(This is a crosspost from babyandbump as I wasn't sure which forum received more traffic and I am trying to get some input from mothers who have been in my position)
I gave birth to my first child at 17. While he was entirely unplanned, my then boyfriend and now husband and I welcomed him with open arms. We made drastic changes to our life plans so that we could be the best possible parents to him and had an incredible amount of support from our friends and family. I had a normal pregnancy, a relatively normal delivery, and our son was born healthy and happy at 40w3d. We started college, raised our baby, and generally lived a quiet, unremarkable life.
Without going into extensive detail, our son was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia shortly following his 3rd birthday and he passed 6 months later. We were 20 and 21 respectively. His loss almost destroyed us as individuals and as a couple and it took us quite some time to get to a place where we felt we could move forward. We had an incredible amount of support and with the help of our family, an amazing therapist, and each other, we made it out on the other side.
By the time we were in any state to consider trying for another child, we were both in medical school (same city, different programs) and then we were facing down our internships and residencies and potential fellowships. While we both certainly had classmates who had families during this period of their lives, we were fragile enough that we both agree that waiting was the right answer for us.
We are now in our early 30s and finally settled into our careers and into the city we intend to call home going forward. I have an appointment to have my IUD removed next Wednesday and we will be trying in earnest from there. I'm having a lot of emotions about this potential pregnancy and while I fully understand what is happening psychologically and physically, it's a hard thing to talk about with people who haven't been there.
My husband has been absolutely amazing and supportive, but even though he has some general reservations, his overwhelming emotion is excitement. His siblings have both recently had children, so he's had baby fever for a bit now. Don't get me wrong, I am excited as well, but naturally there are a lot of underlying anxieties. I know logically that our son's cancer was not genetic in origin and there was nothing that I did or didn't do during my pregnancy or in the years before he became sick that contributed to the oncologic process. It was just extremely tragic luck.
As mothers who have lost a child, how did you work through these anxieties when it came time to conceive again? I am still seeing a therapist and it was actually her suggestion that I reach out to other mothers in similar situations. I want to be the best possible mother to my future child/children and I do not want them to live with the burden of my grief.