Pregnancy After Loss


For many, pregnancy is a time when everything is special and exciting. But for those who find themselves pregnant after experiencing a loss, there is much more to the journey than meets the eye.

After we lost our son when he was born prematurely at 23 weeks, I did as one might imagine. I mourned, I searched for answers, and I waded through the unknowing. And because we did not have other children, I grappled with the fear of not being able to support a healthy pregnancy. 

We were lucky because we had doctors who were fairly certain of what had happened. I was diagnosed with “incompetent cervix.” I think “weak” would be a more fitting descriptor as it doesn’t generate an image of my cervix wearing a tiny dunce hat, but what do I know?

We were also lucky there was a solution: an outpatient procedure called a cerclage

Grateful to have been given answers and hope as part of our medical care, and I soon found myself pregnant again, this time with a little girl.

I’m sad to admit the joyfulness of seeing those two little lines were soon stifled. 

I knew another pregnancy would be trimmed with worry. The fear of something going wrong slammed into me with every symptom (or non-symptom). If I didn’t feel as nauseous as the day before, I was convinced a loss was on the horizon. Later, each small twinge of discomfort signaled my cerclage was failing.

There were times when my fears consumed me in the most unhealthy ways. Even with these fears being addressed by my provider, I still went to the ER twice to be checked out because I “just knew.” When everything looked fine, I was given temporary relief but also felt self-conscience of my alarmist mentality.

I knew and even expected to be fearful and worried like this: it’s what I do. It is perhaps what I do best. But what I didn’t know about, and certainly was not prepared for, was the downpour of conflicting emotions.

On one hand, I rejoiced. On the other, I still mourned. I wanted to celebrate, but my broken heart stopped me.

Guilt stemmed from it all: from not grieving enough or in the “right” way, to letting sorrow overshadow my excitement, to feeling utterly ungrateful for the prospect of bringing home a healthy babe. If I invested my love in her, it felt like I was siphoning it away from our sweet boy. If I mourned him too much, I was taking away from the presence and joy she deserved.

And how would I ever revel in each of her milestones knowing he would never reach his?

I tilted towards a different sentiment with every passing moment. And while her healthy birth signaled the end of my worry about my pregnancy, the emotional toggle remained.

And it renewed and remained for my next pregnancy, threefold. 

Pregnancy After Loss

If you share in this circumstance, I hope you will not be disappointed when I confess that I do not have a cure.

Each passing day and appointment during your pregnancy may bring a sigh of relief to your fears, but the emotional toll will probably remain. I don’t know that any of us are on our way to a finish line where we will find instant and sustained peace.

But I will offer you this humble advice: let yourself feel it all; all except for guilt. Carry grief and joy in both hands. Make room for mourning and celebration. Excitement doesn’t have to exist without longing. You don’t have to choose one over the other, but most importantly: you don’t have to carry the burden of guilt. 

There is no greater way to honor our children than to love them with all we have, and that love will manifest differently for each of them, whether we hold them in our arms or in our hearts. So I will cry and excite and soak in those precious moments and ache and laugh through tears and give thanks and yearn and fill up my cup, knowing it will spill again.

Because, you see, Mama hearts go on beating long after they’ve been broken, and I think we’ve earned the leave to not feel bad about any of it. 


  1. Thank you for sharing your story. Pregnancy after losses was something I was unprepared navigate and I wish more resources and similar stories had been available then.


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