23 Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Pregnancy After Loss

Whether this applies to you or someone you care about, I think this guest post from Lindsey Henke has some amazing points.



That TTC after a loss is heartbreaking. It’s different this time around. You got pregnant in the past, but you aren’t sure if you will get pregnant again. Also, it’s no longer ‘fun’ when you are trying. It’s work. Sex seems like means to an end and it’s hard to enjoy because in your head your thinking, “will this time be it?” Then you have to wait two weeks to even see if you are or you aren’t. And if you aren’t pregnant, well, grief comes back in full force. You feel defeated and like you failed. The worst part is you then wait another two weeks to try again and start the whole torturous cycle over again.


The excitement of getting a positive pregnancy test may turn to indifference. It might sound strange, but when the pee stick had two lines instead of one, I didn’t jump up and down for joy. I actually stared at it in disbelief. First, I didn’t believe that I actually was pregnant again. Second, when I did let the realization that I was pregnant again sink in, it was as if fear decided to barge through the door. Anxiety swells up and all I could think of is “Do I really have to do this again” and “Can I really do this again?”


You might consistently check for blood on your panties. It might sound strange, but having to go pee is a terrifying experience. Every time you pull down your pants you mentally prepare yourself to see spots of blood in your panties. There is no way around this. It just is.


Morning sickness becomes your best friend. The minute my stomach started to settle during the first trimester was the moment my anxiety would ramp up as I thought to myself, “Something is wrong. Why don’t I feel nauseous anymore?” Immediately thinking my baby must have died. When the waves of queasiness returned my heart would feel a sense of relief.


Others might want you to be ‘okay’ now that you are pregnant again, but this is far from the case. Just because you are pregnant again doesn’t mean that you have forgotten or gotten over the loss of your other child. It just does not work that way. Don’t let others expectations impact how you feel about your pregnancy and the child that died. It’s okay to not be okay. Actually, it’s probably normal.


It will drive you crazy sometimes not being able to feel the baby move in the first trimester. From the weeks where you find out you are first pregnant to the time you begin to know when you are expected to feel the baby move will drive you nuts! You want to feel the baby move so badly to know everything is okay but you realize that you just are not at that point in your pregnancy yet. You tell yourself that this is normal but you still hate that you don’t have the reassurance of feeling baby moving yet to know if babe is okay.


But you might worry about the day you are able to feel the baby move in the second trimester. Even though you wanted for so long to feel baby move, you somehow dread the day that you can consistently notice kicks and jabs because that means that movement could one day stop and that is a scary thought.


Obsessing about the baby’s movement is normal. Well, maybe it’s not normal.  I really don’t know, but it’s defiantly okay in my book. I needed to feel baby move at least a certain amount of times within a certain amount of minutes in order to be reassured baby was okay for today. Towards the end of pregnancy the only thing that kept me sane was feeling the baby move. In those moments I could somewhat believe that everything was okay.


Anxiety around doctor’s appointments happens. Going to the doctor can be reassuring but it can also be scary because the doctor is often time the one who delivers bad news. It’s normal to get anxious about appointments, even women who have not experienced a loss, experience anxiety during appointments during pregnancy.


Seeing other women pregnant will still cause you to rage with jealousy. There I said it. You see, there is just something that happens where even though you are pregnant again you still ache inside when you see another pregnant woman who has never experienced a loss. You just somehow can’t be happy for her because you are jealous of her innocence, of her joy. Yes you have joy, but it’s the bittersweet kind and part of you hates that and wishes it was different. It’s okay to be jealous. It really only makes sense, don’t you think?


It will feel like no one understands even if they have been through a PAL before. Each day a new feeling comes and goes. Every minute your emotional world is changing, evolving, or should I say erupting from within. One minute you are cautiously optimistic, you just felt the baby move, all is well…umm, wait, no, you feel a cramp. Ugh! You think, “Could this be pre-term labor?” and now you are back to being scared.  So naturally, it’s hard for you to feel as if others can relate because really our inner emotional turmoil is each our own and sometimes we just might not be on the same page as others, even if they have been down this road before.


The nurse or midwife’s line will become your lifeline. My best friend during my PAL was my OB nurse. Her name is Jessi and I honestly believe I would not have made it through pregnancy after loss without her. I called her at least three times a week and she never judged, never complained, and always welcomed my calls. I should probably call her boss and tell them that she deserves a raise.


You will probably go to the hospital or doctor’s office 10 times more then you really need to and that is okay. I think I went 20 times to the emergency room during the 37 weeks I was pregnant. Now that might be excessive as I am a diagnosed worry wart, but for good cause in this case. My doctors always told me they would rather have me come in and address my concern then sit at home and worry. Besides, it’s better to go in and have nothing wrong then to not go in and look back and say I wish I did.


