Jump to content

Losing your mom while pregnant


Mrs.RTH

Recommended Posts

  • Members

My mom is dying of cancer in hospice care right now and I am 25 weeks pregnant with my first baby and her first grandchild. We found out she was dying three weeks after we found out I was pregnant. The whole reason my husband and I moved up our timeline to have a baby was so my mom would get to see her grandchild. She was supposed to still have a few years left, but two days before Christmas we got the news that the cancer had spread, gone from slow-growing to fast-growing and there was nothing they could do anymore. I was hoping she would live to see her grandbaby, but unless there is a major miracle that isn't going to happen. I'm not due until August 3rd and my mom has really started to go downhill this past week. She can't stand or walk anymore, she's having bad lymph swelling (one of the places the cancer spread) and her cognition has been getting worse. Today she couldn't remember how to do anything or follow simple instructions or explainations. She's had an colostomy for a few years. Yesterday she remembered how to empty and change her pouch no problem. Today she couldn't remember how to do any of it and couldn't follow or understand basic instructions on how to do it. She also wasn't able to follow simple conversations or form coherent thoughts or sentences. I noticed the last few days she only eats a few bites of food at each meal. Since she's going down hill so rapidly I'm guessing we're in the last weeks here.

Watching my mom dying has really taken a lot of joy out of my pregnancy. Had I known she was this sick already I would never have chosen to get pregnant when I did. I don't know how I'm supposed to cope with losing my mom and then having a baby a couple months later. On top of that, we found out at our 20 week ultrasound that our baby has birth defects (a cleft lip and palate) that will make feeding difficult and require 7-10 surgeries and therapy to fix. So I'm going to have to deal with taking care of a special needs newborn (and I have never taken care of a newborn before) at the same time as I'm dealing with the grief of losing my mom with only a two or three month gap in between the two events. I don't know how to deal with all that at once. Since stress is bad for the baby i've been coping by just not thinking about it because when I do it sends me into a downward spiral or grief and depression. But once she's gone "just not thinking about it" isn't really possible. Especially since stumbling through the new experience of motherhood myself will be a constant reminder that my own mom is no longer there. Giving birth to your baby should be a joyful event and mine will be tainted with sadness since my mom won't be there. I just want to have that unbridled joy of a new baby that everyone else has. I'm an only child so I don't have any siblings to turn to for support and my dad is really struggling with his own grief. My husband was supportive for the first few weeks after we found out my mom was dying, but now he just gets irritated with my depression (another reason to cope by just not thinking about it) and thinks I shouldn't be affected by this until she actually dies. I have a few friends that are pretty supportive and have offered to help me any way they can. But one of my best friends has never even bothered to ask me how I'm doing or how my mom is doing. She almost lost her father a year ago and just had a baby herself so I would think she would be somewhat sympathetic. I know some people aren't comfortable talking about death, but even if I bring something up about my mom or how I'm struggling with this, she just ignores it and changes the subject. The other day I mentioned I might cancel my baby shower because my mom has gotten a lot worse this past week and I think she's probably going to die before my shower is scheduled. I don't think I'll feel up for a baby shower just a couple weeks after she passes. All my friend said in response is "you could just have a shower after he is born instead". Not "how is your mom doing?" or "how are you holding up" or "I'm so sorry you're having to go through this, let me know if you need anything". The lack of support really hurts and makes it harder to deal with all of this. Has anyone else had to deal with losing a parent while pregnant? How did you cope with everything? Sorry this is so long, I just had to get everything out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Mrs.RTH,

I am so sorry you are have such a tough time. I'm sure this is all overwhelming at times. I wanted to tell you that first of all, my nephew was born with a cleft pallet. Yes there were some adjustments we all had to make in our lifestyle (he lived with us at home as a child), but we quickly adapted and it was really not too bad. Even under the best of circumstances, babies born perfectly healthy will rock your world, but parents learn to manage. You will get to know your little guy and be just fine.

It is very sad and unfortunate your mom may not get to know him, but you can have the pleasure of telling him all about her. I understand that is certainly no substitute, but I like to think that things happen for a reason, even if we don't know or understand the reason. It brings me comfort in knowing that someone Bigger than me is in charge, even if it frustrates and confuses me.

Your friend may be too stressed out and absorbed in her own grieving and stress to notice anyone else's problems, or she may be chosing to ignore it because she is overwhelmed.

