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  • Writer's pictureDaria Bailey, CFCP

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me?: Mental Health After Loss



Maybe you have seen the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I think it is truly great we have a whole month dedicated to learning about mental health, how to help ourseleves and others cope with it, and I think it is significant in helping people know they are not alone. But I want to talk specifically about what this week, May5th-11th is for. This week is dedicated to Maternal Mental Health Awareness. Specifically this time is focused on educating people about the toll pregnancy after loss can take on a woman and couple.


If you. go back a year or so on the blog you can read my story and journey with loss. To sum it up, we lost 3 babies in miscarriage over a year and a half. Truly this time was one of the hardest times my husband and I have faced. But nothing prepared me for when I was able to successfully get pregnant again and everything looked to be "going well". Although this blog post is similar to some of the previous ones I have written, I feel it is an important topic to discuss.


"When you know so intimately what can go wrong,

it's hard to believe everything will be alright."- DOTTIE SODERSTROM


The first trimester is brutal when you become pregnant after experiencing loss. Those 12 weeks or so are filled with so much anxiety and fear. As most miscarriages happen in first trimester, about 80% of miscarriages, I was truly on edge every moment of every day. Any pain or pinch, pull or flutter I was so nervous something may be going wrong. I am not someone who wants to live in fear. I try my best to give all my anxieties over to our Lord in difficult times. In this circumstance I truly did not know how to do surrender all I was feeling. It is reported "Nearly 20% of women who experience a miscarriage become symptomatic for depression and/or anxiety; in a majority of those affected, symptoms persist for 1 to 3 years, impacting quality of life and subsequent pregnancies". I think it would be true to say I was paralyzed by my fear but at the same time consumed with correcting any issues that may have lead to my miscarriages.


When I finally was in my 2nd trimester I had thought the fear was going to disappear. I thought I was be released of the grasp on my heart and just relish in the fact we had gotten this far and our baby was going to be just fine. Unfortunately, this was not even close to the case. I don't know if the fear intensified or if it just pivoted, but it was definitely still at the forefront of my mind. 2nd trimester is when you are able to start feeling the baby move. You are feeling more energetic and that adorable baby bump starts to pop. Unfortunately this was not my experience. I was still so exhausted and filled with knots in my stomach everyday. I wasn't able to eat much because my stomach was such a mess from all the anxiety and stress. I seconded guessed if I could actually feel my baby move and if I did feel him move I would freak out if it did not instantly happen again. To say I was a bit irrational would be an understatement. When we went in for our anatomy scan I literally could not sit still, sleep, or eat for days leading up to the scan. I had convinced myself that there was going to be something very wrong with this baby and all my fears were going to come true.


Finally, I was in my home stretch, 3rd trimester was FINALLY here. I did start to feel some relief at this time, mostly because the preganancy was almost over. I was seeing the end of the tunnle of fear that had been consuming me for months. But then I developed what is called "Polyhydramnios (pol-e-hi-DRAM-nee-os): is the buildup of increased amniotic fluid — the fluid that surrounds the baby in the uterus during pregnancy. Polyhydramnios happens in about 1% to 2% of pregnancies."


Essentially what this condition did to me was expand my uterus to the size of a woman who is having twins and then my whole uterus was filled with a great excess of amniotic fluid. What this meant for me was I had a very difficult time feeling my baby move. I developed gallbladder issues from all the pressure being placed on my organs and overall I felt completely miserable. Not being able to feel my baby move on a reglaur basis sent me into a deep depression and anxious episode. You would find clutching my belly at all times. The last six weeks of my pregnancy I had to have repeat ultrasounds and non-stress tests to see how he was progessing and to make sure he was doing well among the extra fluid. At times I felt like I was a ticking time bomb. I felt all my hopes and dreams for this child could have been taken away from me in an instant.



Then came the day Caden Edward Bailey came into the world. It was finally time to hold my baby, to see him, to know he was safe. The c-section was flawless and our baby boy was comepletely healthy in every way. We were over joyed to have our rainbow baby in our arms. I felt relieved all the anxiety and fear could finally be behind me. Unfortunately all the fear came crashing back onto me the moment we brought our little boy home. I will say with my previous two babies I was a pretty chill postpartum momma. The sleepless nights and endless feedings did not really bother me. Crying fits and witching hours were just a part of the process. Honestly, I just rolled with it. This time around was very different and I was back to being consumed with all things that could go wrong. I did not let this baby out of my sight. we co-slept for the first time because I could not stand the idea of him not being right next to me. He lived in the baby carrier and I wore him on my chest everywhere we went. All the fear I felt when I was pregnant came rushing over me like a wave, but I was just stuck in it and did not know how to get out.


Going into this pregnancy I knew I was going to be nervouse and concerned, but never did I know how consumed I would be by it. And as time has gone on and after having a 4th baby and having a similar experience I can say, why did no one tell me this? Why didn't I even get a pamphlet or something at my first prenatal visit about pregnancy after loss? No one had said anything to me. Postpartum depression is something that has taken the world a long time to actually talk about and I feel like Maternal Mental Health After Loss is something we need to be talking about regularly as well.


If you need encouragement and support ask your doctor, seek help. Find a counselor to help you through this anxious time. Know you are not crazy and this can be very normal, you are not broken. I learned a lot about myself in this time. Mainly, I am not in control. God had a plan for our little boy. He knew all along he was going to be okay. If I could go back I would work every minute of every day to give over all my fears and anxiety to our Lord and never give up doing it. For He is a God of Peace and not a God of Fear.

Check out our other blog posts on infertility and pregnancy after loss. We want them to be uplifting and bring you a great deal of hope.





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