It will be difficult to concentrate. With the normal physical and emotional changes of pregnancy combined with the added stress and worry that a pregnancy after loss brings, it’s amazing that you remembered to brush your teeth this morning. Just remember it’s normal to be distracted during pregnancy and specifically a pregnancy after loss.


Bonding with this baby may be challenging, but worth it. It’s scary to create a relationship with the bean growing inside of you because your past experience says, “Hey don’t get too attached, remember what happened last time.” And it’s normal to want to protect yourself from getting hurt again. However, whenever I noticed myself doing this I always told myself, “It’s going to hurt no matter what. It won’t hurt any less if I’m not connected to this baby, actually it might hurt more because I didn’t take the time to enjoy baby while they were here.”


The fear doesn’t always go away as you get closer to birth. The closer you get to the day of your previous loss or to the day of delivery the scarier things might seem to get. You thought it would be the other way around because you are almost there. But it all just seems so unpredictable and scary now.


You might experience PTSD. If your loss happened during pregnancy then going through another pregnancy can be traumatic. For me it was like reliving my trauma every minute of every day. I could not escape it and the closer I got to the delivery day the more my anxiety and triggers of my past trauma intensified. What helped me was working with a therapist and practicing loving kindness and compassion towards myself.


The days move s l o w e r . No for real. Time seems to stand still when you are traveling through PAL. Moments seem like minutes and minutes seem like months at times. You just so badly want baby to here safe and sound that you wish you could press the fast-forward button on your life and you want to be able to do this so bad that it’s almost like you accidentally hit ‘pause’ on all the hard stuff.


Grief doesn’t go away. It’s ever present as you think back on the pregnancy with your last baby. Comparing trimesters, anniversaries, and milestones. It all seems surreal. You think about how this baby will be a little brother or sister to the baby or child that you lost and with that thought sorrow will flood your soul once again. It’s in the happiest moments that you find the greatest grief now.


But there will be joy! I know it might be hard to believe, but there can be joy during PAL too. You have to fight for it! Wrestle with fear and yell at it, “NO, YOU WON’T WIN!” Letting it know that it will not take this pregnancy from you too. But after that daily battle has subsided, you really might find a moment of excitement and happiness role into your mind as you secretly realize that yes, this could actually happen and most of all you deserve it too. So go out and buy that cute baby onesie that says “I love my mama” or “Daddy’s little girl.”


Thinking about birth can be scary. Thinking about birth, getting close to the date, waiting to go into labor naturally or preparing for your C-section. All of it might be scary to think about. Create a plan to help it be the day that you want it to be and maybe give you a sense of control. Hop
efully it turns out to be a healing experience and most importantly the day that you get to meet your screaming, breathing baby.


You deserve this! You have been through so much. Much more than most moms I know. You carry a great pain on your heart and you deserve to hold a great hope and joy in your arms again. You deserve this! You have courage, you have strength, and you do it with grace. I don’t know anyone who deserves this more than you, mama.


Finally, holding your breathing baby in your arms is the most AMAZING experience. I wish I never had to go through PAL and losing a child is the worst thing I believe that could ever happen to someone. But if I have to go through the worry, anxiety, and fear of a pregnancy after a loss in order to hold my child, then yeah, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was worth it for her.

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23 Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Pregnancy After Loss

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  • I’m glad she had a therapist that understands. I was in therapy being treated for depression and anxiety when I got pregnant the first time and was still seeing the dr when I had my miscarriage. He told me over and over in session after session that since I lost my baby in the first trimester that it wasn’t a baby yet and you can’t mourn a child if they aren’t a baby yet. I stopped seeing him after that. There was nothing I wanted more in the world than to have that baby, she was real whether he believed so or not. Sometimes what people say to you to be helpful is just heartless.

  • Thank you so much for writing this! I am 14 weeks pregnant after 4 recurrent miscarriages, and every point hit home with me. I am so happy to finally make it to the 2nd trimester but every happy moment is followed by an anxious, paranoid one. I feel like the expectation is that I should be overjoyed, and I am, but part of me is still bracing for the loss. But I am going to hold onto #22, I DO deserve this! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for these words. My son passed away at three months. And I sit here today feeling horrified. Feeling scared to be happy. I cried when I received my results. These 23 things were so damn reassuring.

  • I have just gotten a positive pregnancy test. I had pre term labor in December 2013 and suffered from depression afterwards.
    You are right about the indifference of finding out that I am pregnant. It’s weird. I want to be pregnant but I don’t want to acknowledge it. I am afraid of being happy. It’s so unfair.
    I need the support of other women in my situation.