As far as the baby shower, that will be a time when friends will be able to offer you much support and encouragement. Plus, it will be a way for you to gather things you will need for your baby. Canceling it will only add a weight to your shoulders because you may regret it later. How about simplifying it instead or paring it down? If your mom stabilizes, what about having one soon in her hospital room so she can be a part of it?

When my mother-in-law went through this, we honestly thought several times she was not going to make it, but then she rallied for months longer.

We wish you the best. Keep us informed. We are thinking about you.

ModKonnie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Mrs.RTH,

I am so sorry you are have such a tough time. I'm sure this is all overwhelming at times. I wanted to tell you that first of all, my nephew was born with a cleft pallet. Yes there were some adjustments we all had to make in our lifestyle (he lived with us at home as a child), but we quickly adapted and it was really not too bad. Even under the best of circumstances, babies born perfectly healthy will rock your world, but parents learn to manage. You will get to know your little guy and be just fine.

It is very sad and unfortunate your mom may not get to know him, but you can have the pleasure of telling him all about her. I understand that is certainly no substitute, but I like to think that things happen for a reason, even if we don't know or understand the reason. It brings me comfort in knowing that someone Bigger than me is in charge, even if it frustrates and confuses me.

Your friend may be too stressed out and absorbed in her own grieving and stress to notice anyone else's problems, or she may be chosing to ignore it because she is overwhelmed.

As far as the baby shower, that will be a time when friends will be able to offer you much support and encouragement. Plus, it will be a way for you to gather things you will need for your baby. Canceling it will only add a weight to your shoulders because you may regret it later. How about simplifying it instead or paring it down? If your mom stabilizes, what about having one soon in her hospital room so she can be a part of it?

When my mother-in-law went through this, we honestly thought several times she was not going to make it, but then she rallied for months longer.

We wish you the best. Keep us informed. We are thinking about you.

ModKonnie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
Daffodilfun

I don't know what you are going through. I do know that it is a very bad time. I think your friends and husband don't support you because they don't know how. They are scared, grieving and afraid that anything they say will be upsetting to you or themselves.

You have to do what is right for you. Do you have anyone to talk to besides your friends and husband? A minister, counselor or a grief counselor? The hopice worker is there to help you also. Talk to that person.

One thing I believe is that if your mom doesn't survive before they baby is born she will be with you anyway. She will be in the room, she will hold the baby, she will touch you with her love but mostly she will love you for the gift you have given to her even though physically she won't be there. She will be there.

Blessing,

Sally

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Mrs RTH -

You are going though a lot of events all at once. I can sympathize in that I lost my mother before I had a chance to get pregnant and now won't have her around when that time comes. I have a brother, but he's not exactly who I would talk to about "pregnancy stuff". I didn't realize until Mom was gone how much I was actually looking forward to those conversations. We had a brief moment when we THOUGHT I was pregnant, Mom was absolutely glowing. It turned out I wasn't -- and Mom was bummed. She was really looking forward to being a Grandma. I try to take comfort in the fact that Mom now gets to hand-pick her grandbabies. Which, of course, means that she can be sure that the "Mom Curse" (kids just like me) comes true.

I hope that your husband and friends come around for you. Just keep reminding your husband why it is hitting you so hard even before she has passed. I am sending positive thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Kitty

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I know this is a few years old, so I hope you see this and respond. I am going through a similar situation right now. I am 28 weeks pregnant, my dad has been sick with cancer. Recently, they determined that there is nothing else they can do and he is declining very quickly. Also, my son has Spina Bifida and we just found out at my 20 week ultrasound. I hope we can connect as it seems like you went through something very similar to what I'm dealing with right now. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Hi, I am so sorry about what you are all going through ❤

 

I am 29 and last November we were lucky enough to find out we are pregnant with our first baby! Shared the news with our loved ones almost straight away and everyone could not be happier for us, especially my mum! She was so much looking forward to it and I know there could not be a better grandma than her! As we now live in different countries, we were sad that not only we haven't seen each other since pre-pandemic times, but also now it would be difficult for me to safely travel before the baby is born.

 

2 weeks ago my mum's health deteriorated extremely quickly - we found out her ocular melanoma (eye cancer) has vastly spread to the liver and possibly other organs and the oncologist said the  case is too advanced for any treatment and we should treat each month we spend with her as a gift for god... I am now entering my second trimester and hearing this news broke me... My beloved mum, my best friend, only 56 years old and she is dying and will not be with us within the next few weeks, never even able to meet her grandchild....

