I am a member of a group of women who have been through a miscarriage – about 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.1 However, the actual number is likely higher since many miscarriages occur early in pregnancy before a pregnancy is even known.1 It was my first pregnancy. Looking back on that time, I feel like I was so naïve. I lived in a veil of innocence and had no idea that a miscarriage was even a possibility. The four weeks I knew I was pregnant were filled with joy, optimism, and hope. And then my world came crashing down.
I felt so fortunate and blessed to get pregnant exactly six months after my loss. It was also the first cycle where we were ready to try again. Waiting for my rainbow baby was a beautifully challenging time. But I don’t think that the challenges faced during pregnancy after miscarriage are talked about enough by moms who have experienced prior loss.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage
Pregnancy after miscarriage is very emotionally taxing. My pregnancy was filled with anxiety. I was a regular in the therapist’s chair. I had a tough time convincing myself that the pregnancy would be healthy. Every day I struggled with those feelings and their toll on my mental health. I continued to take antidepressants during pregnancy, which can be a controversial decision. But after carefully weighing the pros and cons with my care team, we decided that continuing the medication was best for my unborn child and me. I put in a lot of work to keep my mental health as healthy as possible while managing many difficult feelings.
Every day I was terrified that something terrible would happen. I didn’t get much relief even when I started to feel him move. Using many grounding techniques and working very hard with my therapist helped me challenge the “what if” statements that frequently crept into my mind. I challenged them by stating facts: I felt the baby move only 30 minutes ago, my last ultrasound showed a healthy baby, and my bloodwork is excellent. It was not until he was here with me that I finally had some relief. I could not wait to meet, nurse, and hold him safely in my arms.
The Arrival of My Rainbow Baby
Meeting my rainbow baby was nothing less than magical. I remember everything about when my son was born—waiting for that first big cry, watching my husband hold him for the first time, the dimple on his chin, his perfect little eyelashes, and his teeny fingers and toes. He was more perfect than I could ever have imagined. I was so happy to have him safe in my arms. A baby was something I had longed for, for so long. He was healthy and strong, and it was truly love at first sight. Babies are a miracle, and my rainbow baby was even more of a miracle for our family. I stared at him constantly in those early days and have thousands of pictures of his first few months of life on my phone.
My son is now a toddler, and I still frequently ask myself, “How is he real?!” Every day with my rainbow baby gets better and better. He fills our lives with so much joy and laughter. There is no world in which the baby I lost could co-exist with my son, which was a hard reality to reconcile, but it got easier. Our son was the missing piece of the puzzle, allowing us to heal and move forward.
My best advice to a mom experiencing pregnancy after a miscarriage is twofold. First, I promise that the pain does heal and get better. And second, meeting your rainbow baby is the most magical experience you can imagine. So hang on to that hope throughout your pregnancy’s more emotionally difficult times.