  • In the last 18 months I’ve experienced a complete molar pregnancy and then a miscarriage. I found out last week that I am about 5 weeks pregnant and I’m so scared. I’m happy but extremely scared. Every trip to the bathroom, every slight discomfort causes me to go into panic mode. Thank you for posting this article.

  • I read this even though my miscarriage was 30 years ago, it’s something you never stop thinking about you always have those what ifs in your mind and wonder what he/she would have been like and how they would have turned out.

  • Thank you so much for posting this. We have a four year old daughter and our second was stillborn. She would have been 2 in September. We recently decided to start trying for another baby and had an early miscarriage at 6 weeks, it was devastating. I know that an early miscarriage is normal but after a stillborn I think it’s even harder because the fear is so much stronger. We are now pregnant again, and I almost can’t breathe because there is so much fear and anxiety. 40 weeks might not seem like that long, but it already feels like a lifetime. Thank you for your words, it always helps to know that I am not alone, and that I am not the only one who feels jealous and almost a bit of hatred when looking at a pregnant woman, a new mother, a small baby… It makes my heart hurt with the grief.

  • One more: you might feel truly alone because your partner, who was excited and happy and bonded with the baby you lost, just feels he can’t emotionally commit to another baby until he knows it’s healthy and okay (ie. after it’s born… which became after it started smiling etc. because even after she was born he was convinced something would be wrong with her). That makes the road of your PAL even tougher because you are basically travelling it alone; he has checked out emotionally, but you are experiencing every emotion imaginable all by yourself. Know that you can be strong enough for all of you; I was… twice. I actually pity my husband for missing out on so much.

  • I didn’t allow myself to get attached to my daughter until I held her in my arms. She was my 2nd pregnancy, and her twin was my 2nd miscarriage. My husband doesn’t understand why June 9th (the due date of my first pregnancy) will always be special and important to me.

  • 3 hit my healing heart. The anxiety of dreading going to the bathroom with this pregnancy became severe, a great therapist helped me stay strong. It still is unnerving and I am already terrified of the anxiety another pregnancy will bring, despite how perfectly healthy my current 21 weeks of pregnancy have been.?

  • From about the second paragraph, I was already in tears. I experience the loss of eight pregnancies before I finally gave birth to my daughter. Everything about this article is spot on. I did all of those things when I was pregnant. I was scared my entire pregnancy all the way up until they put her in my arms. You have touched my heart. Thank you for reminding me that I am not and was not alone with my pain. I have not had a successful pregnancy since my daughter was born. She will be 11 yrs old this year.

  • For number 3 Do not buy printed toilet paper during your PAL… nothing like having a heart attack from seeing red on the toilet paper out of the corner of your eye before you remember that they are red flowers. Learned that the hard way

  • Wonderful read. I miscarried my twins during our first trimester, and took us years before a pregnancy test finally came back positive. I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing, so i used about 6 more of the free pregnancy tests I got form ttckit, and they were all positive. I was happy but scared at the same time. Praying everyday that nothing bad will happen. I dont want a repeat. Thank God I delivered a healthy baby boy and I am the happiest I can ever be.

  • This is a wonderful article. I have lost 2 pregnancies – the first a miscarriage the second an ectopic pregnancy that ruuptured my fallopian tube and required emergency surgery at 10:00 at night. We are now pregnant for the 3rd time (SUPER early at 4 weeks along) – iroincally the same time of year that I was pregnant with baby #1. I’m fighting every urge to be over the top with anxiety about this – leaning on the Lord to see this one through and accepting that there isn’t any reaction I could have now that is going to change the outcome. So, I can be a nervous wreak or embrace this blessing with hope and excitement — the choice is mine — it all will end the same regardless. I have so much love and respect for women who have been through this – it’s difficult beyond anything anyone could ever imagine if they haven’t been through it.
    And yes, once you’ve experienced loss you look forward to any and all miserable pregnancy symptoms…bring on the morning sickness!!

  • Wow.. Couldn’t help but smile, tear, and agree with every last one. I am experiencing my first pregnancy after 2 losses (the 1st I knew very well I was pregnant, loss baby 1, baby 2 survived for 1 week and then was no longer there; talk about pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy). After trying for so long we went through miscarriage #2, but were prepared for it. I knew almost immediately thanks to blood work that it was not a viable pregnancy. Well here I am almost 2 months past miscarriage # 2 and am sitting at my desk at 7 weeks pregnant and having every emotion possible… Thanks for sharing this.. I feel somewhat normal now!

