Mom Talk: Navigating Parenting After Multiple Losses
Written by Kasia Grobelny
Photography by Casey Wiegand, Photographed By Kelly Christine Sutton
We’re back with another round of “Mom Talk”, where we invite some incredible mothers, from all walks of life, to share their personal experiences and journeys through motherhood, whether it be struggles, triumphs, or anything in-between—nothing’s off limits when it comes to topics. This week, Kasia Grobelny navigates the intense and raw emotions of discovering she’s pregnant after multiple miscarriages. -JKM
I had two miscarriages prior to the birth of my daughter, and then another after her arrival. I’m now pregnant again, but the ever-present anxiety and fear of “what if” remains.
To this day, I hesitate to declare “when” the baby will be born. I find it safer to keep my distance and stick to an ambiguous “if.” Because for me, a positive pregnancy test doesn’t automatically equal a baby. I envy those who make beautiful announcements just weeks into their pregnancy. And, I marvel at how they can feel so much happiness when all I feel is anxiety and dread. I don’t envision little fingers and toes anymore, but instead pray for one more day. Another day of a life growing inside me; another day hearing a strong, rhythmic heartbeat. There is hope deep in my bones that I’ll never again have to face a silent ultrasound or experience leaving the maternity ward without a baby in my arms or have to wake up in an operating room feeling drained of the life that had once been growing inside me.
Although dark in content, all my visions and expectations of pregnancy and childbirth have forever been altered. I know just how precious life is because I’ve lost it so many times. For me, pregnancy isn’t the glossy, joy-filled experience you so often see on social media. In fact, I never publicly shared when I was pregnant with my daughter, for I was too scared that something would go wrong again. Now, being pregnant for the fifth time, I again anguish over the decision to announce. Will publicly declaring my pregnancy somehow jinx me, I wonder? Maybe if I keep it hidden long enough, that will somehow help bolster my chances of carrying and delivering a healthy baby, I seemingly rationalize.
This time around, I can’t help but reflect on those past pregnancies that never came to term. I’ve suffered losses three separate times and each one has affected me differently. Unfortunately, there’s no guidebook for how, what, and when to feel. And, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a weird place to be. One day you’re pregnant, full of life, looking forward to meeting your child. And, the next day you’re not. You’re suddenly empty, searching for meaning where often no meaning can be found. There’s no how-to on what to feel when you get pregnant after experiencing loss, either. There’s also no guarantee that it’s the pregnancy that will work out. So, how are you to feel? Happy, yet sad? Excited, yet nervous? A complicated mixture of all of the above? You’re left to process your emotions in the best way you know how.
Navigating the loss of my first pregnancy was probably the hardest, only because in an instant, all my innocence was shattered. The worst case scenario happened, and I was left to pick up the pieces and move on. I eventually did, but I was never quite the same. My second pregnancy also ended in miscarriage, so by the time I got pregnant for the third time, I had resigned myself to a bleak reality.
But then, miraculously, it happened. Weeks passed and my pregnancy progressed. I couldn’t believe it. Though I was eventually statistically “out of the woods”, I never for a second let myself relax. Every day, every doctor’s visit, every breath was still a struggle. It’s as if you have to convince yourself that all is well, when in reality, you have no idea. You’re forced to push back negative thoughts, and struggle to remain cautiously optimistic. You must try to hold yourself back from feeling too much because you know how much it hurts to lose. You struggle to connect and bond with a life you’re terrified you’ll never get to meet. All the while, you grapple with feeling happy for the women who so blissfully seem to ease through pregnancy without a care in the world. Rationally, I understand this makes no sense. Of course, they should feel happy. But, sometimes the darker part of your being can’t help but feel angry that your carefree existence will never be the same.
There’s also guilt. Others have pointed out to me numerous times the fact that I was able to get pregnant in the first place. And, it’s true. I can. That in and of itself is a miracle. But, how can I explain to others that just because I can get pregnant, doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily stay pregnant, and the trauma and fear that this kind of uncertainty brings?
What helps me on my darkest days is knowing I’m not alone. Millions of women have gone through and are going through the exact same experiences. It’s a sisterhood of sorts—a club you never want to join, but might end up in anyway. My heart breaks for those going through a journey similar to mine, for I know the pain well, and I understand that it’s not something you can get over as quickly and easily as many people may assume.
Another thought I cling to throughout this pregnancy and my journey into motherhood is one of distant hope. I look at my two-year-old daughter, my precious rainbow baby who came to us after my first two miscarriages, and I know that it can happen for us again. My previous pregnancies may not have worked out the way we thought, but this one can and hopefully will. In fact, I know it can. I’ve experienced both the highs and lows of this journey—the agonizing pain of my greatest loss and the pure, unfiltered joy of receiving my most precious gift: a healthy baby girl. I see now that it’s possible to have that happy ending, and I cling to that. I have to.
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