Previa Alliance Podcast

Pregnancy After Loss

October 16, 2023 Previa Alliance Team Season 1 Episode 76
Previa Alliance Podcast
Pregnancy After Loss
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Hear Sarah and Whitney discuss how pregnancy after loss can be challenging and full of a range of emotions. From feeling like you are holding your breath every apt to grasping to know why to the answers that may not come…it can be isolating and hard. Listen in as Sarah shares her own experiences and Whitney discuss how she has helped her clients in therapy navigate this journey. You are not meant to walk this road alone.

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Speaker 1:

Hey guys, welcome back to PreviewLiance Podcast. This is Sarah and Whitney and we are so glad to have you here today. Now we are going to put a little bit of a trigger warning for this episode. It's an important topic to talk about. It's heavy.

Speaker 2:

Yes, it is.

Speaker 1:

So if you're not in the headspace, that's okay, take your time. Come back to this when you are ready for it Go to more of a hey Whitney, our toolbox episode and meet you where you're at. But today's is pregnancy after loss, what no one wants to talk about.

Speaker 2:

It's really hard because it's such a it's a weird dynamic because you're still grieving the child you lost and you're most likely anxious about this pregnancy and what if something goes wrong, especially if it's one of those like there was maybe a genetic disorder at play, things like that where there could be the possibility of it being reoccurring. So naturally, you're going to have that on your forefront. But you're also excited about this pregnancy and the possibility of it actually going to full term, to having that baby, to coming home with baby. So you're going to have a lot of coexisting, conflicting emotions with this.

Speaker 1:

Totally. You know our first pregnancy was with Ava. I've talked about this before. We lost her at 13 weeks and it shook me, right it was. It took away every cause I think you go into pregnancy, you know, especially cause we didn't have any trouble getting pregnant with her. It wasn't a surprise to be 100% real and a welcome surprise, but I mean so we didn't. I think if you walk infertility right, you know it's not happening. So a little bit of that bliss, joys already taken from her oh absolutely so in my case. How I felt was it happened? Right, you think it's like in the movies, or you hear it in the songs. Okay, next thing you know you're pregnant. Yes, okay, so I had that, and then I didn't even really know about miscarriages. Even though I'm a nurse.

Speaker 2:

But that was never your field of nursing.

Speaker 1:

No, it was never that I mean. You heard about it, but people didn't talk about it.

Speaker 2:

It seemed rarer than what it actually is.

Speaker 1:

Right. And then I think to me, I was like oh, I got to 13 weeks mark checkbox.

Speaker 2:

Like I'm good, we're good, we're safe.

Speaker 1:

So when it did happen it took me into this world of now. I know bad things can happen.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it makes it more real.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So then when I got pregnant again, which we struggled to get pregnant again with Will. I had a whole new roller coaster of motions that I didn't know who to navigate that with. Yeah, because like you know, it's like you. It felt uncomfortable to talk about the loss for a long time for me.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I'm sure.

Speaker 1:

And then if people would bring it up, I would just like either ball or just dismiss it. Yeah, it was one of the two. So then when I was pregnant again and I should have been in therapy, but let's also look at how different culture was back then, exactly Six years ago, and you know, I didn't even want to share honestly how I was truly feeling with anybody. And so I remember when I got the positive pregnancy test with Will post loss, I had like such conflicting feelings, Like I didn't want it to be real.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but.

Speaker 1:

I did, and then everybody I shared it with. They were really excited, clearly, but they're like are you excited? And it's one of those. Again I was, but I was so afraid to lose this baby again. Yeah, I held my breath.

Speaker 2:

Oh, for sure yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know, and it was just one of those very conflicting feelings that you know, we have this a lot in motherhood, where you worry, or you're afraid to lose, or you want to protect this child but you can't, and then you want it and you're afraid to want. So you know, that was a very we didn't tell a lot of people.

Speaker 2:

It was like you had to protect yourselves.

Speaker 1:

We didn't tell a lot of people. I hit it, you know. Oh, I'm just not feeling great. I ate something wrong, pretended. You know, if I remember, when I went to this barbecue, somebody offered me a drink and like, I had the drink and I just passed it to Bill and you know, and it was no-transcript, and at hindsight, now we can't have no more babies. Baby James took the uterus. Situation, that's right. But I think I would be a little bit more open, like hey, yes, I am pregnant, I am very cautious, yes, but it took me a lot to get there.

Speaker 2:

And you might still be cautious in who you let into your circle about that People who you know. If you told I had another miscarriage, they're gonna be there for you, as opposed to asking questions of well, how did this happen?

Speaker 1:

What was?

