Pregnancy after loss: Second trimester – is 'excited' the right word?

Pregnancy after loss: Second trimester – is 'excited' the right word?

This post is the second of three trimester posts I have written during my second pregnancy. Yesterday's and tomorrow's posts are from my first and now third trimesters, respectively. For my fellow pregnancy-after-loss parents – current, future and previous – in hopeful solidarity. 

"Are you just so excited?"

I've heard it multiple times since Joe and I announced this pregnancy, from very sweet people who are very excited for us. I hope they aren't offended or thrown too much when my honest response is, "Yeah, sort of. It's a mix."

I couldn't be gladder to be pregnant. It feels like a relief and an incredible gift. Every day pregnant is a good day, better than any day before I got pregnant this time around, and I give thanks for that every night. But pregnancy, if we're being honest, has its challenges and anxieties in any circumstance. Gratitude doesn't negate the challenges, and loss can amplify the anxieties.

I've been here before. There's no pregnancy milestone I didn't reach with our son Nate, who lived for 30 hours after being delivered at 40 weeks, 6 days, in August 2014. And I don't like to make assumptions about outcomes – less so now than ever. I can talk about my tentative plans for maternity leave, my theoretical ideas about fall and winter plans and activities with a baby factored in, etc., but it makes me a little uncomfortable to do so. Because I've done it before. And the reality was that I went back to work a month to the day after Nate was born, not 12 weeks later. And I will never forget, when I was still on leave, seeing through our living room window the daycare provider walking up to our mailbox to return our deposit.

So am I excited? Yeah, of course. It's a hopeful anticipation, and a relief every Monday when I can count down another week toward my due date. Feeling the baby kick is as awe-inspiring as it was with Nate. I still won't walk down the diaper/baby food aisle at the grocery store, but I'm OK wandering through baby clothes displays, even if I'm usually not inclined to buy anything. I'm hesitant about taking a baby-care class again, but I don't remember how to swaddle and I could use a refresher on car seat installation. I get teary sometimes imagining holding this baby in the hospital, and I wonder at getting to take him home, but I don't linger there for too long, either.

If I don't display unbridled enthusiasm about this pregnancy – or if I try to change the subject when conversation turns to anything postpartum – then so be it. I'm OK. We're OK. We're just taking it day by day. I'll have more than enough joy to show off, I hope, come September.

• Christine LaFave Grace works as an editor and writer.

PREVIOUS COLUMN: Pregnancy after loss: First trimester – how it's different

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