It makes me sad that something so joyful can be overshadowed by fear.
So for you ladies who are currently expecting, I am going to share a list of do's and don't's that I did throughout my pregnancy. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and be encouraged by the things I found helpful!
1. Detach yourself.
I know this one is easier said than done, but seriously. You've got to try and rejoice for this new life inside of you! Read pregnancy books and blog posts. Try and think of the baby as a baby. I always just thought of Rhett's little baby feet and tiny toes. It don't know why, but it helped.
2. Get carried away in your thoughts at night.
This may be just me, but at night as I was trying to fall asleep was the main time my thoughts would begin to go into dark places. I would worry about losing the baby again and fear would consume me. Memorize a verse of comfort and recite it to yourself when those thoughts creep in.
3. Blame yourself.
When I miscarried, I remember thinking back on everything I did the day before, trying to find some reason it happened. "What did I do wrong?" When I became pregnant with Rhett, I was paranoid to repeat any of the same things and ended up calling the nurse to see if my actions were the reason I miscarried. She told me there is nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage - but there's also nothing you can do to cause it. I found great relief in that.
1. Pray for your baby.
Chris and I would pray for Rhett almost every night. We would pray for his development, his birth and his future salvation. I prayed that he would be a mighty warrior for Christ and have a heart to make disciples of all men. Praying for him like that humanized him for me. I remembered that he was a person with a soul.
2. Buy something for your baby.
I know this may seem silly, but buying something - even if it's just a onesie, makes it seem more real. I had people giving us adorable things right and left. And we were so thankful! But making a purchase myself helped keep me from detaching.
Let yourself dream about your baby. What will he/she look like? Imagine what it will be like to rock your baby to sleep. Set up your nursery and sit in it and envision your little one living there.
4. Call your baby by name.
It took us forever to pick a name, but when we did I still referred to Rhett as "the baby." I would tell Chris to go put something away in "the baby's room," or tell him I felt the baby kick. Using his actual name reminded me that he was more than just a baby - he was Rhett. And he was a person.
I hope these help you! I'm praying for each of you as you are carrying these precious little lives inside of you!
Leave me your feedback on what you found helpful during your pregnancy or any other insights!