Speaker 2:

your first symptom and I get people want to know the why, because if we know the why we think we can fix or prevent.

Speaker 1:

Or they just wanna, like, give you a reason of you know and oh my gosh, let's talk about that for a second the what people say to you post miscarriage, post pregnancy, after miscarriage, right, like, well, it was God's will or there was something wrong with the baby, there's a reason for everything you know, or at least you're pregnant again, yeah or at least you already have a child.

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, I mean it's like At least you made it to your 20 week scan this time. Oh my gosh, yes, and they it just it's unintentional gaslighting, and that those are good examples of toxic positivity. Yes, Because that's really a buzz word or buzz phrase right now. And people I want to give them benefit of the doubt they mean well and they don't know what to say, so they say things that are toxic positivity and really and truly that can make a mom feel like okay, so what was? Yeah, what was the good that came out of my miscarriage? Because I don't have it. I don't see it and I'm broken and I hurt inside. Yeah, what was the plan? What was the purpose in all of this?

Speaker 1:

Because I can guarantee I was already struggling personally with God of asking why.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know, so I didn't need anybody to try to make it worse for my questions. Yeah, put some gas on the fire there, you know I was already looking around saying, well, why did she get her baby? Yeah, and I didn't. I mean all those ugly kind of thoughts that like-, but it's reality, it's reality. That hit me. And then there was a level. I've been pregnant twice after miscarriage. So with Will was post miscarriage and James was post miscarriage pregnancy. Both times the level anxiety that I experienced.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's next level.

Speaker 1:

Next level, to the point of sometimes I would not want to go just to pee because I'd be afraid I would see spotting or blood when I wiped. And so that basic when you gotta go a lot, when you're pregnant too. Yeah exactly Activity became a huge anxiety trigger to me. Yes, and I remember I tried to say it to Bill one day and he didn't get it. How could he? Yeah, but I said it to one of my friends who she had experienced a miscarriage before and she was now pregnant, and she was like, yeah, like I 100% felt that way. And then you know you don't want to go into your OB's office and be like, and they're like, how are you?

Speaker 2:

You're like, well, you know I'm a mouse, I'm an age test Every time.

Speaker 1:

I go to the restroom or every Twitch I think I'm losing the baby and it was interesting. So with James I did have a large amount of spotting. One night it was like 22 weeks. We went to the ER and I remember calling my parents hysterical and saying it's happening again. I can't lose another one. And I was. That drive, that 10 minute drive to the ER Was in eternity Internity. I felt like out of body experience yeah, and he was fine. Everything ended up okay, but I just it was. I don't wish that upon anybody and I just I think that's core of it is it stills your joy and bliss.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, Well because, again, you actually do have a reality of what can happen, and while I have never experienced child loss or miscarriage having worked in L and D for nine years I have seen that, so the reality was very real to me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you knew.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I knew I had seen it. I had talked to moms. I had held moms who were grieving the loss of their child throughout multiple points in pregnancy.

Speaker 1:

And that's so hard too, is that's not spoken about enough? Is that you know people much later on in pregnancy will have these losses and reoccurrent losses and it's uncomfortable, as I felt at first, to talk about early loss.

Speaker 2:

You know, I feel like those moms really get a different level of Shame and grief that they feel and gaslighting, and it's just an uncomfortable conversation Because again, oftentimes and I want to say more so in the south but I've only lived in the south, so I do have a bias there where, if it's a later term pregnancy loss, we automatically put blame on mom. What did you eat that you shouldn't have eaten? Did you live something that you shouldn't have lived? Did you work too many hours? If you were in the car accident then, did you not break in time? And all of those things. Because again, especially when it's tragedy, we always try to find the why and the people end up blaming. Correct. And that makes it so much worse for mom, because not only are you dealing with grief in that whole arena, right there with depression and anxiety and anger. When someone blames the mom, they're already blaming themselves.

Speaker 1:

I was going to say I'm just going to be real 100%. I already went through my head of everything I could have possibly have done differently.

Speaker 2:

The guilt is there, and so when we also have it from external sources, then it honestly validates our fears. And so, that being said, to the mom's listening, you didn't cause your baby's death. You didn't cause your baby's death. Now, when we talk about pregnancy, after loss, you are going to have those coexisting, conflicting emotions. You're going to have excitement but also anxiety, and I had denial, I mean I had denial.

Speaker 1:

I was even pregnant sometimes. I refused to acknowledge it completely at times with James. I just didn't speak about it. I had a couple of points of friends would be like how far are you, what's the update? And I'm like I'm okay, I'm fine, I'm not very surface level Surface, and I knew that these people would be there to support me. It was my core. Honestly my core group of friends. I did this to the ones that I picked me up before. In many situations I just didn't acknowledge it, and even to my parents I'd be like, oh, what do you need? I'm like, well, it's okay, We'll figure it out. Or I didn't want to go ahead and really get the car seat ready.

