Making Time for Grief During Pregnancy

Coping with Grief / Coping with Grief : Eleanor Haley

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Today, we'd like to welcome guest author Dana Schwartz to discuss what she has learned from her experience grieving during pregnancy. As some of you know, this topic is close to my heart because I lost my own mother to cancer when I was 12 weeks pregnant. We've received quite a few emails from women discussing how happy-sad the experience of grieving while pregnant has been, and so we know that Dana's article will resonate with many.

Dana is a fiction writer and essayist often drawn to themes of motherhood and death. She blogs at Writing at the Table and is currently creating a grief journaling course through The Gift of Writing. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter @danahschwartz.  

Grieving while pregnant was never the plan. It rarely is. My husband and I had been talking about going off birth control in September, an idea we shared with my mother the winter before her death. She rolled her eyes, unimpressed. Looking back, I think she expected a more tangible announcement.

dana, pregnant

By the time our pregnancy test came back positive, my mom had been dead two months. I was gutted with grief, but I felt joy at the sight of those two lines. Cautiously at first, since I was now well versed in how quickly a life could be snuffed out. But joy nonetheless, which ran parallel to the deep river of sadness in my heart.

This was the first lesson I learned: that one extreme emotion did not negate or soften the other. Joy and despair existed simultaneously; sometimes weaving together, other times sprinting side by side.

In one way, I was lucky to have my entire pregnancy to grieve my mom. In another, I was not, because I could never share my news with her. No matter when it happens, the intersection of grief and pregnancy hits hard.

Though it was challenging, I somehow knew to continue my mourning. If anything, the deadline of pregnancy encouraged me to grieve more deeply. I hope that my advice—gained through intuition and luck, trial and error—will help other women and couples traveling through pregnancy and grief. If anything, know you are not alone.

You Can Keep Grieving

I think some people expected my pregnancy to help “snap me out” of my grief, or at least give me a boost forward. First of all, you don’t need to stop grieving because you’re going to have a baby. Secondly, even without grief, pregnancy hormones trigger tidal mood swings. It’s okay if some days you can’t muster up any happiness for your pregnancy, or if you resent it for taking time away from your grief. On the other hand, you may feel overjoyed and find your grief has waned. Either way, try to skip the guilt. You will cycle back and forth and round and round all the emotions. It’s inevitable and even healthy.

Find Your Release – Mentally and Physically

After my mom died, I wondered if it was possible to run out of tears. Apparently not. Don’t bottle up your feelings. Cry when you need to, laugh if the moment strikes. Be pissed off, be excited. The key is finding productive ways to release your emotions. For me, it was through writing—I filled six journals in less than a year; documenting my daily activities, scribbling down my dreams, and dialoguing with my mom helped me organize the rush of feelings—and working out. Everyone knows working out is good for pregnancy, but it’s also a balm for grief. I made a playlist of depressing songs—yes, on purpose!—and I’d run and cry at the same time. Pounding my feet on the pavement while thinking about my mom and baby helped connect the three of us.

Tune Out the Noise

I remember feeling a little defensive about my pregnancy; wondering if some people might think it happened too soon, or worse, that it was an antidote to my sadness. In grief, just like in regular life, people say things that feel hurtful. You may not agree with their assessment. Maybe your pregnancy was planned, maybe it wasn’t. You don’t need to rationalize or explain your choices.

Use the Internet Wisely

It was 2007 when I was pregnant and grieving, and there were far fewer online resources about pregnancy than there are now. Pregnant women in general face an avalanche of advice and warnings, often focusing on what can go wrong. Be informed but not overly so. If you’re concerned that grief is affecting your pregnancy via depression or anxiety then, by all means, tell your doctor—but don’t scour the internet for answers. On the other hand, the internet can be a great place to find commiseration from other bereaved mothers-to-be.

Seek Support – Before and After

During your pregnancy, try to surround yourself with people who respect (if not completely understand) your grief. Some friends and family may expect you to focus more on your pregnancy, but you get to do both and on your terms.

Set up a support system for after the baby comes. One of the best decisions I made was hiring a postpartum doula after the birth of my second child. For three weeks, a loving and kindhearted woman wore my baby and folded heaps of laundry while I napped, showered, and cried. In her company, I felt understood and cared for—two things that I lacked with my first baby. She also bore witness to the flood of emotions that are released after childbirth, which for me included a new wave of grief.

Trust Your Intuition

A well-meaning friend kept urging me to watch a popular comedy that came out the summer my mom died. I know she was trying to help, but I didn’t want humor. Instead, I deliberately sought out melancholy books, movies, and music—all of which helped me grieve. Whatever your preferences are, trust them: for both your grief and your pregnancy.

Create a Legacy Before

Besides keeping a journal, I also went out of my comfort zone and got a little crafty. I collected photographs and made a scrapbook about my mom, documenting my parents’ marriage, my birth, and childhood. Inspired by this, I decided to also make a photo album of just the two of us, with the intention of one day sharing it with my daughter. Think of ways you can create tangible memories of your loved one. It doesn’t have to be Pinterest worthy, just a physical manifestation of your love.

Create a Legacy After

If your loved one would’ve been part of your baby’s life, don’t let death end the relationship. Talk about that person to your baby. Start early on. Call them by the name your child would’ve used. When they get older, you can explain what happened. Young children are usually quite accepting of simple explanations, such as: “So and so died. That means you can’t see them again, but you can look at pictures, talk about them, and keep them in your heart.”

Some mothers keep their grief to themselves. My mom rarely spoke about her father, who died when she was eight. I can only assume she did so partly to protect me from such terrible sadness, but I wanted to know about him and how she coped with such a loss. It might have helped me with my own.

