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Pregnancy After Loss: How to Move Past Fear and Into Connection

October 26, 2016

Fulheart Family Support Founder, Heidi Lengel, shares her expertise and advice on coping with a new pregnancy after a pregnancy loss. You can ease into the reality and enjoyment of pregnancy loss with the right support, self-care and acknowledgment of the conflicting feelings that come with expecting a baby after a miscarriage.

“…the little grasses crack through stone, and they are green with life.” -Sylvia Plath

Pregnancy after (pregnancy) loss: Wow, what a state of being, a place to be! Moving forward and growing your family after a pregnancy loss can be a complicated, beautiful, heart wrenching, and wonderful thing. In this article, we’ll provide you with a few common experiences families go through, as well as some tools for personal wellness and connecting with your new baby. You are not alone in this journey.

Experiences common to both partners throughout subsequent pregnancies:

  • 1st Trimester
    Uncertainty about whether or not pregnancy will last
    Feelings of confusion and guilt over happiness
    Difficulty accepting reality of pregnancy
  • 2nd Trimester
    Difficulty bonding
    Difficulty planning for birth
    Getting past ‘the hump’ of previous loss dates
  • 3rd Trimester
    Accepting the reality of upcoming birth event
    Coming to terms with new life
    Embracing and letting go of the past
  • Birth
    Fearing a ‘repeat’ of the past
    Not being able to accept the gifts of the present
    Uncertainty about the immediate future

No matter what stage of your current pregnancy you are in, there are ways you can actively pursue a healthy pregnancy and connection with your baby.

  • Proper nutrition & rest
  • Adequate prenatal exercise
  • Identify support structures (therapist, support groups, religious groups)
  • Working to stay in the moment rather than worry about the future
  • Talking to and bonding with current baby in utero
  • Meditation, prayer, journaling
  • Stay connected with your partner & family throughout prenatal care
  • Emotional & physical intimacy with your partner
  • Identifying special significance in milestones or other aspects of the pregnancy
  • Harnessing positive cultural and religious/spiritual approaches to the pregnancy
  • Honoring the legacy and memory of all of your children as feels best to you

We hope that your pregnancy and birth are filled with beautiful moments of peace, clarity, and joy. And, we honor all of the babies in your family’s life. Here’s to you, babies.

Heidi-LengelpicHeidi Lengel, MMT, MT-BC, Certified Doula, received a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy from Temple University in 2004 and a Master of Music Therapy from Temple University in 2012. She specializes in the areas of pre and perinatal pregnancy & birth support, pregnancy loss, and maternal mood disorders. Heidi is board-certified through the Board Certification for Music Therapists (CBMT) and is a member of The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) as well as the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPAH).

Her areas of research interest include medical music therapy program development and best practice recommendations in pre and perinatal music therapy. She has presented her research and clinical work at regional, national, and international conferences.

Heidi is dually certified as a birth and bereavement doula (StillBirthday). She is also Vice President of The Philadelphia Maternity Network, a member of PALS (Philadelphia Alliance for Labor Support), a childbirth educator, and a passionate maternal mental health advocate. Heidi uses all of her knowledge, training, and skills to support women and families traveling through any pregnancy, expecting any pregnancy outcome.