  • This gives me a little more courage to try again. I had a misscarriage at 10 weeks.
    But, my greater loss was when our Ella Abigail went to Heaven at
    11 months old. She was born at 23 weeks due to HELLP syndrome. I was robbed of a normal delivery, baby shower and she was in the hospital her entire life. I’m 42 and want to try again. My doctor okayed it. I’m afraid I can never find happiness after Ella. But end of this article gives hope that it can happen and happiness can exist in all the pain.
    After my misscarriage I was so scared with my pregnancy with Ella and was in emergency many times and in my doctors. I can’t imagine how I’ll be if I get pregnant ever again.

  • Amazing article. I am trying again after one miscarriage and am excited and scared to death all at once. It’s a waiting game.

  • Wow- spot on with everything. I’ve had three miscarriages, all just a little bit closer to the finish line and I’m currently almost 37 weeks pregnant. It’s a fight everyday with myself… Needed to read this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • Thank you, every single point was dead on. I lost my daughter at 37 weeks then I had a rainbow baby. I had every emotion, and the comment about if the baby stops moving you immediately assume the baby has past is totally right.

  • We had 6 children in a row, every two years, without any miscarriages. Then I miscarried. I’m now pregnant with my 8th. I was surprised at how much I can relate to this article. Especially the part about everyone missing out on the missing child. My youngest will be 4 when this one comes but we’re missing a 2 year old. I feel like there is an obvious gap. Added to my stress is the fact that I found out just before I miscarried that my husband didn’t really want me to be pregnant after all. He was not that upset when we lost our baby and said no more. This baby was a total surprise and my husband is actually angry that I’m pregnant. (I should add here that I had repeatedly told him that his "methods" of avoiding pregnancy were very unreliable) I had guilt that I miscarried because he didn’t really want me to be pregnant last time. Now I worry it’ll happen again. I also worry it won’t and I’ll have an unwanted baby (thus the guilt). I know I want this baby and my kids can’t wait. It shouldn’t be this complicated. I’ve made it past my miscarriage point but can’t help but feel like I’ll have a still born and he’ll be happy while I morn again by myself.

  • This is exactly how I felt while pregnant with my third child. I wish I read this while I was expecting. Very validating to see those feelings in print!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. This could not have found me at a more crucial time in my life and I feel a weight lifting (if only a small one) but one nonetheless.

  • I have never been pregnant, but I have a number of friends who had miscarriages or stillbirths and have been amazed at how much silence there is when that happens, with people acting as if nothing happened, or trying to gloss it over with happy talk about the next one to come. This essay is very moving.

  • Thank you for writing this. After experiencing 3 miscarriages before I was 30, I often experienced these and thought I was losing my mind and thought I was crazy. Even women I spoke to who had experienced miscarriages never mentioned the above so I never spoke about it. The way you have written this is easy to understand for everyone and provides some healing for those of us who have also gone through this experience to know we are not alone in our experience and know that we are not ‘crazy’.

  • Thank your for writing this. I have not related to an article this much in a long time. This makes me feel more normal and less hard on myself. A little more understanding of my own emotions that I’ve struggled so much with.

  • Thank you for posting! I just had my second miscarriage in a row, the first in January, new pregnancy test positive in February and had the d and c April 1st. I was scared the whole time with the second pregnancy, and it turned out bad too. I’m not sure we will try again.I want to but we are so scared…

  • I did not have a miscarriage, but I had 7 threatening miscarriages with my first born. I found out I was pregnant on a Sunday but felt off about it…two days later, went to the bathroom and saw blood. Rushed to the OBGYN at 9pm at night, not knowing what we were going to find. We had not even received our blood results back to say how far along I was. Dr did scan, informed me I was 7 weeks along. I was given a course of hormones to try and stop the miscarriage from happening. Thereafter, had threatening miscarriage at 9 weeks, 11 weeks, 12 weeks, 13 weeks, 28 weeks. At 35 weeks, when I started bleeding again, I was given steroids in case of early delivery. Bleeding was stopped and by 37 weeks, baby was delivered by c-section because I just couldn’t take it anymore. The fear, the anxiety, the panic I felt whenever I had to go to the bathroom…it was terror, every single moment. I read your article and while I am lucky and had my son, and this is now 9 years later and I have my second baby, I could identify with everything you mentioned. I feared going to the bathroom, I was at my OBGYN every two weeks for a scan and later on every week, I would freak out over his movements or lack of, to the point that my OBGYN would just let me go to the hospital to hear his heartbeat. I was a wreck. I gained over 40kg in that pregnancy because I was too scared to move, to eat the wrong food (so I lived off potatoes and bread). It took me 9 years to get over the emotional trauma of my first pregnancy. My second time was easier, much much easier. We knew in advance that my body does not produce the right hormones to sustain a pregnancy so I started taking supplements when I was 3 weeks pregnant already. Being pregnant may be a wonderful experience for some woman but for me, when my daughter was born and I knew I would never be pregnant again, a HUGE weight lifted off of my shoulders that I did not even knew I was carrying.