Parting Words

When the baby arrives, your grief will not stop. This may come as a relief or a hardship, but it’s the truth. Having a new baby is all encompassing and, for a while, you’ll be in survival mode. You may go days without grieving. Then, you may grieve even more fiercely. I remember feeling a secondary loss, a strange sort of guilt for losing touch with the all-encompassing nature of my grief. It might have helped to know it’s okay to step back, or compartmentalize it temporarily.

Just don’t ignore it. Check in with your grief when you can. This may seem impossible, especially in the early weeks, but even a few minutes of writing in a journal or taking a short walk can help.

There is a moment I will never forget in my daughter’s infancy. After what felt like hours of crying (hers), she finally passed out. When I looked down at her beautiful peaceful face, I saw a glimpse of my mother. Though no longer in my life, a piece of her was in my arms.

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52 Comments on "Making Time for Grief During Pregnancy"

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  1. Georgina  October 11, 2021 at 9:30 pm Reply

    It’s currently 2am and I feel like I can’t breathe my mum passed away at Christmas she was and alcoholic with not much will to live she had fallen out with life and wasn’t the fun loving mum I remember in my childhood desperation had consumed her. Never the less, she was still my mum. Finding my mum stone cold when I was just bobbing round for a quick catch up is the most difficult thing I can describe, it’s nearly been a year and the grief is just as sharp as the very day I saw her, it’s now September and I’m 9 weeks pregnant the nights are getting harder and I can feel the same looming depression slowly creeping up on me which had pushed my mum to loose touch on the good things in life, it’s like a shadow no one can see and I’m fighting off silently, so the night are hard I find when I try to rest my mind all I can think is if I was pregnant when she was alive would she have made an effort to look after herself to take her medication and the help me and my brother constantly offered? Would she still be here now? I’m too embarrassed to talk to my partner in detail how I’m feeling as he will just tell me to snap out of it, that it’s the hormones and I’m over reacting. But in all honesty I’m a 22 year old girl who just wants a cuddle with her mum and to share this news with her.

  2. Gabrielle  November 26, 2020 at 7:59 am Reply

    I got married this year on September 22nd, my husband and I began trying to get pregnant immediately. Due to covid we had to cancel our wedding and get married at the courthouse. My father lived two hours away in another state so he wasn’t able to attend we texted on the day of but we didn’t actually get to talk on the phone. On October 4th I got a desperate phone call from my brother telling me my dad had been taken to the hospital, after many phone calls to the hospital we found out he had passed in the ambulance of congestive heart failure and could not be revived. Again due to covid I hadn’t seen my father almost the entire year I couldn’t even go to the hospital to see his body before he was cremated. Not getting that last opportunity to physically say goodbye it kills me. My brother had been living with my father so we brought him back with us and moved him into our second bedroom at first I thought having him here would help my grief but I began to notice in my effort to be strong for him I just started hiding my grief instead which ultimately made me irritable and hot headed. Because my family is used to leaning on me hardly anyone even asked if I was okay I spent the first few days constantly on the phone comforting everyone else or listening to them tell me how so and so was having such a hard time with this as if I should call them and comfort them too as if I wasn’t one of the only two who had actually lost their father. My aunt and grandmother suggested I call and check on my 23 year old cousin because this had been such a huge loss for him, not for me, for him. Never in my life had I felt anything so close to hatred for members of my own family. On November 12th I found I was pregnant. I’m six weeks pregnant now and the emotions have almost been more than I can bear. I didn’t get to grieve for my father and now I have to be strong for my child but some days I’m so hopeless and so sad I feel like I’m falling apart. If he had just survived another month I could have told him, he was so excited to be a grandfather. Instead I didn’t even get a final phone call, he didn’t get to walk me down the aisle, he will never get to meet my children. Everybody thinks I’m so strong no one can see how broken I am and maybe that’s my fault for hiding it so well but I feel so alone. My mom says I have to stay calm for the baby and scares me with all these studies about how the mother’s emotions impact the child and it makes everything so much worse. I know she’s just trying to help me cope but I just feel like I’m failing. I cry everyday, it’s so early in the pregnancy I’m too scared to even be happy. In my mind sometimes I have an irrational fear now that everyone I love is going to die. I’m afraid to talk to anyone close to me about what I’m going through, strength and stoicism are the themes of my life it’s what my family expects from me but with the hormones wreaking havoc I just can’t do it I don’t feel strong I can’t stop crying I just feel alone. I’m so scared I’m damaging my child or that I’m going to lose it because my moods are so intense. My father was an alcoholic he was responsible for some of the worst moments of my life as he got older he gained weight and that seemed to lessen the impact of the alcohol. I got to spend a lot of time with him in 2019 and our relationship had improved immensely but we never got to talk about my childhood or his relationship with my mother. Now that he’s gone we never will. I don’t know what to do with all these feelings everything is so mixed up and so brutally incomplete. I’m looking for a grief counselor I can’t keep hiding everything I’m feeling it’s making me feel resent my family and friends and it’s making the pain worse. I’m so grateful I found this page just knowing I’m not alone helps, writing this out helps. Thank you for giving us a place to say the things we can’t seem to say anywhere else.