 

I did not hesitate for a moment and booked my fligths to temporarily move back home with my parents leaving my partner behind. I am so grateful that he fully supports my decision although I know I will miss him dearly over the next months - he cannot visit me due to work (emergency worker) and not being the national of my home country (current border restrictions).

 

I am currently with my parents, full time carer for my mum (splitting this with my dad) and then at nights I spend 4-5h catching up on work - thankfully my bosses were very understanding and allowed that. Then on top of that I am in my last year of uni and still have my dissertation to write :D easy to say that is the last thing on my mind at the moment!

 

I feel lucky that I managed to travel back when I did as my mum still has all of her cognitive abilities even though she is very weak and needs assistance with everything. Being able to chat with her about life, about my pregnancy and everything else while i massage her swollen feet has been such a blessing ❤ I do not even want to think about the time when that is gone and all is left is her in pain....

 

I am cherishing every single moment with her, trying to make as many memories. I love her so dearly, she is an amazing, kind and loving human being and it is just not fair that she is leaving us so soon... I am doing my best to just focus on the now, for both my mum and my baby's sake but sometimes it is hard....

 

If anyone is going through something similar right now - I see you and I feel you! This is one of the hardest things you have to go through in your life but you will find courage to do it - for your baby and for your mum who will always love you no matter where she is ❤

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Hi, my mum had a brain hemmorage and diagnosed with Alzheimer's when I was pregnant with my daughter I spent my ninth month settling her into a secure Alzheimer's unit, it was an extremely stressful time, I lost my mum in October and then my Dad in December and am also an only child. I totally understand how you feel in terms of being pregnant and going through this awful time aswell, my advice would be to focus now on your mum and enjoy your time with her as much as you can, there will come a day when you will give absolutely anything to have this time back again nomatter how bad it gets. I wish I'd asked my dad to write something for my children that I could give them when they are older as they will never know their grandparents so that might be something you could maybe try with your mum on her more lucid days so your baby will have something from her. Lastly please be kind to yourself it is so so hard, if you ever need to chat I'm here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I stumbled across this thread while googling how to deal with the loss of a parent while pregnant. I see it’s been years since the original post. Now it’s happening to me. 
 

The last months have been hellish for my family. In November, my parents got Covid. My mother was a doctor and she must have got it from an infected, asymptomatic coworker. My dad had no symptoms; my mom didn’t get the pulmonary afflictions most patients do, but only digestive ones instead. They didn’t need hospitalization and self quarantined at home. I was scared out of my mind. I came to see them at the window. My mom had survived breast cancer in 2018 - she was undergoing chemo when I had my wedding, but still came and danced and stayed until morning. It was terrifying, but the 2 weeks passed and I thought it was over. Mom was still feeling bad though - worse, in fact. We all blamed Covid for it. After all, she’d had her routine CT scan in September and was all clear. I thought: what a scare, glad it’s over. 
 

My grandmother was feeling a bit under the weather when my parents got out of quarantine. Days later, she got tested for Covid and turned out positive. She’d never taken the pandemic seriously and only respected the restrictions while my parents were there to supervise. With them stuck at home, she took off the mask and had people over and sure enough, one of them brought Covid. She got really sick, really quick. She refused hospitalization until she became so confused due to the lack of oxygen reaching her brain that she eventually accepted. By then, my mom was bedridden. I thought: of course, how can she recover from Covid herself while her own mother, 87 years old, is in hospital and can’t be visited? The stress must be preventing her from getting better. No wonder she’s ill. 
 

On December 27th I got a positive pregnancy test. My husband and I had been trying for a year. I was euphoric. I laughed and cried on the bathroom floor, staring at the 2 lines. My husband heard my cries from the other room and thought it must be another negative test, and I must be crying of anguish. His face when he saw the giant smile on my face... I’ll never forget it. I’ve never experienced such joy. I called my parents immediately. I thought they could use some good news. It was a great day. 
 

My grandmother was discharged as she was no longer contagious and they needed the bed back, badly. She was near comatose. She had lucid days though, and on one of those my parents told her about the pregnancy. I didn’t have much hope for her. She was too weak to hold the phone. I steeled myself for bad news. 
 

