Five Things I wish the world understood about going through a new pregnancy after a baby dies, by Frankie Brunker.

By Frankie Brunker   whose  fi rst daughter Esme died due to unexplained stillbirth at full term in 2013

By Frankie Brunker whose first daughter Esme died due to unexplained stillbirth at full term in 2013

Frankie Brunker and her first daughter, Esme

Frankie Brunker and her first daughter, Esme

1. A positive pregnancy test brings all kinds of emotion. Relief (my body can still do this), hope (we get another chance), elation (we are having another baby!), guilt (I don’t deserve this happiness when my baby died), fear (what if this one dies too?), numbness (if I don’t allow myself to fall in love with this new baby maybe it won’t hurt so much if they don’t make it). All are valid.

2. Waiting for the positive pregnancy test is agonising but now every day feels never ending. The build up to scans is especially excruciating - you are desperate for reassurance but can’t help fearing the worst - lightning does sometimes strike twice - for you there’s no stage of pregnancy that feels ‘safe’.

3. No amount of positive thinking will be able to trick you into fully embracing this experience. It’s hard. Even the joyful times can be tinged with sadness and worry - will my bonding with the new life inside of my growing bump or buying baby items jinx things? Is this baby moving TOO much? All anyone ever talks about is this new pregnancy - has everyone already forgotten about my baby who died?

4. Trying to block it all out doesn’t work either. Even if you hide away from the world or dress in the baggiest clothes possible at some point you will look (and feel) undeniably pregnant. Answering questions such as “Is this your first?” or “Are you excited?” might have you wanting the ground to swallow you up but if you feel up to it they can be wonderful opportunities to talk about the baby you so desperately miss.

5. People telling you they can’t wait to meet your baby or how thrilled they are for you can feel like pressure. You don’t want to let them down - again - if anything goes wrong. Approaching your due date, a planned induction, or scheduled c-section date is a huge milestone to both look forward to and dread. You know this can still be snatched away at any point. It’s ok to hate this part and how fearful it’s making you. It’s normal for it to be even more difficult than you’d imagined. And yet, just as you began this journey, "While there's life, there's hope."

Frankie Brunker

About Frankie Brunker
Frankie’s first daughter Esme died due to unexplained stillbirth at full term in 2013. Her two subsequent pregnancies were incredibly anxious and stressful periods of her life. Frankie volunteers for Joel The Complete Package, a charity that offers support to families affected by the death of a baby, especially those going through pregnancy and/or parenting after loss. She is also the author of
These Precious Little People, a beautifully illustrated not-for-profit children’s book that explains baby loss in gentle but honest language. You can follow Frankie on Twitter and Instagram.