SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support
SHARE Atlanta's Local Subsequent
Q. Where were you before you were born?
A. I was just a wish.
-excerpted from Kids'Answers
to Life's Big Quesions
Links to Topics on this page
Why subsequent pregnancies are so stressful - concerns and support
SHARE Atlanta's Subsequent Pregnancy Group - Why we are here. How we are organized. We meet as we have a need for meetings or forums.
SHARE Atlanta's Subsequent Pregnancy Group's Agenda
Lynne A.'s Round Bellies and Weak Knees...an article that shares her experience during her "subsequent pregnancy" as she attended the group. The article appeared in our newsletter as well as National SHARE's Newsletter. Lynne was a group leader for eight years.
To contact us
I'm pregnant again...will I survive...will my baby survive?
After we have lost a baby, our innocence of thinking all pregnancies end with a healthy baby, is majorly challenged. We know pregnancy can end in loss.
Moving through that next pregnancy...
For most, the path through the new pregnancy is filled with uncertainties that can only be totally calmed once we have a living baby in our arms. Some move through the nine months in "denial" - not fully recognizing or accepting that there is a baby being carried. Others totally focus on the baby to be. Then, of course, there are parents that fall between these two extremes. Also, dads and moms can vary greatly in how each handles the tensions of the subsequent pregnancy.
Usually, great care is taken to do "everything right" - no matter how one views the pregnancy. What seems to hold true for most parents-to-be is the nine months of waiting is intense and all consuming.
Recognizing normal reactions is healthy..
For many, recognizing these differences and tensions allows some alleviation of the stress. That's why SHARE Atlanta provides a Subsequent Pregnancy Group. The group is an effort to have a "safe haven" for moms and dads to address the issues that arise as their walk continues.
Many parents have found that often friends and family view a "new pregnancy" as the healing experience:
"Good, you are moving on...things are better." Of course, for the most part, these folks do not realize all the stress that can surround the next pregnancy. That's another important reason for having a place to share with others who "either are there now or who have been there" - they can understand and be supportive.
For most of us, total joy will only come when our living child is in our arms - and we do all we can to get to that place
With child again...
Does one assume that life
or death will be the outcome?
At some point
you must believe one or the other.
Yet only the act of giving birth
all the uncertainties
and the questions.
So nurture your soul
prepare your body
Each pregnancy is different, each can feel like the first, but after a loss the feelings of excitement and joy are complicated by all of the uncertainties
On Being Pregnant Again for the First Time
"Is this your first?" the saleslady asked.
"Yes," I lied.
It was easier than explaining about my first
precious child, lost so early in my pregnancy.
And it wasn't such a great lie.
This is the first time I've heard my baby's
This is the first time I've gotten past the nausea.
This the first time I've needed maternity clothers.
So in many ways this is my first.
But, my first baby took some of the innocent joy of
being pregnant for the first time away with me
when it died.
I do not talk to this baby as much at 18 weeks as I
did to my first at 6 weeks.
I haven't even thought of names or tried to decide
if it's a boy or a girl.
I'll worry about the nursery later.
It's not a conscious decision, this distancing myself
from this baby.
It's just a wariness and an awareness of how
fragile an unborn baby can be.
And the excitement of carrying a child is tempered
by the sure knowledge that there are no guarantees.
The normal stresses and pains of pregnancy send
silvery tendrils of fear into my belly, threatening
the child I am so helpless to protect.
Looking ahead, I know as much fear as joy awaits
The joy of quickening will be followed by fear the
movements will stop.
The joy of childbirth preparation classes will be
clouded by the fear we will not need them.
The joy of labor will be accompanied by the fear
the baby will not make it.
And yet I hold onto hope.
We have survived the death of our first baby.
We had the faith to try again.
So I find myself in that strange, expectant state, of
being pregnant again for the first time.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Our group tries to provide support for parents as they move through the pregnancy that follows a loss
Parents come to the group with many uncertainties and fears that are
mixed, usually, with a level of relief - "we finally are pregnant again". Most parents have mustered a degree of hope (needed to return to the road of pregnancy) and need encouragement to "hang-on".
Our volunteers know, first hand, about the stresses and confusion involved in a subsequent pregnancy. Our agenda for our meetings reflects these feelings and reactions - that we all have experienced!
Our meetings are on a four month rotation program with dads being welcomed every fourth month. We have found that moms need "mom time" to address their issues - sometimes over and over again. The meetings provide dad a break by allowing moms to speak to every issue imaginable. During the fourth meeting, dad can explore his concerns, hear what other dads are thinking and, hopefully, realize that their spouses', as well as their own, issues are normal.
Parents can gradually work through their fear or concerns in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. Many times moms connect so strongly that "after the baby comes" they form "mini" parent support groups - where they watch these subsequent babies grow! Again - support is the key word!
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Topics are based on questions that have been asked at SHARE Atlanta's Subsequent Pregnancy Group.
Month One: (January, May, September)
When should we share the news?
Will we forget our baby that died?
Will this pregnancy ever feel "safe"?
Should we use the same doctor? Is this a high-risk pregnancy?
Month Two: (February, June, October)
Will I compare my babies?
How do I handle the "loss of innocence"?
How can I keep my marriage strong?
How will I handle comments when I show?
How can I get over the "humps"?
Month Three: (March, July, November)
What will we do to prepare? Will we go to childbirth class?
How am I going to feel when the baby is born?
What effect will the previous hospital experience have on me?
Will the birth of the baby bring up grief issues?
Do I have new attitudes about raising children?
Month Four: Fathers are invited to join us! (April, August, December)
What are fathers' concerns and expectations about the experience?
How are fathers dealing with expectant mothers?
**Doctor visits, new concerns and other issues are discussed as needed.
There are no "pat" answers...
..but through discussion parents can gain some confidence knowing that they are not the only ones who have asked these questions. As they share and explore possible answers and alternatives, they can begin to grasp a certain level of understanding and, hopefully, security in their own present pregnancy.
Hope is an important element in surviving a subsequent pregnancy - we try to encourage our parents to reach for it as they support one another. That is one gift we can offer to each other.
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To Contact SHARE Atlanta for information about Subsequent Pregnancy Group
1. E-mail Marcia with SHARE Atlanta
Meetings: check for lastest dates. We meet as there is a need.
Contacting us does not obligate you to come to a meeting. We are here for your needs - as you need us.
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