A guest post by Emily Greentree.
Emily is a nurse who blogs on all aspects of motherhood at Tealady Mumbles.
She gave birth to her first daughter in 2013, 12 months after suffering an ectopic pregnancy. She has written extensive, moving posts on her experiences during the ectopic pregnancy and her fear of getting pregnant again following it.
In this post she shares her thoughts on how she coped following the ectopic pregnancy.
Coping After an Ectopic Pregnancy
After I had been treated for my ectopic pregnancy and discharged from the Early Pregnancy Unit, I didn’t know what to do.
I didn’t know how to feel.
I felt alone, and wanted some support. My emotions were everywhere!
I wasn’t sure I wanted another baby. And I was terrified of falling pregnant in the three months after my treatment in case the methotrexate drugs I was treated with hurt the baby.
Having an ectopic pregnancy took over my life for a good four months. If you have had the misfortune to suffer an ectopic pregnancy, I really do hope my experiences can help you to start moving forward.
I will never forget my ectopic pregnancy, and what could have been, and it it still a very painful memory for me. But I have moved on, and I have had a beautiful baby girl, so don’t give up hope.
1. Rest and Recuperate!
You will feel tired and emotional – don’t try and get back to normal too quickly. If you have had none surgical drug treatment with methotrexate, you may feel like you should get better sooner – but it is a powerful drug and you need to recover.
2. Eat Well!
Get family or friends to fill your fridge with ready meals or healthy snacks so that you don’t have to think too much, but you must eat to help your recovery. It will help you feel better both physically and mentally.
3. Find a New Interest
It is hard not to obsess about what might have been. I started taking photographs at this time, and started using Instagram. I also started reading again and listening to music, which is always therapeutic for me. It helped to have something new for me to do.
4. Folic Acid
Talk to your doctor if and/or when you want to try and get pregnant again. If you have taken methotrexate, your GP will need to prescribe you a stronger dose of Folic Acid, as methotrexate severely depletes your stores of folic acid. You should really take it for a while before you try again to get pregnant, to make sure your body has what it needs.
5. Talk to your Partner
I had a lot of sympathy when this happened to me; I really felt for my partner, who had to go to work the very next day after it had happened to us. I talked to him a lot about it, and tried to give him space to come to terms with things too.
6. Find Support
If you find things difficult, talk to your Early Pregnancy Unit midwife or GP – they can get counselling for you if required. I found a lot of support on-line, on forums such as those on the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust. They answered my questions and it was reassuring to read other people’s experiences.
7. Set Yourself Achievable Targets
First of all it was to get dressed. Next it was to leave the house and go for a walk. Every day I tried to get myself to do something. You may find it hard but once I had got out of the door, and had a little walk, I did feel much better.
8. Give Yourself Time
It is very easy to say ‘I want to try again straight away’ but you need to get your body back to normal first, let your body and mind heal, and give yourself time to grieve.
As I had methotrexate, I couldn’t try again for 3 months (you need to let the methotrexate leave your system as it can cause deformities). This was agonising as the choice had been taken from me. As it was I got pregnant again straight away after those 3 months. Those three months in hindsight were a very good break. I think the longer you give yourself, the better.
If you feel full of emotion, then write. You don’t have to show anyone, but it can really help you get those emotions out. I write poetry and I have also written on my blog about my experiences. I wish I had written them sooner, as it really helped me come to terms with what happened. You could also draw, paint – try and express yourself creatively.
I want to remember my first experience of pregnancy, even if it was traumatic. It has helped me become the person I am today. If you feel like you want to, remember this in a positive way. Light a candle, say a prayer, listen to some music. My due date was on my birthday so even though it is very emotional, I take a little time out each year to remember this life that never was.
If you found Emily’s post helpful you might also enjoy some of her other posts …