Love. Grief. Anxiety. Fear. Exhaustion. Worry. All while trying to find hope and experience joy.
 
This is pregnancy after loss.
 
The ignorant bliss of a normal pregnancy is gone.
 
You want to feel joy, and fear steps in the way.

RELATED: Pregnancy After Loss Requires a Different Kind of Hope

You want to be excited, and the anxiety steps in the way of experiencing the excitement you once knew in pregnancy.
 
Every single day brought new challenges.

We were scared, beyond measure, to fall in love with the tiny human growing inside my belly.

We lived in survival mode, protecting ourselves from the fear of loss and all the things we now know can happen at any moment in pregnancy or birth.
 
But is that fair? Is it fair to stay in the safe zone by trying to not fall in love with him?
No. Not at all.
 
So how do you see past the fear?
We may never . . . but is there a space to hold fear, grief, and love in parallel?
Yes. It may not be easy, but it is possible. 
 
I felt myself growing in new spaces the further along I was even though the same feelings remained.

I was in a constant state of anxiety although able to find moments of joy.

Seeing and hearing his heartbeat.
Feeling the first movement.
Seeing my bump grow.

I loved being pregnant with our first.
 
I wanted to love being pregnant again.

RELATED: Pregnancy After Loss Came With an Unexpected Side Effect

Grieving the loss of your child doesn’t just go away, it grows with you and evolves.
 
Just because parents are expecting or parenting after loss, doesn’t mean they are grieving any less.
 
After hitting 18-weeks on our pregnancy after loss journey, I learned it is possible . . . 

Grief and joy can coexist.

Originally published on the author’s Instagram page

Justina Oldehoff

Justina Oldehoff is a mom of two preemie boys, Carter in heaven (1/21/19-1/24/19) and Aron born 10/9/2019 who is home and healthy, and a wife of 11 years to Dan. Following the passing of their son, Carter's Cause Foundation was created to honor Carter's legacy and provide resources and support to NICU families, loss families, and support systems.