In August of 2000, due to a chromosomal anomaly, my daughter was stillborn near the end of my second trimester. In November of 2000, I got pregnant again. All I wanted from August until November was to be pregnant. I knew you couldn’t replace babies. I didn’t want to. However, I wanted a baby before my loss, and I still wanted one. So, against all of the advice to the contrary, I actively tried to get pregnant as soon as I got the all clear at my six week visit.
There really was no talking me out of trying again so soon. Yet, to this day, I try talk others out of making the same choice I did. I beg women to allow themselves to properly grieve before getting pregnant again. It’s just so hard. Uniting grief and excitement is so difficult to manage. Grief usually wins.
I spent most of my pregnancy with my son, expecting him to die. When he would sleep in my belly, I would poke my belly and try to rouse him, for fear he was dead. When he would sleep for long periods, I would drink red punch, because I knew that the red 40 would cause hyperactivity and make him kick. When a few hours would go by while he was sleeping, I’d call the office, asking for an ultrasound, which never came, and always resulted in my sobbing on the phone to the receptionist, begging for mercy… but the kind of mercy I needed, no one could provide.
While pregnant with Noah, I would stand in the shower, and stare at my blossoming belly, remembering the shower I took after the ultrasound confirmed my daughter was dead. I had just been inserted with seaweed sticks to soften my cervix for my stillbirth the next morning and I was terrified that somehow, my cervix would open too much and I would have to give birth to a dead baby alone in my shower.
All these thoughts, all the time, they darkened even what should have been the most delightful of times. I should have been daydreaming of my future with the son I was carrying in my womb, but instead, I was still in turmoil. It was a very difficult pregnancy because I should have been grieving.
I don’t know if there’s any way to get through to a woman who only wants a child in her arms… to ask her to wait. Even still though, I’m asking. If you’ve lost a baby recently, please allow yourself to grieve. I remember the grief counselor I saw after my deliver told me, “It takes about six months to get through the process. Sometimes longer, but never earlier.”
If you are dealing with the loss of a pregnancy, the single best resource I found was the National S.H.A.R.E. website. If you know someone close to you who has suffered a pregnancy loss, please visit the site to better understand how you can help them and what they are going through. Pregnancy loss is a very uniquely isolating loss, and it’s very misunderstood.