Pregnancy after loss
DEFINITION: a subsequent pregnancy, after any type of pregnancy or baby loss
Nervous, anxious, hypervigilance
Exhilarated, desperate, panicky
Constant fluctuating anxiety
Isolated, separated, timid
Unstable, ‘on the edge’
I cannot lose this baby
I will lose this baby
I cannot bear this
I am losing my mind
It maybe OK now, but that doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow
I won’t be able to cope if it happens again
How Petals can help:
Petals provide further counselling support for women and couples who have previously experienced the loss of a baby. This specialist psychological support coaches the woman throughout her pregnancy to manage the emotional turbulence that is inevitable following previous loss. It is a safe space to bring all her fears and anxieties and for them to be accepted and acknowledged. The counsellor will provide advice on coping strategies and work with the woman or couple to understand why they feel this way, helping them through difficult stages of the pregnancy like scans and testing, and remain available to them through to the post-natal period.
COPING WITH ANXIETY DURING PREGNANCY AFTER LOSS
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, which was focussing on the theme of anxiety, one of our wonderful senior counsellors, Jacqui put together some tips and insights for anyone experiencing pregnancy after loss:
What Are You Managing?
You are mentally trying to manage two things, your new pregnancy and your lost baby. This journey will come with higher levels of anxiety. It will naturally feel different this time. Try not to pressure yourself to feel a certain way. It is okay to acknowledge that you feel anxious or sad.
One Step At A Time:
It can help to set and focus on small goals and take small steps during your pregnancy. Reaching the end can feel like an enormous milestone to get to and can be overwhelming to even think about. Breaking the weeks or even days down into more manageable chunks can feel like achievements along the way.
Attending antenatal appointments such as scans or check-ups can feel daunting and frightening. It is helpful to think about the support you need during these times:
- Bring someone with you for support.
- Speak to your GP or the hospital ahead of the appointment with any questions you want to ask. Sometimes just making a call to the medical team can offer reassurance.
- If you are feeling anxious, talk to your midwife about the support that is available to you.
It can often feel uncomfortable to talk to others about your pregnancy. It can be useful to be prepared for these times by thinking about the kinds of ways you wish to respond.
You and your partner may feel differently about your new pregnancy and the baby you lost. This is completely natural, but it is extremely important to keep your communication open and to find ways to talk and support each other.
Connecting to others that have had a similar experience to you can bring support and comfort. Sharing stories within a secure and trusting community and just knowing that others have been where you are now can provide comfort and reassurance.