When you’re trying to get pregnant whether using fertility treatments or not, you’re usually familiar with “the wait”. It’s the period of time between when you last had unprotected sex or your insemination and the earliest date you can test. This varies a little bit depending on if you’re taking an OTC pregnancy test or getting blood work done to get your results. People doing the insemination process will be familiar with the 2WW. Let me tell y’all something, when we were first trying to get pregnant, I saw “2WW” on the forums and heard people talking about how excruciating it was and I was TERRIFIED! I was like, “what tf is a 2WW?!!!” Later found out it means “2 week wait” and the reason it’s so excruciating is because there’s really nothing you can do during that period of time. You literally just have to… wait. While you’re waiting, you may wonder, “was that a twinge of nausea?”, “do my boobs feel sore?”, “am I sleepy because I’m tired or because I’m making a human?” or “did I just eat that big mac because I wanted to or because: pregnancy cravings?” You can drive yourself crazy and even if you become a master at managing the crazy during that time, those last couple of days before your test can make you completely lose it!
When you’re waiting for your results, you’re hoping for good news. I’m sure we’ve all been on pins & needles waiting for the “you’re pregnant!” call from the doctor’s office. Sometimes you get those results you want, sometimes you don’t but either way, you kind of have an immediate plan in place for what to do next. Either you can start trying again as soon as your period goes off, you set up your first ultrasound or you decide to move to the next step of your fertility treatment plan. This isn’t really the case when you’re trying for another baby after the baby you lost. When you haven’t lost a child, you still have all the hope in the world that the next try will work and be glorious. When you have lost a child, fear and apprehension can cloud up even the sunniest of days.
The children you have after the child(ren) you lost are sometimes called “rainbow babies”. That’s because they’re the children that come after a storm. Can’t have rainbows without rain, right? The time in between the storm of losing your little one(s) and the beauty of the little one(s) that come after can be one of the most painful, challenging, distressing, confusing waits of all. Do I want to try again? Yes. Ok, am I ready to start? …yes…? Is my body ready for me to start? Idk. Why do I still feel so sad? Will I love another baby as much as I love the one(s) I lost? Will I forget about my angel baby? How do I make sure my rainbow baby knows about their angel sibling? Will others forget about my angel baby? Is my body ready to try this again? I’m terrified, will I be able to carry this baby to term? There’s so much that can go wrong, what should I test for? Is this worth it? Will I ever get to be a mom again? And the list goes on.
In addition to all the questions you’re asking yourself, your body is doing whatever it’s going to do and you literally have no control over it. Maybe you’ll have a random sneaky red spot every now and then but then, nothing. Maybe your period is nowhere in sight and you’re ready to call the doc. Even if our minds tell us something different, the body knows.
Here’s a few things I’m trying to do to help prepare for when my body tells me “it’s time to try again”:
- Journaling – write, audio tape or videotape yourself through the process. It’s important to document your feelings and process them even if it’s just with yourself.
- Talk to your partner, friends or family – having support in all of this is key to healing and not dragging everything from the past into the present.
- Compartmentalize – ugh this is hard but TRY to see the next ttc (trying to conceive) experience as its own separate thing. New pregnancy, new experience, new baby.
- Try to visualize the new experience – meditate on it actually. This is hard for me too because I only have one birth experience to reference so whenever I think about birth, I think of seeing little Aviva & Jora. I’m actively working on imagining myself more pregnant than I was and with children running around so I don’t have a point of reference; just a new hope.
- Take care of your body – there’s very few things you can control when it comes to this pregnancy thing but trying to stay in good physical health is one of them. Do a detox, step up your physical activity, make good food choices, get massages, etc. Do things that will help your body get into the best condition possible in preparation for your next try. It usually will help and if nothing else, endorphin’s make you feel awesome!
- Make a plan – make a plan for what you will do differently the next time you’re pregnant. Make a plan for who you’ll tell, when you’ll tell, what you’ll do differently with your doc or midwife, what you’ll tell this child about their angel sibling, what you need/want from others in your circle this time around and what you’ll do for yourself to manage any anxiety that comes up.
- Incorporate some of the things you did the first time around – I know that sounds a bit contradictory to numbers 3 & 4 but hear me out. When you were less worried about losing a baby, you thought up names, thought about places to have a shower, thought about who you’d want to be godparents/spirit-parents, etc. Do that this time too. If you’re like me, the names of your angels are always ready to roll off your tongue and you probably put a lot of thought into the name you eventually gave your baby. Put similar energy into the identity of the next little one because even though they will have angel siblings, they also deserve just as much of the love you had reserved for the ones you lost.
As you wait for your rainbows, I hope this helps with the process. If you focus too much on how bad the storm was, you can miss the beauty that comes afterwards. You need both to appreciate it all. Sending <3 and healing.