Pregnancy after loss
Pregnancy & Birth after loss
Pregnancy after loss can be the most challenging emotional experience. Emotions are often mixed, overwhelming and confusing – hope and relief mixed with fear, guilt, and anxiety.
The term ‘pregnancy loss’ can cover a whole range of challenging experiences from miscarriage at any stage, ectopic and molar pregnancies.
All these experiences can cause a deep sense of grief, fear and disconnect from trusting the body or sense of self. It can be confusing and overwhelming to feel both happy to be pregnant again and feel sad, scared or worried.
There is often a deep need to make sense of everything and unease at not known why things had to happen that way, what what the cause and even feelings of guilt about what could I have done differently.
Finding strength & courage
Becoming pregnant after a loss or losses, and allowing yourself to be balanced and happy takes enormous courage and strength.
Being pregnant again doesn’t automatically make everything better as some people in society think. In fact, most of the time it brings up all the deeply painful feelings plus fear, plus confusion, plus guilt, plus…plus…plus…… No amount of reassurance from books, extra scans or doctors seems to help for very long.
A positive path beyond fear & emotional overwhelm
But, please know there is hope and a positive path for you.
Each person is unique so it’s really important to realise you can give yourself permission to find your own unique way of grieving for the baby you lost and embracing this new pregnancy and baby moving forward. There is no one way or one approach that’s right for all.
One step at a time and one day at a time, you can start to feel well, balanced and confident with the right support and love.
The flexible, compassionate and gentle 5 step framework we follow includes:
- Honouring & creating a safe space
- Reconnecting to mind/body/baby & sense of self
- Trauma healing, emotional release & creating balance
- Creating your toolkit of mind-skills, relaxation & emotional resilience pregnancy, birth & beyond
As part of this, we also look to focus on self-care and remember the basics of good health really make a difference to lifting your mood and feeling more grounded (eg: nutrition, exercise, relaxation etc)
1) Honouring Loss, Acknowledging Needs & Creating Space
This is probably the most important starting point. Know that it’s okay to grieve. It’s more than okay, it’s essential.
Know that it’s normal to have strong emotions or confused feelings at this time.
Know it’s okay to ask for help.
Know that it’s okay to say you are finding it hard.
We live in a society which has rarely recognised the pain of pregnancy loss in a healthy way. Often people assume that women should just get on with it and be grateful for being pregnant again. There are many cultural reasons for this, but let me tell you that if you feel sadness and grief after pregnancy loss, then your feelings are valid.
The only way to fully process and heal is to acknowledge and honour the pain. This isn’t easy, I know. Having the right tools, understanding and support makes it so much easier than trying to cope on your own.
Feeling dismissed or isolated?
Well-meaning friends or family might try to reassure you but end up dismissing your feelings.
‘You can try again…’, ‘It’s so common…’ etc
Or maybe, they avoid the subject all together, or tell you to think positively.
We’re not well taught in how to handle other people’s emotions especially grief. We don’t know how to talk about it even to ourselves.
Perhaps, you’ve innocently believed you can’t talk about it or you shouldn’t mention it to others. Perhaps, misunderstanding your own need to grieve or believing no one will understand, or it’s reflects badly on your in some way.
This can be very lonely and isolating.
Honouring the baby and dreams you lost
Some women experience an inner conflict of mourning the baby they lost whilst hoping and wanting to feel joy for the baby they are pregnant with now. This can be very confusing and stressful.
It can be very healing to know that you can have a space in your heart and life for the baby you lost. Sometimes this might be as simple as knowing it’s okay to remember them or even talk to them.
This is such a personal experience. There is no one way.
If this resonates with you, so I invite you to give yourself permission to create a space for the baby you lost so that you can heal and feel ready to embrace this new pregnancy.
2) Reconnecting to your body, yourself and what you want now
The next important step to reconnect with what’s most important to you, your core values and why you want this baby.
Reconnecting to what you want and why it’s important is part of healing. It’s not separate to it. This helps to set you back on the path of wellness and reorientates you towards trusting your body, feeling grounded and embracing this pregnancy.
We also need to allow ourselves to reconnect to ourself and our body. We can often feel angry at our body after pregnancy loss. Or we feel like we’ve failed in someway. Know that you haven’t in any way.
The key principles we can connect to are:
– Choice and a sense of power is in the now, and the actions you take today and for tomorrow.
– You are always more capable, braver and stronger than you think you are
– It’s not what has happened to you which defines you or determines how things have to be in the future
– You are designed to heal, adapt and grow. You already have all the capacity and inner resources you need. It’s just a question of reconnecting and trusting you do.
– The more you connect in with your core values, the more stable, grounded and well you will feel. Core values include: love, family, honesty, growth, freedom and fulfilment.
3) Emotional healing and release
Creating safety in the body, and updating unconscious beliefs and associations
This is where hypnotherapy, trauma resolution work and somatic healing tools come in. We cannot heal or release emotions by using our conscious mind.
When we’ve been through a difficult emotional experience or trauma, imagine that emotion can get stuck in the body. This creates a sense of not being safe especially when faced with uncertainty. Anything that is potentially risky or not predictable can trigger our stress responses.
Working with different levels of mind/body
Trying to go in with positive affirmations, nice breathing techniques or relaxation is not going to work. The unconscious protective system is designed to keep you away from pain and towards pleasure. If you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss and the emotional pain associated with this, then your system will be set on high alert for a potential repeat.
Body/mind or somatic practices are a wonderful way to regulate the nervous system. This is a great place to start and there are loads online.
A more guided and personalised approach with a professional makes this part of the process so much easier and quicker.
2) Re-orientating & Reconnecting
4) Creating your personalised hypnobirthing toolkit for confident birthing
Once you have a sense of calm and balance again, then we build on this foundation with our wonderful hypnobirthing and mindful hypnosis toolkit. You are unique so a key part of this is tailoring the relaxation, calming and pain management tools to suit you. In a Confident Childbirth course, you can learn:
Decision making and communication skills
Emotional management and resilience tools