Becoming pregnant again after losing a baby is a unique experience for every parent and you may go through a whole mix of emotions. You might feel some degree of happiness at becoming pregnant again, but those feelings can be mixed with grief for the baby you lost and anxiety about this pregnancy. You might even experience some guilt for being happy about this new pregnancy. It’s important to remember that all the emotions are valid – there is no right way to feel.
The symbol of the rainbow has been used by members of the baby loss community for many years now. A rainbow baby is a baby born after miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or termination for medical reasons. For parents, rainbows symbolise hope and light after a dark time. But the road to your rainbow is different for everyone.
Will baby loss happen to me again?
Something you may struggle with as you go into another pregnancy is the worry that you might lose your baby again. It’s completely natural to worry about this, and there are no guarantees that it won’t happen again. But it is worth remembering that most couples will have a successful pregnancy the next time, even after multiple miscarriages in a row. It is important to seek help and reassurance if you have questions about what happened last time or how you can help prevent it happening again. Unfortunately, health professionals don’t always have the answer as to why baby loss happens, but you may find it helpful to read some of the research taking place.
Can I have extra scans?
Unfortunately, extra scans cannot guarantee anything or predict how your pregnancy will progress, but they may give you some peace of mind. You can discuss your antenatal care plan and what scans will be offered with your midwife and pregnancy team.
I feel guilty for being happy about this pregnancy
It’s completely natural to feel joy when you find out you are pregnant, especially if you have been trying for a long time. But some people experience feelings of guilt for moving forwards with their lives and having another baby after already experiencing loss. It is okay to feel this way, but you should try to remind yourself that feelings of happiness do not mean you have any less love for the baby you lost. Some people like to find special ways of remembering them. You might want to make a memory box to keep special items like their scan pictures in. Some people light a candle for their baby on anniversaries or other memorable dates, or during Baby Loss Awareness Week. Although some people find doing these things comforting, how you choose to remember your baby is personal to you and you shouldn’t feel any pressure to show it in a certain way.
I feel guilty for not feeling happy during this pregnancy
This is also completely natural and understandable. If you had a traumatic experience last time, you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of this pregnancy and how it will progress. Being pregnant again may also bring about feelings of loss and sadness around what might have been for the baby that you lost. Allow yourself space and time to grieve. You shouldn’t feel like others are judging you for not being happy all the time now you are pregnant again. Any positive experiences happening now do not overwrite anything you have experienced in the past. Some people feel they should have an overwhelming sense of gratitude when they become pregnant again, but having negative feelings and emotions doesn’t mean you aren’t grateful. You can still feel anger and pain over what you have had to go through on your journey. Try to be as kind to yourself as possible.
Your mental health
Losing a baby can impact your mental health during a next pregnancy and, if you have one, the mental health of your partner. Don’t feel that you have to keep your next pregnancy secret if you don’t want to – talking to your friends or family might really help with your mental wellbeing.
If you are struggling with negative feelings, you may need more support. Up to 1 in 5 women develop mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth, including anxiety and depression. Some parents even experience post-traumatic stress after losing a baby.
If you or your partner (if you have one) are feeling low, don’t hide your feelings or suffer in silence. You are not alone. Tell your GP and midwife how you feel. They will help you access the support you need.
You can talk to a Tommy’s midwife free of charge from 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 0147 800 or email them at email@example.com.
You can also join our Parenting After Loss support group which is a closed group and safe space to share your emotions and experiences.