  • Everything you wrote is so spot on. I lost two and am currently 20 weeks pregnant. But please, pleaSE don’t encourage women to go to the emergency room. TWENTY times!? That’s not normal and if you did have an abnormal pregnancy, you should clarify that. People should not go to the emergency room unless it’s a real emergency and being bervous about your baby is not an emergency.

  • I lost my baby in June of 2014. Still hurt and trying to conceive, still wondering if it’s even possible again. I honor you for writing this information and empowered other women who have lost their first born. My baby was 5months and 4 days due to insufficient cervical issues.

  • Thank you. Even now, with munchkin (over 3) I worry that something could happen! I was a late first-time mum with an mc at 7-8 wks two years prior. Your piece conveyed exactly how I felt, but add another -fear of buying anything for the baby as ‘bad luck’ and when we did buy a stroller, asking about the return policy…

  • Thank you for this. I have a 12 week scan tomorrow, the same appointment in which I found out I had lost my last pregnancy. It’s so hard for others to understand what I’m going through…now I know there are people who understand. Peace.

  • <3 I experienced a miscarriage this past February (my third pregnancy) and I do not know if I will move forward with trying to be pregnant again, in part due to many of these reasons. The fear and anxiety would just be too much. Love to all of the women to deal with loss and it’s emotional aftermath <3

  • Thank you so much for this. I have two angel babies and two rainbow babies. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and I was devastated, and when we got pregnant with our first rainbow baby, I had every single one these things happen. Then she was born big and healthy I attributed my first loss as a fluke. So when I got pregnant again a year later, I thought everything would be fine. Instead I miscarried again and was just awful, if not more, as my first. When I got pregnant again 2 1/2 years later, I had a hard time bonding. Every pain and cramp sent me running to the doctor, thankfully he was a saint for dealing with me. I felt like I never took a full breath my entire pregnancy until she was laid on my chest. But they are so worth it, and I will be going through it all again soon…Thank you.

  • So much yes! The only one I didn’t have was number 1 and I think that was because I was in a different relationship to the one in which I miscarried the previous year (we got pregnant more or less a year to the day after I lost my first baby!). As soon as I got the positive I was convinced I would lose him, I went out and bought him a toy that day so he would have something of his own as I’d felt terrible that I never bought my first baby anything as I’d waited as it was ‘too early’ then I never got to the right time ? this nagging feeling of fear and disbelief hung around the whole pregnancy, the worst time being after the sickness abated but before the movements started especially as I had a tiny bleed after sex (which terrified me and still impacts our sex life today) just before I started to feel kicks, we ended up playing for a scan as I couldn’t believe it wasn’t happening again. I actually remember when I finally gave birth being surprised I had a baby on my chest! I think even at that point I was subconsciously keeping my distance a little, I couldn’t believe till he was actually in my arms..!? then of course the terror of SIDS etc started.. He’s 9 months old now, strong and healthy and the smiliest little boy I know ?

  • I lost my 3 month old, first born son last year and 1 week later concieved his baby brother. I lost my mind and tried to bring him back. Thank you for writing this. I was very lucky to have found a compassionate doctors office because I had a hard time going through everything all over again. David’s baby brother was born on Christmas last year:) my last gift.

  • Thank you for this article, I wish I would have seen it when I was going through my own PAL. I lost my first 2 babies before birth and I still miss them everyday, even though I now have three, mostly healthy, beautiful children

  • This was exactly how i felt after i had a miscarriage a year and a half ago… During my pregnance after, I thought I was going insane getting really paranoid.. I now have beautiful 5 month baby girl and yes, it was amazing seeing her for the first time after she was born.. Although, every now and then I would still look back and wonder how my life would have been if I didn’t have that miscarriage..

  • Thank you for posting this. I have a six-month-old daughter, my second child after my first son was stillborn. There were very few pregnancy resources out there that talked about this, particularly the issue of still being jealous of other pregnant women! It helps so much to have these public conversations and normalize pregnancy and parenting after loss. It’s appreciated.

  • Thanks for writing this. I just had my first miscarriage with my first pregnancy a few weeks ago. It really touched my heart.

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