Speaker 2:

Well, you were trying to protect yourself, because if you had lost him?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

If you had started bonding or really started accepting it, it would have hurt more 100%. That was probably your mentality. So it's like, well, if I just kind of pretend it's not there, it won't hurt as bad as you know if I do lose him.

Speaker 1:

And I mean, that was exactly me and I even told someone. I was like I think this is just how I'm coping. Yeah, so it is. So it was a mixture of extreme anxiety because I'm not going to lie Every time we went in for an ultrasound, which they would say my physician at that time she was incredible of being like Sarah, If you feel like, if you're really anxious, if you're having a hard day, call we can Doppler, we can do. I had a lots of ultrasounds. Yeah, I had a very, very thought that I had a at home Doppler. I don't know if that honestly helped my anxiety or made it worse.

Speaker 2:

I was going to say I feel like this can be a double-edged sword.

Speaker 1:

But I sometimes had to go back to my positive affirmations of I am pregnant in this moment. It's okay, I took it day by day, but I think if you're supporting a friend, a loved one, if it's you who's going through this right now, I think it's just you have to sit in the uncomfortableness that the emotions are going to be different moment to moment, day to day.

Speaker 2:

Yes, absolutely. And it's not just you. No, it's normal, because you are still grieving. Grief never really ends.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

There are times where our grief journey feels easier some days than others.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Maybe it's not as prominent, but it's still there. 100% Grief never ends.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so that's something I want to encourage you, mom, is to be aware of your grief, for your miscarriage never ends. Your excitement for subsequent pregnancies doesn't mean you don't love the child you lost. It means you're excited and hopeful for what is to come. You are allowed to feel that way. You are allowed to embrace this pregnancy. It's okay that you do that.

Speaker 1:

I needed witness my therapist during that time. No, I mean, I highly suggest if you've had a loss or you're pregnant again or you know, it's just struggling therapy yes. To have that safe space, because I felt like I couldn't constantly talk about it to Bill. I couldn't constantly talk about it to my parents.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I couldn't talk about it to my friends because you didn't have a safe space.

Speaker 1:

You didn't have a safe space and, honestly, god love them all. Yeah, they didn't know exactly what I needed to say or hear and it could just turn into a whole disaster for us. And I will say I was not okay with Will or James until I helped them. Yeah, and I've had other moms say that to me too. I had to hear that baby cry. I had to hold that baby and say, okay, we made it Exactly.

Speaker 2:

And.

Speaker 1:

I think even if you have a super high risk pregnancy diagnosis and you've never had a loss, or you just know like someone gives you a really scary prognosis, you hold your breath.

Speaker 2:

I was thinking that with my second pregnancy, because we started out with the sister up during five weeks and I thought it was that topic. Well, as soon as I got through the first trimester, we announced we were pregnant, and then it was a girl. At the same time, about three weeks later, covid hit. Everything shut down. I was working in the hospital at that time during the PPE shortage. You're like this is great, it was fabulous. Really, just zero out of 10 stars. Don't recommend a pandemic pregnancy when you work in a hospital, and so going through that, I was constantly worried am I going to get this scary virus and all of those things. And I remember when she was born, I was like you're here, you're actually here, you're safe. Oh, thank God. Yeah, like I could actually breathe a little bit then.

Speaker 1:

And to our moms who keep having really a current loss and we still don't have the baby that's a hard you may, because people talk about the rainbow baby right.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

But sometimes a rainbow doesn't come.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that's really hard, and that's the thing too. Give yourself space to not accept that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, right, because it's like people forced down certain things on us Because they want it or they want you.

Speaker 2:

To be okay with it, yeah, but ultimately you may not be correct and, honestly, it's okay that you're not okay and I think that we shouldn't force ourselves to be okay.

Speaker 1:

And that's like what we've been. You know, we go back to childhood, we go back to our generation right, yeah. Every kind of just wants us to smile and push through it. Yeah, and I think child loss and that desire for a child, yeah, it's engraved in oh women.

Speaker 2:

And well, and I think grief is a whole, not just specifically infant loss, but grief is a whole. We kind of just expect people to bounce back as Soon as the funeral is over. Yeah, it's like, okay, it's not we gave our casserole dish.