    • IsabelleS  November 27, 2020 at 11:31 am Reply

      Gabrielle, I am so sorry for your loss. I completely understand that you’re feeling a whole range of conflicting emotions… This is so normal in the face of grief, and being pregnant is making the grieving process all the more difficult/complex. I hope you find a grief counselor to help you through this. We recommend looking here: I’m happy to hear that this community has brought you some comfort. You’re right, you’re definitely NOT alone in this! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      • Gabrielle  November 27, 2020 at 5:13 pm

        Thank you for your kindness and for the recommendation 💙

  3. Gaby  July 14, 2020 at 3:50 pm Reply

    I’m 4 months pregnant and I lost my dad 2 days ago, he started drinking a week ago and he was really stubborn and didn’t want to stop drinking… This time my sister broke leg and since I’m pregnant it was difficult for us to take care of him while drunk, my dad suffered depression and everytime he was drinking he would say that he wanted to die to be with his father (died 6 years ago). One of my cousins came to my house to help us take care of him, but one day he had to go home and would return next day… That night I feel so sad and depressed, I was continuously checking on him since he was mostly sleeping/drinking. Since he was diabetic and had problems with blood pressure his body couldn’t make it. I feel so guilty for not trying harder for him but we knew he could go days and days drinking non stop. This time was different, he didn’t come up to me because I was pregnant and didn’t want to bother me, I wish so hard he would have done that… I’m feeling so hopeless and I feel like I’m not strong enough to be without him, he was so excited about being a grandfather… My dad tried to kill himself multiple times and it was one of my worst fears, now that became true I just want to go back in time and try to do more for him, I can’t accept he will not be here anymore and he will not meet his grandson/granddaughter (I will know my babys gender next Friday) I am devastated and hopeless…

  4. Carla M  May 13, 2020 at 1:52 pm Reply

    Hi, 4 months ago my husband was involved in a vehicular accident, we were at the ICU for 10days but he did not make it. He left me. While at the ICu i have been talking to him that maybe we will be having a baby, since i am delayed in my menstruation. He was my boyfriend for 10years. I just confirmed my pregnancy after his burial.
    We were just married for 3 months before the accident happens. Now i am 5 months pregnant with our baby. I am so lost, devastated and very hurtful. My grief affects my weigh, i lost 4kilos in a month, I cannot sleep properly, i am crying everynight since he was gone. Then a month after my husband died, my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. I can’t imagined the pain i am going through my whole pregnancy. There are times i wanted to end my life. 🙁 i do not know how to cope this. 🙁

  5. Clair Compton  May 4, 2020 at 5:16 pm Reply

    It took me and my partner 2 years of trying to finally fall pregnant, we had some help from the NHS and I was lucky enough to fall on first cycle of hormone boosters. Me and my mum were very close, I was the last of 5 children to leave home and I thought of my mum as my best friend. It actually broke both our hearts when I moved out to live with my partner. It actually took my mum and dad 2 years to fall pregnant themselves with their first, so my mum knew my struggle and I spoke to her all the time about the disappointment every month when another period came. When my period did not come and finally having a positive pregnancy test, after telling my partner, I told my mum, swearing her to secrecy, she was overjoyed. That was the end of September 2019. Once we had attended my 12 week scan we decided to announce to all the family our happy news of a baby expected to arrive 4th June 2020. During this time my mum had become ill. It seemed like flu at first but after 5/6 weeks of seeing no change we all got worried. Under protest my mum finally went to GP but they did not know what it was. After a few weeks my mum woke one morning and could not see out of one eye. After calling an ambulance, waiting hours in A&E, and a CT scan it was discovered that mum had suffered a series of mini strokes. There was a period of worry there would be more but luckily there was not. After 3 days in hospital they discharged mum, this was in November. The stroke left mum a little confused and a bit weaker on her legs and had difficulty moving her left arm, but thankfully her sight returned. Mum became quite withdrawn and depressed. A few weeks later there was not much change to how mum was before stroke. Mum had no energy at all and just sat on the sofa all day, unable to keep her eyes open most of the time. Mum suffered a very severe bout of diarrhoea and her tummy had become very swollen. We called emergency GP who advised getting an ambulance. Mum was admitted back to hospital being told she had stage 3 kidney failure, likely caused by sudden influx of medication prescribed to reduce risk of any further strokes. We were also told that mum’s swollen tummy was likely to be caused by ovarian cancer. My poor mum, this was all so sudden, she rarely even got a cold and was even still working at age of 72 as a part time cleaner. My heart ached for her every day. Mum stayed in hospital for a month, including over Christmas time, it was her first ever Christmas away from the family, and especially my dad. They had celebrated their 50 year wedding anniversary in June 2019. We had thrown them a surprise party, and mum was fine then. We had to wait for a biopsy, which got held up because of Christmas and in January Ovarian Cancer was confirmed. Mum took the diagnosis in her stride but it shocked us all to the core. In mid January 2020 Mum was discharged from hospital since her kidneys recovered and referred to onochology. At first mum was told that chemotherapy would be offered but needed to assess mum after 3 weeks of being discharged to see if mum would be strong enough to get through the chemo. Mum was still quite weak from the stroke, she now walked with a frame and had lost alot of confidence. Mum was sick during a course of steroids and had another stay in hospital in February. After a week she was discharged again, and I was signed off work and decided to spend every day with mum to help my dad care for her. Mum asked every day how far I was and how long left before baby comes. She helped me pick out things for the nursery and order clothes and essentials online. There were a few appointments with the onochologist, always 3 weeks apart, he was very unsure if mum was strong enough and if chemotherapy would trigger another stroke. Mum asked in one of her appointments how long she had and was told 6 months. Mum just said as long as I am here in June to hold baby then it will be ok. It was decided in late March that chemotherapy was not an option for mum and she was passed over to pastoral care from St Luke’s. Then covid-19 had risen in UK and we were put into lockdown. We couldnt see mum anymore. This broke her heart and ours as a family. Every time I spoke to her on the phone she still asked how far I was and if baby was moving. My dad told me it was all mum spoke about was meeting baby. Mum got sick again one day, and was in a great deal of pain. After a few days of morphine mum lost her fight on 21st April 2020, I had 7 weeks left til baby came. She really tried to cling on but her body just failed. I am completely devasted at losing her and never seeing her again, and my heart breaks that she will never meet my baby and hold it like she wanted. The sadness of it all I just find overwhelming. I’m so excited to meet baby bit worry about how I’m going to cope with a new born and feeling so much grief and sorrow. I am comforted to find others have been in this situation as I just don’t feel that anybody understands just what I am going through.

