Sunday, 11 March 2012

Every Pregnant Woman Worries

A week or so back, I wrote about my experience of entering the world of normal pregnant women. It's been a deliberate choice for me, this attempt to act like a normal pregnant woman. A part of my efforts to fully embrace this pregnancy and this baby. My way of trying not to dwell on the fear and sadness that has carried over from my loss.

As my belly grows and I'm obviously pregnant I have realized that I'm here in this world, like it or not. Even though I felt like I had chosen it and therefore had some sort of control over it, I am learning that this is in fact not the case. People see me as a normal pregnant woman because like all other Baby Loss Moms, I don't walk around wearing a sign that says, "My last baby died." **Side note, maybe this would be a good idea. Kind of like people who have those, "My other car is a Porshe,"stickers. We could have, "My other baby died,"stickers. 

It's a tricky path to navigate, this pregnancy after loss thing. I've tried to be honest when people ask how I'm doing. Mostly I tell people that I'm super excited and super scared as well. As I tell this to more and more people (most of who know my history) I'm noticing a trend in response. I keep getting told that what I'm feeling is normal because every pregnant woman worries.

Really? My fear of losing another baby is normal because every woman worries about this?

I'm not trying to say that pregnant women don't worry about complications. I didn't worry at all after my 20 week scan but in hindsight that was just plain stupid. I am not trying to negate the fact that no pregnant woman wants her baby to die and the thought of anything going wrong would fill them with fear. But is my fear and worry really exactly like theirs?

Their fear is all in the abstract. What would happen if something went wrong? How would I cope? What would I do? Most people when they hear of a stillbirth would say that they don't know how they could get through it. They are scared, yes... but what they are scared of is unknown in practice.

For me, losing a child and living through stillbirth and it's aftermath is not the unknown. It is the harsh reality of my experience. I do know what would happen if something went wrong. I do know how I would cope. I do know what I would do. I know exactly how it all feels, and looks, and smells.

My fear is not that it will happen to me, but that it will happen to me again.

So in my opinion, my fear while similar to that of other normal pregnant women, is not the same at all. It isn't normal to be afraid of having another loss, it's sad and tragic. Because most people don't have any loss. Yes they are afraid of loss, but it never touches them in a real way. 

My fear (and that of all BLM's) is raw. I have a gaping wound that has barely begun to heal, and I'm scared of ripping it back open again. To fall back into the fog of grief and despair. A fog that I'm still working to find my way out of. It's a fear that I try desperately to suppress, so that it doesn't take me over.

I am sure that these women are just trying to be helpful, to make me feel a bit less neurotic. But it's really not the same thing, and I'm getting tired of smiling and agreeing with them when they say it.


  1. I have found that everyone always tries to be so helpful and I'm sure those who said this to you were trying to be helpful but they probably haven't lost a baby themselves :). I lost my second child when he was 4 days old and through my entire pregnancy with my daughter and up until the point of complications with my son I was very naive. Sure I thought about things that "could" happen but honestly it just never seemed possible. Now I have not navigated through a pregnancy after losing my son but I think this is an amazing post and I think that your fears are very justified. BLM's are super raw....and I think we are for the rest of our lives :)

  2. I get this feedback a lot too... My mom is the worst, and I know she's trying to protect me and assure me "it's normal" to worry, but it's frustrating because it's anxiety and nerves at a heightened level. Because while most pregnant woman are confident in their ability to birth a living creature and keep it alive, us blms are not quite as confident... Because the worse HAS happened, and we no longer feel removed from it all.

    It's hard, but certainly "blm normal" to worry.

  3. Agreed.... There is no way "they" can have the same worries as us. We know the reality of how hard it really is post loss, and unless you have experiened it, there is now way to grasp that and worry about it ot happening again. Yes, they may worry about health and safety, but they don't worry about "alive."

  4. I understand this so completely. It's an abstract concept to most pregnant women, but to us, we know the drill. We are in fear at all times that the gaping hole that has just begun to heal will, in fact be ripped open again.

