Pregnancy after Infertility or Miscarriage
An emotional as well as physical adjustment
Leaving the comfort and familiarity of the infertility practice for the obstetrician’s office can also be stressful. Relationships with the infertility team are often strong and the thought of not seeing “your team” on a regular basis can cause sadness. You may feel uneasy about the “laid back” nature of the obstetrical practice. You and your partner should schedule a consultation early on with the obstetrician to discuss anxieties and the “precious nature” of the pregnancy. You may ask for increased office visits during the early months of pregnancy to discuss anxiety and expectations of the prenatal experience. In time, as you become familiar with the various staff members your comfort should increase.
Communicate and Appreciate
Frequent discussions with your partner about the excitement and anxiety of the pregnancy can help to normalize each other’s feelings. You might consider keeping a journal of the pregnancy experience to document the memories for yourselves and the future child. Allow yourself to accept invitations for baby showers and other celebrations. The benefits of allowing yourselves to believe parenting will happen is greater than any risk of “jinxing” the pregnancy.
Sometimes the fact you wanted to get pregnant so desperately will create a resistance to complain about the negative effects of pregnancy, such as morning sickness, weight gain, and stretch marks. The same hesitancy may exist when the baby is born and you feel you can’t express your frustration at lack of sleep and uncertainty with parenting skills. Remember that you are human, and it is all right if you don’t feel happy about every single aspect of pregnancy and parenting. Don’t set unrealistic goals.
Ultimately, the previous infertility experience can create an increased appreciation for parenting due to the realization that pregnancy is not a given. Evaluation of your motivations to parent throughout the course of the infertility experience provides you and your partner with a clear understanding of why you both want children and increases your abilities to enjoy parenting more fully.
John C. Jarrett II, M.D., is the co-author of The Fertility Guide: A Couples Handbook for When You Want to Have a Baby (More Than Anything Else).
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