    • Hannah  September 29, 2020 at 3:54 am Reply

      Hi Clair,
      I am so sorry to hear about your mum, and the hard time you had to experience whilst pregnant, sending you lots of love and strength.

      I lost my dad 5 weeks ago, completely unexpected – he went to work as normal and never came home, I am 6 months pregnant and I’m not coping. It’s getting harder day by day, I wanted to reach out to see how you have been doing since your baby arrived, I hope you are coping well and still dealing with your grief.


  6. Dev  May 4, 2020 at 2:57 pm Reply

    I was 17 weeks and 6 days pregnant when my beloved daddy died unexpectedly. I am 24 weeks and 6 days now.
    Living on a different continent, I got a phone call that he had collapsed and was on the way to hospital. We only discovered later that he had already died at this point, following unsuccessful reanimation in the ambulance. He died of an embolism, the day he was meant to check into physio rehab following a successful chemotherapy and surgery. He’d been diagnosed with a treatable cancer a few months before, with the prognosis that he could he healed. Due to this prognosis, and a miscarriage in 2017, I decided not to travel for Christmas to minimise the risks in the 1st Trimester. He fully agreed and encouraged this decision, and was over the moon to become a granddad. He was so happy. We were making plans for him to come and visit after his therapy, and he’d carry lots of baby items and help me in the last trimester.
    It’s so unfair, it hurts so much, and I feel so terrible and guilty, lost and shattered. He was my rock, stability and security. I feel like I should have been there for him after the surgery, maybe I could have prevented his death. I could have seen him. I feel deprived of all the happiness we could have shared about me, his baby, becoming a mom. All the opportunities to ask him for his advice, and to watch him hold and fall in love with his first grandchild . It hurts so much. I’m already in therapy because I am so worried about my babies wellbeing. How many tears can flow, how much pain and desperation can be felt? During Covid-19, I haven’t been able to have a memorial service for him, nor fulfill his last wish to bring his ashes to me. My family can’t travel to support me, and because of social distancing we can’t even be with my husbands family or our friends, let alone get a hug.
    My pregnancy hormones have put me on a rollercoaster and I feel really vulnerable and alone. My dad and I had the most special relationship. I just can’t believe he is gone, I’m so heartbroken. It’s so hard to have to go through this when it’s supposed to be the happiest time of our lives. I feel like I am depriving my baby of a good start to live because I am so sad and worried. Yet I love feeling it move and spending time stroking my growing belly. Feeling happiness and grief at the same time is super exhausting and all I want to do is sleep.

    • Hannah  September 29, 2020 at 3:58 am Reply

      Hi Dev,
      I am so sorry to hear about your dad, I am also Experiencing a similar bereavement – my dad passed unexpectedly 5 weeks ago, I am 6 months pregnant and every word you have shared I can relate to, especially with Covid making it so much harder.

      I wanted to reach out to see how you are coping since having your baby, I hope you are doing okay.

      Hannah x

  7. Laura  January 20, 2020 at 11:01 pm Reply

    My husband and I had been trying for a baby for 3 years and we had no luck when trying to conceive. It was heartbreaking each month to see the dreaded period present, rather than a positive pregnancy test. My mum also found it hard to watch my husband and I go through the emotional rollercoaster. Because he or I do not have any children between us, we were able to receive IVF on the NHS. Due to the nature of IVF, many appointments were needed and my husband was unable to attend each one due to work commitments. My mum wanted to come with me if my husband was unable to attend any of the appointments, we were very close and she was my absolute best friend. On the day the IVF clinic transferred my fertilised egg with my husband’s sperm inside it, it was actually my mum that came with me as my husband couldn’t get out of work. My mum was made to dress in scrubs, and she held my hand as we watched on the screen the fertilised egg shoot up into my womb like a shooting star. It was an exciting and emotional day. Two weeks later, my husband and I did 4 pregnancy tests and all came back positive. My mum was so ecstatic and her and I went out for lunch that same day to celebrate alongside with my sister. Since then my mum has come to so many of my appointments and has been my rock. On the 11th October, my husband and I found out that we are having a little girl, my mum was the first person I called and she screamed and cried down the phone with delight. It was such a happy happy time. I had no idea that the very next day, my mum would be rushed to hospital and diagnosed with a dead bowel. The next two weeks consisted of my mum having two emergency operations, and being in an induced coma. On 21st October, my mum passed away, I was 23 weeks pregnant at the time. Im now 36 weeks pregnant and have just started maternity leave. I feel so lost as we were going to see eachother everyday throughout my maternity. It has been such a big journey to get pregnant, and my mum has been with me for the whole ride. Now I’m just left absolute heartbroken that she is not here anymore. She was going to be with my husband and I at the birth. It has made everything feel so bittersweet. I feel like being on maternity leave is exacerbating my grief as I feel so alone. I cannot wait to meet my baby girl, and I know that my mum would of hated for me to feel such sadness. It’s incredibly hard.

