Having a Baby after Losing a Baby – 39 Weeks
I was surprised at this graceful and optimistic perspective and thus hope I can share here on Wanted, Chosen, Planned about my current pregnancy without causing pain for anyone who reads.
I am 39 weeks pregnant and I had an epiphany the other day about the length of gestation as it relates to us who have lost a child:
It is a good thing that pregnancy is 40 weeks long!
The duration of nine+ months provides the needed time to ‘do the work of grief’ which I’m sure we all put off in our own unique ways. I spent a whole year after my son died mastering the “art of distraction” as I call it. I worked long hours, exercised like my life depended on it, was super -activity mom for my two year old daughter, house hunted, moved and took on a hefty renovation.
What I really needed was a soul renovation – which did come.
It came after I discovered that I was pregnant and thought, “OMG! How am I going to survive this? What if my next child dies… This is going to be the longest 40 weeks of my life!”
If pregnancy was a two week process, even two months, I am sure I would have been a basket case when my next child arrived. I would not have been ready. Making the baby is sometimes the easy part – it’s being ready as a holistically healthy person that requires true effort but is worth every ounce of pain, struggle and tears to get to that point.
I by no means have it all together.
I am anxiously waiting for my water to break or contractions to begin, crossing my fingers that the preparation I have done over the last 39 week to control my anxiety and worry and find hope and peace (as cheesy as that may sound) will carry me through.
Of course I am terrified that, at any moment, something will happen to compromise my child’s health or that something will go wrong at delivery and my baby won’t make it. I am an over thinker and after experiencing a ‘worst case scenario’ do not enter into this last passage of pregnancy without much trepidation.
To be honest, I am not totally sure what to expect. For now, all I can offer are a few tips to help other pregnant women stay calm and hopeful in the waiting time pre-birth. There is no magic solution, but here are a few things that worked for me.
It is possible to find peace and hope for surviving the 40 long weeks of pregnancy.
Here are my tried and tested tips:
- Relax: drink tea or hot chocolate, use a magic bag, get a massage, have a hot bath
- Get as much sleep as possible
- Read books on working through grief (I recommend: “Understanding Your Grief, Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing in Your Heart” By Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D
- Practice positive self talk, change negative beliefs and associations about pregnancy and birth (Try reading: “The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne)
- Visualize a healthy and positive pregnancy experience and a good outcome from delivery
- Try meditation and mindfulness (See my earlier post called “Mindfulness – Alive in our Moments” )
- See a therapist to help work through issues
I have been told that having a child after losing a child is a healing experience. The past 39 weeks of transformation have completely changed the trajectory of my life and I spend much time these days imagining the joy that I hope will come upon my child’s birth. I will let you know how it goes!