You are currently viewing Episode 172 – Pregnancy After Loss: Changing “If” to “When”

Episode 172 – Pregnancy After Loss: Changing “If” to “When”

When you’re pregnant after a miscarriage, stillbirth or any kind of babyloss, it can be hard to wrap your head around this baby staying permanently. You know too much. You’ve heard too many stories.

But not being able to believe in a future where you get to enjoy your baby can be really difficult. You might even feel guilty about not being able to believe.

Don’t worry, in today’s episode I’m sharing all about how to change “if” to “when” in a way that feels believable and comforting. 

If you’re not Pregnant now, this lesson can be applied to any future goal you’re not feeling sure about. 


 Hey, what’s up? How are you doing? How’s everything going? We have Mother’s Day coming up. Uh, if you follow me on Instagram or if you’re on my email list, I have been talking about how I am going to do free Mother’s Day coaching. If you want to jump on that, do it now. You can just send me an email, Amy at smooth stones, coaching.

com and I will get you set up. I’m really just helping people to make a plan so that you don’t have to dread mother’s day. So you know what you want to do and how you’re going to do it and really kind of just taking that power back. It can feel really powerless when you don’t know what mother’s day is going to be like and it can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to.

I have been having just like. It’s weird to say having so much fun because it’s been really an emotional thing. The people that have come to Mother’s Day coaching, um, it’s been really tough, but also just such a beautiful time to Really just give yourself a little bit of time to make a plan and to be totally cared for, um, by someone who gets it.

I really feel like this is a privilege to be able to give this as a gift. So you want free Mother’s Day coaching? Stop right now. Send me an email, amy at smoothstonescoaching. com and I will get you all set up. Okay. It’s really easy. It’s simple. I will take care of everything. Now, on to our topic today. I, I really thought about this, like, I had the idea for the episode and then I was really thinking how do I want to say this?

So, I want to really just dive in, but Talk about how when you’re pregnant after a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or any kind of baby loss, it can be hard to wrap your head around this baby staying permanently. You know too much, you’ve heard too many stories, but not being able to believe in a future where you get to enjoy your baby can be really difficult.

You might even feel guilty about not being able to believe, but don’t worry. In today’s episode, I’m sharing about a story. How to change if into when in a way that feels believable and comforting now if you’re not Pregnant at the moment or you’re not trying or you’re you’re not going to be or whatever stage you’re in This lesson can really be applied to any future goal that you’re not feeling sure about So why should you listen to this?

I’m going to share what I find works best for believing in the future, whatever that is for you. Like I said, pregnancy after loss is a very specific time, but we all have things we want to believe in and we’re struggling to. So take these lessons here, apply them to anything you’re not feeling sure about, So let’s go back to when, when was easy A lot of people say they used to be naive and I don’t actually like that. Naive means having a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment. Now, this is accurate to a degree in that until we know baby loss, we don’t know baby loss. But the implication is that you should have. Like, you were stupid, you were deliberately uneducated because you didn’t care about your baby.

Uh, and, uh, You know, side note, in parentheses, loss awareness is a whole other subject I won’t get into right now. But the basics are we know we shouldn’t announce till 12 weeks for whatever reason just in case Something happens and we know we shouldn’t drink or smoke once we’re pregnant and no lunch meat.

No deli meat. No sushi In North America, that’s pretty much it. In some circles You’re taught to be wary of doctors and hospitals and all the interventions they may Offer with the worst case scenario being a c section That’s kind of the danger warnings that we have. Then you add in that human part of us that is aware of tragedies, but never thinks it will happen to you.

Look on the news any day of the week. There’s a shooting. We never thought it would happen here. There’s a fire. We never thought it would happen to our neighbors. There’s such a nice family. There’s a tornado, even in Tornado Alley. People are shocked that it was in their neighborhood, that it affected their family, their friends, their town.

This is just how brains work and part of it is because If the opposite was true, we would live with some crippling anxiety and not ever do anything. And some of you listening can relate because you have experienced this hyper awareness of danger after your loss. Part of gaining wisdom is starting from not having experiences.

So when we are entering motherhood, or young, or we’ve had healthy pregnancies before, of course we don’t know. How I want to reframe this for our goal of turning if into when is, you weren’t naive, you were certain. Naive is an adjective, it describes a noun. Certain is a feeling. It comes from within you.

It drives your actions. It’s going to influence the way you talk to yourself. When you’re certain, you don’t have all the what ifs floating around in your head. When you are certain you don’t even notice the absence of these thoughts. Think about something else you are certain about. Most of us believe the sun will come up each morning.

You don’t have to think about that. You don’t stress about it. You may look up sunrise times, but you believe them. You may complain about daylight savings, but you still trust that the sun will come up tomorrow because you are certain. Pregnancy before loss, you are certain.

Even before pregnancy, most of us think sperm meets egg and poof, nine months later, a baby. But people experiencing infertility will tell a different story. They were also certain with their plan until life went differently. So I want you to stop telling yourself you were naive or clueless or stupid or whatever version your inner critic likes to choose.

You were certain. You have a human brain that thinks it will never be you and there’s nothing wrong with that. Now, let’s jump to post baby loss life, our present reality. Our eyes have been opened to what can happen. We know too many ways and times. We know that babies can die. We know that lightning does, in fact, strike twice, three times, and more.

We know that bad things can happen at any point during pregnancy or after. The only thing we are certain of is how cruel life can be. To counteract that, our brain tries to ground itself. It thinks, if we don’t get too attached, then we won’t have to feel so much pain again. It wants to protect us. This seems like a good plan, a good way to find certainty, because it certainly isn’t going to let us get hurt like that again.