  8. Rachel  November 5, 2019 at 3:25 am Reply

    I’m relieved to see I’m not alone. My mom died of a sudden brain aneurysm when I was 6 months pregnant. We had to say goodbye all in one day. As soon as it happened it was me who had to plan all the services, take control of my parent finances and their business to help my father, as I run my own business as well. I am now 8 1/2 months pregnant and terrified to have this baby, anticipating the new wave of grief and it’s exhaustion. Our son is 2 1/2, I hide from him and cry. I have no idea how I’m going to manage this birth and bonding to the new baby. Reading all these posts helps me see others have blazed a trail before me and if you can do it so can I…. deep breath. I appreciated the sentiment of bringing the memory of my mom into the baby’s world with pictures and memorabilia. We are just setting up our nursery and I think this will be a good way to bond the 3 of us. Thank you all for sharing your stories. Sending warm thoughts to all of you/us going through pregnancy and grief.

  9. Joi  October 22, 2019 at 7:55 pm Reply

    July 10th of this year my mother called me and told me that the lump they found in her left breast was in fact cancer. Didn’t expect that since we never had that in our family. July 11th I called my mother and told her I was pregnant with my second child. She was over joyed cause she’s always wanted for me to have kids when I never wanted them so that call meant the world to her. She wanted to fight the cancer however her battle is slowly coming to an end. Two months after finding out she ended up in the hospital. Right now she’s fighting stage 4 breast cancer that’s spread everywhere including her brain. After chemo treatments she will be in hospice. She’s no longer the same. The tumor is on the outside of her breast and she can’t even talk anymore she just babbles. To make it worse I’m in a different state and can’t be at her bedside. I’m angry cause I’m losing my mother. I’m hurt, I’m sad but I have a daughter to care for and a baby my son to care for in my body. I’ve lost many people in my life to death including my father which hurt extremely. But this pain hurts when worse cause I know she won’t be able to hold her new grandson. It’s painful cause she was my best friend. It’s painful cause I love her so much and have to watch her suffer before she dies. My only connection was to video chat or talk on the phone and because she’s no longer present I just listen to her babble for an hour just to still heart her voice while I can. I know I’ll have to let her go soon and I’m angry very angry yet pregnant and confused. Death during pregnancy sucks.

  10. Marketta  September 9, 2019 at 3:50 pm Reply

    I’m 36 years old and 13 weeks pregnant. I lost my husband of almost 13 years unexpectedly in July. He was 37. We had been trying to conceive for three years then suffered a miscarriage in early June before finding out June 30 we were pregnant again. I’m seeing a counselor and I’m part of a grief support group – I’m doing all the ‘healthy’ things I think I should be doing because I want to be able to deal with my emotions properly so I can focus on my pregnancy… but I’m still terrified. I’ve lost weight because I’m not eating as much as I used to due to the grief and I’m so scared for my baby. I worry all the time and I don’t know what else I can do. I’m angry, confused, scared, lost and so, so sad.

    • Adr  February 18, 2020 at 3:09 pm Reply

      Hello, how are you holding up now? Do you manage without your partner during the emotional tides that come with pregnacy? I found out last week i am 4-5 weeks pregnant, just one day after i found out that the babies daddy had died.
      I have a difficult time accepting the pregnacy without him being with me. He died before he knew. So the grief now outweighs all the rest.
      Hope you are well

  11. Shamma Azmi  August 14, 2019 at 5:21 am Reply

    I just got news that my eldest cousin brother passed away at 4 am today. He used to live with us when I was a child and so we were very close. I’m 16 weeks pregnant and I just feel utter grief over the loss of our eldest brother. But I also kept thinking of how being sad and crying is not good for the baby. I’ve never felt so utterly conflicted in my life.

  12. K.  August 3, 2019 at 9:10 pm Reply

    I’m 20 weeks pregnant and lost my dad last night. I was in another state for work and it took me 24 hours and 2 missed flights to get to my family. I’m so sad he won’t meet him. I’m so sad he is gone.

  13. Anky  July 26, 2019 at 5:47 pm Reply

    I am 35 weeks pregnant and I lost my father two days ago. Worst part is that I couldn’t participate in his last rites because he was in India and I am in United States. He was recovering from radiation therapy from Cancer, however death was unexpected based on doctors evaluation. I could not travel international being so far along in the pregnancy. And I will always have this guilt. I don’t want to blame my pregnancy but there is so much guilt and grief. My baby shower was scheduled for Aug 10, invitations are out and people already started sending gifts. I don’t know if we should cancel it or still have it. In the middle of all this, I also have to take my phd exams.

  14. Kay kay  July 21, 2019 at 3:59 pm Reply

    I am 28 weeks pregnant, I lost my mum 8 years ago who was more like my sister. My nana brought me up since I was a baby., she also passed away suddenly 2 weeks ago. The thought of having this baby without my mum or nana scares me, I don’t have any close friends or family members. My partner is great, but he’s not my mum or nana. I feel like I dont have any mother instincts or happiness for this baby and I regret feeling like that. Some days I do look forward to becoming a mother but other days I feel i want to run and hide from it, which I know I cant. I hope this feeling will pass. All I want is my wee nana. I cant believe shes not here, am so worried about my grandad. Although I am 28 weeks I keep forgetting I am going to be a mother. I dont feel ready and I dont feel I can do it!!