    Now that B is here, I am still in fear that he will be taken away somehow. It's an awful understanding. Most pregnant women can breathe a sigh of relief that their child has arrived and carry on with their sing-song nature. I can't do that. I know too much. I'm scarred by my reality and the realities of all my friends who lost their children to cancer, disease, or SIDS.

    I often said it would be easier to lose another child than to gain one alive... because I knew how to handle that. As terrible as it sounds, it was a road well traveled... and not less.

  5. All those feelings are completely normal, but those of the BLM crowd are so mich more reality-based. I was a basket case the last 7 months worrying about my SIL's pregnancy...she was full of complications and just didn't seem to get how lucky she was to still be pregnant at all. My nephew was born Thursday night and being with him and holding him is helping my broken heart heal in ways I didn't think were possible, even as we fight to conceive our rainbow. My hubby, though, is still so traumatized by our experience that he is riddled with anxiety, nearly convinced that something bad is going to happen to baby Finn and take him away from us. This isn't normal for "normal" people, but losing our own babies puts us in the *other* camp.

    What would happen, I wonder, if instead of faking agreement with those who minimize your feelings, either on purpose to "help" or just because they don't understand, you pointed out that while the feelings are similar, they are not the same?

  6. Oh sure, I worried the first time around. But I never once believed it could really happen to me. This kind of anxiety is totally different. Yes, it's normal to worry given your circumstances--not that you're pregnant, but that you're pregnant after a loss. Wishing you the very best.

  7. My losses were way earlier than yours, and I already know I will not be one of those "normal" pregnant women. I can't imagine how anyone thinks that your worries are on par with the rest of the took so much more to get your baby here, and I don't think you will relax until she is safe in your arms. Do most pregnant women feel that way? I highly doubt it.


  8. I worried occasionally during my first pregnancy and then a little more during Gabrielle's pregnancy... but looking back on this 'normal' worry, it was a naive and innocent kind of worry - about the abstract, like you say. I can only imagine the worry during a pregnancy after loss... but it is definitely different to this 'normal' worry - so much more raw. Love to you and your darling little one xoxo

  9. You wrote this so perfectly. Your worries are NOT normal, they are concerns that unfortunately you have had to live through previously. They may be normal for a BLM but no normal pregnant mama has ANY idea what kind of fear it is to be pregnant after the worst has come true. Sending love.

  10. It's an idiotic thing to say, in any case. It should go on the list of what not to say to a grieving parent.

  11. I feel like our society is so quick to want us to "get over it" and look on the bright side or think positive. What often people don't understand is that what may be needed is to have my feelings validated and just be supported in where I am in my grief.

    No, your feelings and fears are not like any other pregnant woman, and to suggest otherwise is diminishing your story and your feelings. I believe that there is a bit of what I describe as PTSD that comes from losing a child late in pregnancy or after birth, and the world will never be the same.

    You are incredibly brave to be where you are and to acknowledge these feelings that you have. Please don't let anyone minimize them or marginalize them. This is not a contest of who is more fearful while pregnant, but if it were, the baby loss mama would win - every.freaking.single.time.

    Hugs to you as you work so hard to manage your grief, joy, fear and anticipation simultaneously.

  12. This used to drive me bonkers as well. "They" can only imagine. We KNOW.

  13. Just found your blog today (and I am following now) through the blog hop. Your post struck a chord with me. I did not lose a child and can not even begin to imagine how that feels. I did have a very difficult first pregnancy with lots of complications and a premature baby. With that said, I worried endlessly the second time around out of fear of the same things happening again without a happy outcome. I know,it is not the same but I get what you are saying when people mean well when they say things but it can still hurt and irritate you because they have never been through it.

  14. Their worries are not the same as ours...sure I worried the first time, but it was all worry that wasn't based on anything real...this fear is based on reality and reality is harsh.