It becomes certain about uncertainty. It changes when to if, so our brain changes when to if if we’re not paying attention. I remember being pregnant just months after a full term stillbirth. Nothing happened during my pregnancy that indicated a problem until it was too late. My four previous pregnancies had been relatively uneventful, and even the one event I did have, which was a large bleed at 14 weeks with my fourth baby, we chalked it up to kind of a fluke, just something that happened, and then a miracle that she was fine.

We did not correlate any risks to future pregnancies. I was certain for five pregnancies. We also had quite a, well, a gap in between that fourth pregnancy and my pregnancy with Lauren. So we would have thought like everything was fine. Now, jumping into the future, I sat, after hiding my pregnancy for 19 weeks, at my computer, trying to pick the wording to our public Facebook announcement.

I couldn’t say, coming in April, or anything that sounded like it was for sure. I settled on, due in April. It felt true, but also, it was me trying to protect myself. Nothing felt promised, nothing felt sure, and it was all terrifying. So let’s take a moment and honor the part that is terrifying. You have experienced the death of a baby and the death of a dream.

You have likely had some trauma from that. Maybe a lot of trauma. It makes complete sense that the ground feels shaky during pregnancy after loss. Your body and your nervous system are telling you that they need attention. What most of us try to do is to think differently. “Different pregnancy, different baby, different outcome.”

Now, if that works for you, great. Use it. But for most people, it really doesn’t because different thoughts or mantras or whatever don’t get to the root of healing your nervous system. It is in an activated state. It is on high alert for danger, and it has good reason to be. On top of the fear of death, you have a fear of certainty.

That feels dangerous in your body. We’ve identified that it’s coming from your experience, how your brain works, and the way you are thinking, but it’s a legit fear. So double fear. Then the twist is we also think: we should be more hopeful, more certain, more excited about what’s coming. So we shame ourselves.

We must be a terrible mother to not be able to connect with this new baby, to not be able to take the tags off the cute new clothes that your friend bought you. So we have this tug of war and it all just feels awful. If you’re thinking about something other than pregnancy after loss today as you listen, this could be about a goal you have for yourself.

You want to believe you can get there, but you’re not sure. It feels very out of control. Everyone around you says, you have it in a bag and it’s all gonna work out, but you’re not feeling it. Then you’re wondering, what’s wrong with you? Then you get the message that maybe it’s your doubts that are causing you not to succeed.

So you feel worse, more at fault, more confused, more miserable. We just bought a house in spring 2024 and it is wild out there. The market we are in is very expensive with low inventory, unavailable houses. Very few people are selling. New builds are known to be kind of sketchy. Interest rates are high and they’re so expensive.

so much speculation, like what’s gonna happen next. I wanted to believe that the perfect house was out there at the perfect price. That if I just stayed positive and open and kept letting God guide me that we would find the right place. But we looked at house after house and it was depressing. Nothing was fitting, everything was overpriced, I would get discouraged, and people would tell me, it’s gonna work out.

Some days, I couldn’t see it, and I would wish I had more faith in the process, in God and in myself. I knew I could choose to be happy anywhere. I knew we would find a place. I knew we would make it all work financially, but the unknown was super uncomfortable. What didn’t change was my belief in myself and my husband that if we set a goal, we would achieve it.

I still believed in a bit of magic.

And like I said, we did find a house. We’re currently getting it ready to move in. Um, everything happened, but definitely was a lot of unknowns and uncertainty getting there. So bringing it back around to the pregnancy after loss. Here’s where you can make those shifts from if to when, even without knowing the outcome.

There are some things out of our control, absolutely, but you can change your focus. Stop spending all your energy on entertaining the what ifs, and start believing that it’s just as possible that you will get what you want. Try to stay present. Right now, you are pregnant, and right now, your baby is alive.

If that changes, you’ll deal with it then. What is the downside to believing that your baby will be coming home? Again, your brain isn’t going to believe this on default. It’s going to think it’s dangerous. You have to be intentional. Because we don’t need to feel awful now in order to prevent potential hurt in the future.

You don’t need to choose uncertainty. You can choose certainty. You can choose the word “when.” This might be easier at different times, perhaps passing a milestone in your pregnancy, or if you have a great checkup, or really reassuring things happening that your doctor is telling you. And then other times it might feel completely unavailable to you.

All of that is okay. Remember, we’re just taking it one step at a time. There are no rules. Like, if you just can’t stop saying if, that’s okay too, right? It is all part of the process. But I just want you to know that this is a possibility because that’s what I’m here to do as a coach, right? To help you just look at things a different way and try different things.

So on the days you can’t believe you’ll bring a baby home, turn your attention to what you are certain of yourself, your partner, your resilience, your support system, your dreams and goals outside of babies, or maybe just your faith that the sun will come up tomorrow and that chocolate tastes good.

Sometimes we have to cling to whatever we can, but I’m going to encourage you to practice this. If you haven’t yet said “when the baby is born”, try it, whisper it to yourself, write it down. Tell someone you trust that you’re working on turning if to when. Listen to your heart. It wants to believe. It really does.

Even the scared part. It wants to love this baby. It wants to connect and dream. Check in and see what your heart says to you. The goal is never to be perfect. Let yourself be human. But part of being human is that indomitable spirit in the face of even the slimmest of odds. The part of us that gets up every time we fall.

The part that wants to finish the race. You can do this. You can change if to when if you want to. I’d love to help you. My Pregnancy After Loss Peace Program is custom made for the mama who wants to believe, but she doesn’t know how. I will show you and I will be with you every step of the way. Go to the link in the show notes to get some support.

I’ll see you next time.

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