pregnant woman sitting in front of crib trying to connect to her pregnancy after stillbirth loss.
Being Pregnant Loss

Small Steps to Connect to Your Pregnancy After Loss

By Katie McClenny

Pregnancy after loss is no joke. I knew it wouldn't be easy to carry another child after our son Brody was born sleeping last April at 42 weeks, but I didn't realize just how hard it would be.

There are many, many, many difficult aspects of pregnancy after loss. What I’m struggling with lately is feeling more connected to this baby (Aiden). I’m not the only one either. I’ve found that my husband and our family are equally struggling with feeling more connected to Aiden after losing Brody.

It’s an interesting issue that I didn’t think would be a problem. I suppose on one hand it’s a good issue to have. I really thought my only concern would be if this child will be born alive or not. This new issue is showing the evolution from simple concerns to more complex ones.

It’s growth. Positive growth. It was questionable if we would even get to this point so I’m relieved to have new concerns.

Tips For Feeling More Connected

Now that we’re out of the first trimester, we’re allowed to buy things and do things for this pregnancy. I say "allowed" because you know you’ll jinx the pregnancy if you buy anything in the first trimester...even after loss we still try to follow “the rules”.

We are still superstitious, you know.

It was difficult after Brody died to stop buying baby things. You go from looking at every store for things you love, to avoiding those sections like the plague. It felt very strange to go back to these once familiar places and start buying things again. I think making purchases for Aiden really helped make this pregnancy and him feel real.

The first thing I bought was our favorite childhood journal. This journal by Promptly documents pregnancy through eighteen years old. We bought one for Brody and I knew I wanted one for Aiden. It was my first “faith purchase”. This is a purchase you make that shows faith that the pregnancy will work out.

Get Others Involved

From talking to my parents, they seem to feel the same way about having troubles connected or bonding. Shopping was difficult for them in the beginning too. When we started cleaning and organizing the nursery after we moved into our new house, I started making an inventory list. I sat down and took note of everything that we had. This included how many clothing items we have in each size, number of crib sheets, etc. This helped give everyone a direction of what they could buy for Aiden.

My parents were out shopping one day when I was on the phone with my mom. I mentioned something that we were looking for to put in the nursery and this gave them something to hunt for. It was a nice way to ease back into baby shopping. We’re a big shopping family, so this was the easiest way for us to naturally start believing in this pregnancy.

My grandma on the other hand has been a purchasing fool. She’s been buying like baby items are going out of business. We all should be a little more like her. It’s been encouraging to hear her excited about all of the things she’s gotten him. It’s almost like a competition to buy something before she can.

Change Up The Nursery

Clothes and sheets are great, but the biggest way I’ve found to distinguish the two boys is by changing up the nursery. I was never really a big fan of the way Brody’s room looked. There were a couple of ideas of what I wanted it to look like, but then all the ideas just smooshed together. I eventually hated it. I felt rushed to buy things and didn’t have a lot of money. Plus the room was smaller and we were renting so we couldn’t change much about it.

Now that we own our home we can do fun things like paint to really make it how we want. We went and chose a paint color this past weekend which was exciting. We also have a dresser from IKEA from the old nursery. To make it different for Aiden, but not go broke, we decided to paint it a new color and change the hardware.

It doesn’t take much to change a couple of things. These small changes feel big though and give personality to your new kid. The distinctions are a great way to help you feel more connected.

Channel Your Inner Buddha

Nine months is a long time to continually buy baby things. You’ll eventually need to find other ways to start feeling more connected that don’t include money. A free way that I found has helped me connect to Aiden is by responding to his kicks. When I feel his movements I try and rub my belly to let him know I’m here and responsive.

I read somewhere that babies reach out a lot in the womb looking for their mom. It honestly sounded like hippie bullshit, but what could it hurt? It’s helped me and he might like it too. I didn’t really touch my stomach a lot when I was pregnant with Brody, so this is something new that I’m bringing to the table.

Are You Feeling It Yet?

These aren’t major, life changing tips. They’re just a few practical things that you can do to help you start feeling connected. Go out and buy a couple of new things. Change up the nursery. Rub your belly. Do anything you can think of to acknowledge that this baby is a new, separate child. It might be as easy as just choosing their name. Having a name to call your new little addition is a great place to start.

Did you struggle with feeling connecting with a pregnancy?

Let us know in the comments below what helped you start to bond.

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