Announcing Pregnancy After a Loss:Why Is It So Hard?
Getting and staying pregnant is not as easy as we were once led to think in 8th grade health class. If you have experienced a miscarriage, you might be hesitant to let others in on the fearful joy of your next pregnancy. Here are some reasons why it's hard:
1. Before your miscarriage you thought pregnancy equals a baby. But after your miscarriage you learned that 25% of the time that isn't true.
2. Eight weeks is a long time to be pregnant and when you miscarry, you are also losing the imagined future. You can also experience a resurfacing of grief around the time of the expected due date.
3. After a miscarriage you know the next pregnancy is not a sure thing. So you keep it a secret, often isolating yourself from friends and family- anxiously waiting until a time of “safety”. But after a miscarriage it is hard to feel like it’s ever “safe” again to tell, especially if it’s a later loss, in the second trimester.
4. You may have found ways to blame yourself for the miscarriage - which is rarely anyone’s fault. If you're blaming yourself, you may imagine that others are blaming you too.
5. A woman’s ability to conceive and birth children can be closely tied to our perception of our own womanhood. After a miscarriage, we may question this part of our identity, and that is not an experience that is easy to share with anyone.
A few things that might help:
1. As a perinatal loss specialist I encourage women to share the pregnancy with a few people who are close to them. If another miscarriage happens they’ll definitely want and need the love and support from their loved ones.
2. It is also important to work to memorialize the loss, which can include naming the baby that never was, or having a ceremony with your partner.
3. Postpartum Support International has a great list of resources for loss and grief in pregnancy.
4. Take your time. Sometimes it is healing to quietly be with your new pregnancy. You will know when it is time to share the news.
Allison Ramsey is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and perinatal loss specialist in the North Carolina and Washington State. She’s a member of Resolve, The Infertility Association and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Contact her to start feeling better.