Speaker 1:

You know I've came to the funeral. Okay, Whitney, next week you should be back to normal conversation. It's like no, this is a roller coaster and you know Whitney's every nose has had some loss. Last year was really hard. Yeah, you know, even now I know with you personally there's holidays or events the firsts that You're gonna have with these losses, with your you know you probably see losses is you're gonna know. I mean I still know the dates. I lost, both miscarriages and those days I still get. Oh yeah, it gets hard on Holidays. I still think I should have four stockings instead of two. I Think that she would be six, I think you know all the things like you do with your loved ones. That's class, right. So the hard doesn't go away In it and you're not supposed to make it go away. No, you're supposed to kind of learn to ride that waves of it and again therapy, and I Just think it's messy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, and there's a really great Instagram page called nurse Hadley. She's a hospice nurse and so she, you know, talks about different experiences that she's had as a nurse, and One video she made was such a great description of grief. She drew a box and she drew a big ball inside of it and a button, and that button is grief. So when our loss first occurs, that ball is really big. Yeah it were it takes up, we'll say, 90% of that box. So it's hitting that grief button constantly, constantly, very regularly. Well, as life goes on, the ball Doesn't get smaller, but life gets bigger. So the box grows. The ball actually stays the same. It's still bouncing around in there. It's still gonna hit that grief button. Yeah, it's gonna hit that, just maybe not as frequently, but every time it hits that grief button it feels like it did in the beginning, and that's normal. But when we look at it in terms of miscarriage and child loss, we have lots of buttons. Tons of buttons and we have lots of buttons for each one, and so Just knowing to expect that gives us a little bit of control back.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean because we can be prepared. It's just To the moms who this is just like, you're like, this is me, you're not alone in it. Yeah, hopefully, what you've heard us kind of just say in our experiences and what to expect that it just won't go away and that you can have extreme joy with the children you have or the baby you have right now or Pregnancy and still we really devastated and miss those pregnancies in children oh yeah, both can coexist. It does not mean that you do not love the living children as much or that you know and I'm gonna say this too, because people have this jaded perspective Just because you have a living child after a loss, it does not replace that child that you lost.

Speaker 2:

It's not a replacement, no it is not a fix.

Speaker 1:

All it is not this band-aid like trading out cars and people try to sometimes look at it that way because it's uncomfortable to them.

Speaker 2:

Oh, yeah, well, and it's one of the few analogies that our human brains can wrap around.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

But it's not a replacement.

Speaker 1:

No, so it's never meant to be and your heart is gonna have these spaces and I'll never forget. I had a lunch with a really good friends mom and aunt and I was telling her just about the podcast, I was telling her about Previa, and she had this look, and I mean this woman, she's in her 70s and she said I, I lost two children along this journey and that pain in her eyes, still there as fresh, brought my pain up just as fresh and we had that moment and I just like grabbed her really quick because I didn't know what else to do and just gave her a hug and I was like it's, and she's like it's still hard.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, not only do we lose the child, yeah we lose all of the hopes and their dreams and the memories that we thought we were going to create with them yeah we lose that, we lose a lifetime yeah with that person.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, totally. And so here we were in this taco restaurant, both just like about to break down and sob, you know. And then here we go, just since also can fix some things you know, and but, it was a great. I was ready for it. It was a just reminder that If you can find that safe place of that person who's experienced it and got it- and there's great support groups and therapy. But just know it's a journey and that's our message is that we are here for you and it's a hard conversation, but hopefully this has shed light into how you're feeling and giving you some acknowledgement and you know what, if you don't want to talk about how you're feeling, being pregnant or lost in somebody this episode and say this is all the things I'm feeling and going through, yes, because they probably don't know how to best support you- I don't, and you know for anybody listening who is a support person who has not experienced this.

Speaker 2:

It's okay that you tell that person that you don't know what to say. Yeah but that you want to be there for them and that's that you may not have words, but you can be there and that's you know.

Speaker 1:

Honestly, I hide, the best people who were there for me was when I wanted to talk about it, I talked about it with them, and when I didn't, they didn't push me exactly. They didn't you know. I mean, they knew what I was triggered by come on now. You know we need to, we need to point out the elephant in the room you know, but we're always here to have these conversations to hopefully make you guys not feel alone. All right, guys, till next time, see ya Returnal. Mental health is as important as physical health. The previous podcast was created for and by moms dealing with postpartum depression and all its variables, like anxiety, anger and even apathy. Posted by CEO founder Sarah Parkers and licensed clinical social worker Whitney Gaye, each episode focus on specific issues relevant to pregnancy and postpartum. Join us and hear how other moms have overcome mental health challenges, as well as access tips and suggestions on dealing with your own challenges as moms. You can also browse our podcast library and listen to previous episodes at any time. Please know you're not alone on this journey. We're here to help.

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Understanding Grief and Loss