  15. Maureen Goldie  July 6, 2019 at 11:48 am Reply

    Hello, I love both my father n law and my father one month apart while pregnant. I found out I was pregnant the day after my father was diagnosed wth stage 4 colon cancer and the my found tumors. My father passed away 7 weeks later. He was my rock my go to for everything. I am having such a hard time he went to the hospital and does there 3 weeks later. I watched him take his last breath as he turned his head and looked at me and my mother. I am 12 weeks pregnant and I have not even told anyone yet due to the loss of my dad. I never told my father and this decision will continue to haunt me on if it was the right one. However in my heart I feel it would have hurt him to know he would never see the baby. My last pregnancy 2 years prior was a very high risk pregnancy so I am all kinds of feelings right now!!! I miss my dad and I am so scared.

    • Katie Leger  December 1, 2019 at 4:54 pm Reply

      I found comfort in reading your response, my name is Katie my father was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in march of 2017 and lost his battle yesterday, after being on hospice for a month I’m 32 weeks pregnant currently. I’m ripped apart he will never meet his granddaughter. The pain is so intense I loved him so much we were so incredibly close. I’m having so much trouble coping and trying to find ways of getting through the remainder of my pregnancy in a healthy way.

  16. Amber  June 8, 2019 at 4:37 am Reply

    I am almost 37 weeks pregnant and my dad died yesterday. I am at a loss. I can’t believe he will never hold my baby.

  17. Jodie  May 19, 2019 at 1:27 am Reply

    What if your grief is over a lost pet? and you cant talk to anyone about it because theres no point in doing so, and now that its been two years you should be over it because it was just a cat..? Just found out Im pregnant, and am very happy and excited about it… It was planned. But I feel so guilty that I cant let this grief go and have let it become so complicated. Im interested in transforming it, so that I can be mentally healthier and more emotionally stable for the baby and my husband… But Im not religious so I cant find acceptance or hope… and I cant willingly let it go. I think Im afraid to be happy again… But all of this probably sounds so stupid, Im sure, because it wasnt a person. It wasnt my mom or my dad or a sibling or- God some people have lost their CHILDREN! I feel bad even feeling bad or even thinking of maybe wanting support of some kind, because some people have lost their actual children. 🙁

    • Christine  May 29, 2019 at 3:27 pm Reply

      Grief is just love with no place to go. Whether it be the loss of a mother, child, partner, or beloved pet, it’s not easy – you are free to grieve for as long as necessary.

  18. Clarise  April 29, 2019 at 10:08 am Reply

    I am currently pregnant and almost on my 34th week now. My Daddy, whom I love so much went to heaven last Feb. 26, 2019, he just turned 79 years old (his bday was Feb. 14) and he was suffering from COPD Emphysema for almost 5 years. He was hospitalized for 10 days, and we brought him home to take care of him for another 10 days before he went unconscious because of loss of oxygen, he didn’t make it, he was revived but he was brain dead. Honestly, there are still times when everything’s a blur and I still can’t believe he’s gone and that he is gone, NOW, now that I’m currently pregnant with my 1st born. Hurt, sad, depressed and defeated are all understatements. We love each other so much, and we have the best father-and-daughter relationship. Worst part is I’m based abroad (for over 8 years), working to be able to support their financial needs, I was not able to see him when he was still awake and conscious we just see each other thru video calls and send text messages all the time, we went home to our country when he was already brain dead in the hospital, they just waited for me and my husband to say goodbye to him, after a couple of days when we turned off his ventilator and removed all his life support and medications, he passed away immediately in a span of 2 hours. We were able to talk to him, kiss him, hug him and be say goodbye while he was unconscious. Everything was torture for us, but the loss hit me the most since everyone knows I’m such a Daddy’s girl. I still cannot believe I went through everything while I am pregnant. I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT HE WENT TO HEAVEN WHILE I WAS PREGNANT, I mean really? NOW? I was shattered into tiny million pieces, but I have to be strong for my Mother and Brother, my baby and Husband, I have to continue working because we were left with debts and I need to secure my job for my coming baby. He’s been gone for 2 mos since, and my relationship with God was strengthened as I prayed for my heart to be healed. It’s still by God’s grace and miracle that I am able to face each day with peace, love, strength and resilience. I was filled with so much anger, pain, sadness and resentment to everyone and everything, I am grateful to God (and my Daddy) that they are helping me get through and face grief in my own terms and time.

    • Mary  July 11, 2019 at 3:07 pm Reply


      My Dad died 2 days ago from COPD. I found out I was pregnant 3 weeks into this hospital stay. I’m now close to my second trimester. I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl and like you was far from my Dad but kept in contact via FaceTime and texts. I’m so overcome by grief I don’t think I’ll be able to survive this. The thought that my Dad won’t get to see this baby makes me feel guilty. He’s been very close with my daughter and knowing he won’t be with this baby seems unnatural. It seems like something is wrong and not right in the world.

  19. Amanda  April 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm Reply

    I am currently 39 weeks pregnant and we just lost my father in law a few days ago… I am so devastated and trying my best to be strong for my fiancé… but I feel very alone with little support. My family and friends are trying their best to be there as much as they can but no one understands what it’s like to lose someone while I’m about to deliver. I appreciated this article to know at least I’m not alone in the world. I’m sorry for everyone who had to go through a loss whole pregnant. Loss is not easy to cope with no matter when it happens but it’s much worse when we are pregnant.

    • Adrianne  April 26, 2019 at 11:33 pm Reply

      Sounds like we may have the same due date or pretty close. My mom passed three weeks ago unexpectedly. It’s so hard and yet this baby girl helps to keep me focused. Everyone has the best of intentions but I have no idea what I need or what to expect.

