Coping With Mixed Feelings About Your Pregnancy After Previous Infertility or Pregnancy Loss

Worried Pregnant WomanIn our society, pregnancy is often idealized as a total “bliss.” Even early stages of pregnancy are celebrated on social media with postings of ultrasound pictures, invitations for gender revealing parties, and baby showers. While it is understandable that women want to share their excitement about their child-to-be, it can also creates a great deal of pressure on pregnant women if they feel they need to enjoy or be excited about their pregnancy all the time.

Pregnancy is not always happy experience, especially if it you have experienced infertility or pregnancy loss.   Rather than feeling joyful, you might feel anxious and worried that you may lose your baby at any time.  You may also be surprised to discover that when you finally get pregnant, you may not always  be as happy as you thought you’d be.

If you are pregnant after experiencing infertility or a pregnancy loss you may experience many of the following:

  • Feel different from other pregnant woman because you needed help to conceive or have previously lost a baby.
  • Feel anxious and anticipate a negative outcome
  • Hyper-vigilant watching for signs of impending miscarriage.
  • Mistrust your body’s ability to carry the pregnancy to full-term.
  • Worry excessively about the baby’s health.
  • Feel guilty for not being excited about the pregnancy.
  • Not believing that the pregnancy is real??
  • and Reluctant to bond with the fetus or baby after the birth because you fear losing it again.
  • Need a lot of reassurance and more frequent doctor’s appointments to ensure everything is ok.

If you can relate to any of the above, here are some suggestions that can help you:

TIPS FOR GETTING THROUGH YOUR PREGNANCY:

  • Identify Your Worries
    Pause identify what you are most worried about. Research shows that the simple act of naming your feelings calms the nervous system and regulates painful and difficult emotions. Naming your worries such as ” I’m scared of losing my baby” puts you in a better position to tame your feelings.
  • Know That Your Worries Are Not the Reality
    What goes on in your mind is separate from reality. Make a distinction between feeling afraid that something is wrong, and the reality that the baby is fine. It is important to know that your fears do not influence reality.
  • Accept Your Contradictory Feelings
    Be realistic. It is impossible to be happy all the time. Mixed feelings are normal-even for women who have not lost a baby before. You may be glad that you are pregnant now but still sad for your previous losses. It is normal to feel both excited about the baby and scared that you will lose it.
  • Acknowledge Your Loss
    New pregnancy can bring back memories of your earlier pregnancies. As the anniversary of your loss approaches, or as you are getting closer to the of the birth you may feel more sad and anxious. Allow yourself time to be sad and grieve. Don’t pressure yourself to feel excited.You may also need some time to be sad about all your losses or infertility treatment failures.   Every pregnancy is unique and this baby cannot replace the baby you’ve lost. So a good cry may be what you need once in a while.
  • Take Care of Yourself
    You can’t control the outcome of your pregnancy but you can take care of yourself and have a healthy pregnancy.   Eat well, sleep, and take breaks when you are tired. Engage in gentle exercise.   Try to reduce your responsibilities and don’t over schedule yourself.  Too much stress can compromise your pregnancy.
  • Allow Time To Bond With Your Baby During Pregnancy and After the Birth
    Attachment is a process, not an event. It takes time.   A women’s feelings toward her unborn baby or after the baby’s is often portrayed as a “love at first sight.” The truth is, moms   connect with their babies over a period of many months.It is absolutely fine if you do not have special feelings for your baby when you are pregnant or right after birth.   Lack of bonding with your baby during pregnancy or after the birth does not mean that you are a bad mother.   Try to get to know your baby better: when is she asleep does she move when you listen to music? Is she awake when you are engaged with people? Learning about your baby helps increase bonding.
  • Educate Yourself
    If you were diagnosed with a clotting disorder or incompetent cervix as the reason for any previous pregnancy loss, learn more about these conditions.   The more you understand your particular condition, the more in control you will feel and the more knowledgeable you will be when talking to your doctor about particular treatments.
  • Find a Sensitive Provider
    Find a doctor that is respectful and understanding of your worries and who is willing to see you more often.   Additional visits can be reassuring and can help you enjoy your pregnancy more. In addition to your regular doctor, you may even consider finding a specialist in maternal-fetal-medicine . That way you may be followed by two physicians at the same time.
  • Find Support
    Find a local support group for pregnancy after infertility or pregnancy after loss.
    You may also be able to find support online. Talking to supportive people that truly understand what you are going through will lessen your negative feelings and isolation. Social engagement is also a positive mood booster.
  • Seek Professional Counseling
    If you find yourself constantly worried and overwhelmed by your worries, it might be time to seek professional help.   A therapist with experience working with pregnancy related issues will provide necessary support and help you work through anxieties. You will ease your worries and enjoy your pregnancy more. You can also prevent postpartum depression and anxiety.

It is not your fault that any negative feelings associated with past infertility treatments or pregnancy losses had on you, but that does not mean that you have to endure the pain all the time. You have worked really hard to become a mother. You deserve the support to relax about the pregnancy and to be better prepared for your baby.

Call Dr. Irena for FREE 10-minute phone consultation to find out more about my counseling services at (281)267-1742.

Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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