Dealing with grief after the loss of a baby is not a universal experience for all parents. Some of us loss moms may need time to heal emotionally long after our doctors have given us the green light for baby-making sex.
I believe that recovering emotionally after stillbirth is one of the hardest things to do by a woman especially since her maternal instincts have already kicked in. And it is twice as hard if it was your first child, as Mark and I can attest.
After my first stillbirth, the ob/gyn told us that the chances of having another one were minimal with my current health and lifestyle. It was the first piece of good news after two weeks of atrocious mental anguish spurred by the death of our first child.
Such experience had left a hole in my heart that no one or nothing in this world seemed to be able to fill it. Until my second baby was born. But until I gave my rainbow baby the chance to enter the world’s stage, I had to pull myself together to do it and it was anything but easy.
Grieving your loss – Why is it so important?
After loss it is important to give yourself time to heal. I heard some moms rush into trying to conceive another baby head first. I guess, it is their way of coping with the pain and feelings of failure. But I guess I was not built that way.
I needed time to process the experience, and thankfully I had an understanding hubby by my side who hasn’t pressured me into anything. He was ok with us not having a baby ever again, which was a great relief for me after being crazy scared by those bone-chilling statistics about the high incidence of serial stillbirths after having your first one. We were lucky. But I guess giving myself enough to heal after the trauma has also greatly improved our outcome.
Walking through the valley of the shadow of death as a loss mom was not easy. I had to face all my inner demons, sometimes all at once. But I became a stronger person after the experience as I’ve learned one of the life’s chief lessons: to forgive myself. I was also able to build a deeper relationship with God, and learned to give myself permission to lean on Mark more and to no longer be ashamed to feel/ seem weak.
The loss of my baby was a sobering experience, filled with life-changing lessons I wouldn’t have been able to grasp even after living more than one lifetime. I was too much of a busybody before the big tragedy struck to let life be my guide.
The downtime brought by grieving allowed me to let both my physical and emotional wounds heal and to get straight with the world and God.
How soon is too soon?
Conceiving after loss should be done from a place of power, not from a place of pain and fear. Each parent is different and loss dads may need time to process the experience too, even if they might seem all bubbly and supportive. They need to be strong for you. It’s a man thing.
I used to snap at Mark for being so calm and even downright cheerful around me just a few weeks after our loss, but I wasn’t aware of this thought process. He was trying to cheer me up even though his heart was aching too. He disclosed that to me after our daughter was born.
It took him too some time before coming to terms with the death of our first baby. And sometimes that experience still haunts him too.
So, even if your doc says that you are physically able to give a new baby a try, if you or your partner don’t feel mentally prepared for it, don’t push yourself to do it. It is best for both you and the baby.
What is more, giving yourself the time to grieve your loss will give you the mental clarity to carry a baby to full term without complications. For instance, I admit that during my first pregnancy I should have paid more attention to pre-natal monitoring and self-care.
Oftentimes constant developmental evaluations play a huge role in making sure that the unborn baby will make it out of their mother’s womb alive and without life-altering complications such as the dreaded cerebral palsy. In our case, doctors told us that we did nothing wrong, but there’s always that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I could have done more to prevent the loss.
So, how soon is too soon? There is no a one-size-fits-all answer to this question as there are no two parents alike and loss experiences are very different. Even if for one loss mom or dad it may seem too soon, if you and your partner feel ready, just go for it.
Nothing matches the joy and renewed hope of holding that rainbow baby in your arms, and from this point of view, I perfectly understand loss parents who seem a bit too eager to rush things out.
Image credit: Isaac Quesada on Unsplash
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