  20. Katrina Richardson  March 10, 2019 at 7:15 am Reply

    Help! I’m so early in my pregnancy. Im.only 2 months. And the past 3 weeks we found out my dad ha’s bone cancer then a few days ago found out its brain cancer. He’s been suffering and so have we . He passed tonight at midnight . He lives in a different state so I didn’t get to be there before he died. I’m stressed to the max, trying to stay calm so I don’t lose the baby. I’m dealing with weeks of crying and depression. Exercise hasn’t helped . Working 50 + hours a week semi helps to keep the mind busy … I haven’t slept . I’ve been eating bad . I feel as if my world is falling apart. HELP!!!

  21. Katie Rice  March 3, 2019 at 10:13 pm Reply

    I just lost my Mom when I was 18 weeks pregnant (I’m 25 weeks now) with my second child after a sudden illness that progressed far more quickly than any of us ever expected. We were trying to get her to The Mayo Clinic but sadly that never happened. I’m having such a hard time dealing with her death on top of the pregnancy hormones. To make things harder my parents divorced after 36 years a couple of years ago and my Dad married the woman he cheated on her with (she happens to be my age) so my Mom’s death has brought about some residual feelings about the divorce. I’m doing my best to seek support in healthy ways (going to my church’s GriefShare program), spending time with friends, attending my Mom’s group activities, etc. but I’m still feeling very down and lost. My husband and his Dad drove my Mom’s things across country last weekend and this week has been particularly difficult as we unpack boxes and discover her things. I know nothing anyone is going to say will make it better but it helps to know other people, especially those of you who are also pregnant, understand what a tremendous loss this is at a very fragile time.

  22. mei  December 29, 2018 at 11:25 pm Reply

    im 34 weeks pregnant and i lost my mom on christmas day.. she’s lives in a different country and i cant even travel to see and hug her for the last time.. im trying to be strong for my baby but it is so hard..

  23. Rachel  November 26, 2018 at 2:56 pm Reply

    My brother passed away on 11/23/2018 and I am 20 weeks pregnant losing my brother has been the worse thing that could ever happen I loved him with all my heart and he took pieces of it with him sometimes I feel like I can’t go without him he was only 37 and died from drug overdose and I wish I could have helped him out more if God would have gave me a second chance I would have been there more he was my first best friend my everything and all I do is cry all day I can’t stop I see his pictures and I cry I hear a song and I cry when dose this pain go away and am I making my baby feel all this pain and sadness I just can’t seem to get my life back together without him.

  24. Samantha  November 21, 2018 at 5:54 am Reply

    I just lost my sister a month later found out I was exoecting. I am not very well off as i help out with my disabled parents who have a hard time living healthy. This place is not fit for a baby. I am considered homeless. I had a good carreer going but lost my job have ptsd receiving help where needed fighting the temptation to drink not being able to eat properelly. Im so worried for the future and take it out on my partner. I need all the help and prayers in the world it seems. Its the first baby in the family and i have no symptoms i barely feel pregnant. I already feel like a bad mother. Im so dysfunctional and lost.

  25. Bella  April 1, 2018 at 12:26 pm Reply

    My 18.5 year old son passed away on March 24, 2018. I am 25 weeks pregnant with his baby brother and have another son who is going to be 13 this week. My eldest son suffered in pain and illness all his life but also knew and was happy that he was loved so very much by his family. It is beyond heart-breaking to even think about the life without him, but I have to take it day by day and also focus on the 13 year old and my unborn baby. I am devastated but today I opened up the curtains in my living room for the first time in 8 days and let the light shine in. I am grateful to you for giving me encouragement at this time of grief with your writing.

  26. Bella  April 1, 2018 at 12:26 pm Reply

    My 18.5 year old son passed away on March 24, 2018. I am 25 weeks pregnant with his baby brother and have another son who is going to be 13 this week. My eldest son suffered in pain and illness all his life but also knew and was happy that he was loved so very much by his family. It is beyond heart-breaking to even think about the life without him, but I have to take it day by day and also focus on the 13 year old and my unborn baby. I am devastated but today I opened up the curtains in my living room for the first time in 8 days and let the light shine in. I am grateful to you for giving me encouragement at this time of grief with your writing.

  27. Melissa  May 6, 2016 at 12:13 pm Reply

    My son would have been a year old on April 18th, 2016, but he passed away when he was only 3-days-old. In a matter of 10 minutes, he went from a perfectly healthy, full-term baby to struggling for his life because of a very difficult delivery. I am now almost 6 months pregnant with his little sister. Thank you for your acknowledgement that “one extreme emotion did not negate or soften the other,” as that has truly been my experience. I think it is also important to note that grief has no time limit, and that sometimes the newfound joy can also heighten the grief you thought was becoming more manageable. Because of expecting her and all the memories and love that we will share, I repeatedly face that I will not share that with him. Because of the joy and love I feel for her, I remember the joy that was taken from me with my son. In strange ways, I also feel grief for my daughter…grief that she will never grow up with her big brother (though she will know about him), grief that the joy I feel at expecting her is tempered by her brother’s loss (and how unfair that seems for her), grief that she will be born to a mother that is fundamentally different from the woman I was when I first gave birth to her brother (though my own mother argues that she believes I will be an even better mother to her because I know what it is to lose a child and will, perhaps, appreciate all of her milestones more acutely), and grief that I might ever make her feel that she was a “replacement” or “fix” for her brother (though I know that she could never replace him, just as he could never replace her, and that the joy at having her cannot fix me missing him). My goal is to LET both the joy and the grief co-exist, to love both my son and my daughter with all that is in me, to remember and to go on living the best life possible for my whole family.