I got even worse news on January 6th. Days after grandma’s discharge and not 2 weeks since discovering my pregnancy, my mother, feeling worse and worse, and fearing that this wasn’t just Covid after all, got a CT scan on demand. It revealed stage 4 colon cancer, spread to the liver. She got weaker and weaker. She needed a blood transfusion and daily IVs. There was a lot of confusion in the early days with regard to what to do next - should surgery precede chemo or the other way around? Is it the same cancer as in 2018 or a new one? - while my grandmother deteriorated, my father became consumed by fear and anxiety, and I paralyzed in fear that I’d lose my mother. 
 

“Will I live to see my grandchild?” was her first question at the oncologist’s office. “No promises”. 
 

On January 17th my grandmother died. My mom was too weak to attend the funeral. I begged her to stay home and promised I’d stay home too to keep the baby safe. My dad handled everything alone. 
 

10 days later my parents’ dog died. He was 17. I’d been the first to rub his belly when he was a puppy. By that time my mom was already in the hospital, and our dear furry friend died alone in the backyard. 
 

Initially, our main fear was that the huge tumor in my mother’s colon would cause a blockage and kill her with horrible pain. Even though she felt worse and worse, the tumor shrank. My dad and I were both so relieved. We thought things would start going uphill eventually. Panic drove me to the ER twice, suspecting a miscarriage. Both times the baby turned out to be fine. I was a mess; but not once did I consider that chemo might not cut it. I kept telling her she would be fine eventually, and we would all be together, by the time my baby was born. I got her a new rose to plant in the yard for mother’s day. She said she didn’t know if she’d ever see it in bloom. “Nonsense”, I said. “Of course you will.”

 

She became too frail to make it to the bathroom so my dad got her a potty chair. She couldn’t walk all the way to the car when it was time to go to the hospital - she needed to rest halfway. She couldn’t climb in the bathtub, she used the shower in the smaller bathroom, with a plastic chair to sit on. She couldn’t eat. She threw up all the time. She lost nearly 30kg. And I kept telling myself and my increasingly desperate dad: “it’s OK, it’s normal for cancer to make her sick, it’s normal for chemo to make it feel worse, but it will get better, the tumor shrank, the liver metastases shrank, hang in there. She beat it before.”

 

She went for chemo on April 1st. Her stomach was so bloated, she looked more pregnant than me. I saw her before she went to the hospital. She scared me. She looked half dead; pale, dry skin, and so, so thin. She’d never been thin. I kept my mask on in terror that I might have a bug and infect her. I took her hand and wished her luck. I told my dad she’d be out of the hospital by his birthday on April 5th. 
 

She wasn’t. Test results came out bad. Her liver was failing. They kept her on IVs, drained the fluid in her stomach, sedated her as she was in terrible pain. They put off chemo as she was too weak for it. I made dad a cake and spent his birthday with my husband and him. They had beers and we chatted about nothing for a while. When we went home I told him she’d get better. I truly believed that. I had complete faith that her doctors and will to live would pull her through. 
 

3 days later her oncologist told my dad that she had gone beyond the point of no return. She was so weak she could barely talk. She begged to be taken home. We couldn’t visit because of pandemic restrictions. My dad arranged for an ambulance to take her home the next day as none were available. “Tomorrow”, he promised her on the phone. “Tomorrow.”

 

She passed away that night. 
 

I felt my baby’s first kick 3 days after her funeral, which took place on my husband’s birthday. I never got to see her again alive. I never got to tell her I loved her so so much. I never got to share with her the name we chose for our unborn baby boy. Even after the doctors gave up on her, I hoped beyond reason that she would miraculously recover. She was, after all, the strongest person I knew. I couldn’t believe my dad when he told me, crying. “No” was all I could say. No no no no no. Not possible. Not my mother. Not at 62.  Not in my 5th month of pregnancy. 
 

I don’t know how to express, process, or relieve my pain. I don’t know how to help my destroyed, exhausted, grieving dad. I don’t know how to be a good wife to my husband now, and how to be a good mother to my baby. I’ve been a terrible one so far, with stress and sleeplessness building up, and pregnancy always taking second place as tragedy after tragedy hit me. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know why I’m writing this. But I feel the need to tell it. I’m sorry for all your losses, those who end up, like me, on this thread. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

This site uses cookies We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. and uses these terms of services Terms of Use.