    • Polly  July 1, 2016 at 7:40 pm Reply

      Melissa, thank you for your post. I am currently trying to become pregnant. I lost my 15 month old daughter 5 months ago to epilepsy. I very much want to have a child, though I am terrified of the grief I know I will experience during the pregnancy, and probably forever more. Maybe we will be better moms since we have lost, I don’t know.

  28. Jacks  April 17, 2016 at 9:13 pm Reply

    I am 12 weeks pregnant. The day I found out I was pregnant was also the day that my Dad died very suddenly. Within minutes my whole life changed in ways I had never imagined. Thank you for sharing your story, your grief, your healing. I have many people in my life who have lost a loved one, and just as many who have been pregnant. What I don’t have are the stories of those of us who have stood, or are standing, at these two thresholds simultaneously. I crave these stories lately. I crave camaraderie in this mystery. Do you by chance know of any books or other readings?

  29. Terri  March 19, 2016 at 5:13 pm Reply

    “This was the first lesson I learned – that one extreme emotion did not negate or soften the other. Joy and despair existed simultaneously. Sometimes weaving together, other times sprinting side by side.” Yes, so beautifully captured and expressed. Profound joy, exquisite sorrow co-exist.

    • Dana  March 19, 2016 at 5:27 pm Reply

      Thank you so much Terry, I know you understand that all too well.

  30. Nina  March 18, 2016 at 1:21 pm Reply

    This is a gift for others who have been through this and want to know others have been there too and for those in the thick of it now. And of course so well written.

    • Dana  March 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for reading this, Nina, your support means so much to me 🙂

  31. gloria  March 17, 2016 at 2:54 pm Reply

    In October, as I continued to grieve my 28 year old daughter, who we unexpectedly lost on 6/22/15. from diabetes complications, my oldest daughter tells me she is pregnant. So many mixed emotions, not my usual unabashed joy at the prospect of a new grandchild. Now Auntie Laura will not be here for this new little one, one more thing she will miss. Life is going on, our family is growing, but she is not here. As happy as I am, I am filled with sadness. I don’t want to say anything, but I am praying they name her Laura, or some variation. I don’t want to hurt my daughter by not being totally involved in her pregnancy this time, but it is just so hard. Thank you for this article. Once again, gives me guidance to deal with this on my own timeline.

    • Dana  March 17, 2016 at 3:54 pm Reply

      Gloria, thank you for sharing your story here. It makes absolute sense that your joy of becoming a grandmother is dulled by the death of your daughter. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can imagine it must be terribly hard to support and celebrate with your daughter while still mourning your other child. Do what you can to take care of yourself and your grief. I’m glad this article resonated with you.

  32. Kristen  March 17, 2016 at 2:21 pm Reply

    Dana, what a wonderful way you have in guiding women through what is a bittersweet time. I can only imagine what the experience must have been like for you and others going through something like this. In reading this I am sure so many others will now be able to find solace and comfort in your words of support that you offer here.

    • Dana  March 17, 2016 at 3:45 pm Reply

      Thank you all so much for your comments. I’m very glad my story and this post resonates with you, and at the same time, I’m terribly sorry for the losses you’ve endured.

      • Dana  March 17, 2016 at 3:46 pm

        Sorry, Kristen, I didn’t realize I could respond individually! Thank YOU for this comment and for all your support 🙂

  33. Lori Ives-Baine  March 17, 2016 at 1:16 pm Reply

    You have described what I support and educate grieving parents on every day- your description of your journey/self-care epitomizes loss of a child, a partner or a parent or even the waves associated with the loss of a pet or valued friend. THANK YOU- I have already sent it off to a few currently pregnant wonderful moms I support!

    • Dana  March 17, 2016 at 3:48 pm Reply

      Lori, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing this!

  34. Mandy  March 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm Reply

    My boyfriend passed away when I was 3 months pregnant with our first child. We were both in recovery from drugs and alcohol and he had a relapse and died of an overdose in a hotel room. He had been acting weird for only a week and the last conversation we had I told him I thought he was using again and I would leave him if he didn’t change. He promised he wasn’t using and he would change when he got back from this work trip. The next day he was found dead. The grief I felt was so overwhelming because it was so sudden and it took months to find out the entire truth of what happened. I felt no joy or connection to my baby. I felt he had totally robbed me from that joy. My relationship with God was strengthen as I prayed for my heart to be heeled and the strength to forgive and accept what happened. I leaned on women in my program and talked about everything going on in my head. It was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. My son is now 7 months old and the good days now outweigh the bad.

    This past week another man I know passed away. As I went to comfort my friend his girlfriend, I could feel her pain and how lost she was. I remember when my sister was going back home after David had passed I looked at her in envy and said I wish I could leave here and go back to my normal life. It has now been a year since David passed. I now have a new normal life with our son. My heart broke as I saw the place in grief where my friend was at. When you life is turned upside down and you don’t think you can move on. My journey in grief was so painful but I have grown so much. Being pregnant was so hard because all I wanted to do was share that with David. I look back now with such gratitude because he gave me the greatest gift of my life#

    • Dana  March 17, 2016 at 3:50 pm Reply

      Mandy, I’m so sorry for your loss. That must have been such a hard time for you, and really still must be, since your son is only 7 months old. But I’m glad to hear the good days are outnumbering the bad, and I hope you continue to speak about your loss and connect with others who understand. Thank you for reading and this comment.

      • Mandy  March 17, 2016 at 8:15 pm

        Thank you for sharing your story!

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