search discussions

glow in the woods

front page
the archives
what is this place?
the contributors
comment policy

Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

not ttc | infertility after loss > This place

I thought I would begin a conversation here. Welcome. I suppose this is a board for those of us who find ourselves not ttc or unable to do so even if we did, for those in a different space physically or mentally, whether it is because we are not ready, not willing or just cannot. This is where I have been these last three years. It's where I am most comfortable.

People often ask me how many children I have, I answer "one here", sometimes I elaborate, other times I don't. Always they offer "you must try again" and when they hear I have a living son, the next line is always "you must have a girl". I had a girl, I do have her and I love her dearly but she just isn't here. There are times when I want to ttc, other times I am simply happy here being here, in this place.

I like to say between his life and her death. I am at peace here.
May 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJo-Anne
I am unable to have anymore children,I do have 4 LC,I lost my first son to stillbirth at age 17 & I'm 38 now. I had sudden,severe preeclampsia with my last pregnancy & I can finally say I'm in an okay place. Ive found that my grief has changed as the years have gone by. I still think about my son but I don't cry anymore-well almost never.
May 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJust a mom
i have no desire for another kid. my son in heaven is enough for me right now. plus, i'm single and enjoying it. so that throws a kink in things.

i'm trying to figure out where my fulfillment in life will come from without a child. i know it's possible. my career is very satisfying, so that helps.

it's nice to have this forum.

May 7, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterald
As someone who is 'ttc', I see the sparse posts on this forum and I have to wonder whether those who are 'not ttc' might be better able to transition to the new phase of their lives and end up better off emotionally. This looks more and more attractive all the time.
May 20, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteranon
Hmm...I don't know. There is pain and relief in the decision for me, that often doesn't require many words. Surely, there is some rest in not ttc after getting to a place of acceptance. I'm tired, physically and emotionally. Most days, I'm not up for pregnancy. I tell myself life is short, and a perfect amount of kids, or a rainbow baby, or being able to prove to myself I can mother a healthy baby again, is taking away from the life I have right now. I tell myself I matter too. That this is my first big blow in a series of life hurts. I'm determined to live with and in what I'm given. I do have two living children. I did this 3 times, it's not my fault my third child died. So for me, yes, I guess there is less inner turmoil, although it does require one keep going without the exquisite gift of a new baby to love...and there must be no comparison to that. I kept hearing moms say eventually the desire for another baby outweighed the fear. My situation was traumatic enough for me that the fear hasn't outweighed the desire- and I am gentle with myself over the reality of that.

We aren't ttc, but we are hoping to adopt. Possibly. This feels more healthy for us.
May 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElaina
I don't think the lack of posts here is any indicator that this is the emotionally simpler, or better off, route. There are several of us who haven't "chosen" not to TTC, but for many reasons, are not able to, or have been battered too badly to consider it, or have such low probability of a good outcome that it isn't worth risking a precious life. The decision has been made for us. And it hurts deeply.

I have been down both roads, having lost 2 sons (in separate instances, 7 years apart). By far, after losing Zachary (our second deceased child), it has been more heartbreaking to know there is no hope for another child, that my living son had his baby brother for only 2 weeks..., and will never have another living sibling. Despite the stress of TTC, and the worry throughout a subsequent pregnancy, and the parenting after loss issues - for me, in the years after the loss of our first son, B.W., the route of hope was much, much more palatable.

As someone who finds herself in this category, participating in this board, I find the hurt is so deep, so personal and oh so tender. I find I don't have much to say because there is not much to rally around (as opposed to what I assume happens in the TTC forum). Also, I find that my thoughts and feelings tend to come out quite often as anger and jealousy as it relates to this topic. I even have a hard time accepting that other loss mothers go on to have another child/children. Particularly when they have their second subsequent child. Gasp, I know. Every time I hear of a subsequent healthy birth, while I would never wish a loss mother to lose another child..., that scenario is my actual reality, and so there is a serious twinge of pain. My subsequent child died. I had the "courage" and "hope" to try to have another, and he ultimately DIED TOO.

So, here I am. As ugly as it is. Will try to be as honest as I can, here, whilst attempting not to offend anyone who finds themselves here in a much different situation.

Elaina - I loved what you said...

"...keep going without the exquisite gift of a new baby to love...and there must be no comparison to that."

How exquisite it would be. This is one of the hardest parts.
May 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen
"I find I don't have much to say because there is not much to rally around (as opposed to what I assume happens in the TTC forum). Also, I find that my thoughts and feelings tend to come out quite often as anger and jealousy as it relates to this topic. I even have a hard time accepting that other loss mothers go on to have another child/children."

Gretchen, I think you may have hit the nail on the head here. There just isn't much to rally around. It's just more....solemn here. It's more of a space where we are anchored in the weight of life...and choosing, or having, to stay here. I don't doubt those who TTC experience the same pain of loss, but there also exists a tremendous amount of difference in framing the narrative that is the rest of our lives...the after effect of our baby(s) dying.

Maybe what we need here most is honesty. Honesty that with each unpopular lot (baby death, no subsequent baby, or worst of all, another baby dying), we get further and further into isolation. Isolation breeds shame, bitterness, envy, etc. We have a lot to protect against, many natural things to practice resilience with and to. It's not an easy path, in any sense of the world, over here in not-ttc-land.

I was pouring myself into a loss blog of a friend not knowing she was pregnant three months after her loss and expecting very soon. I can't read her stuff anymore and felt tricked, as if she was skipping over some of the agony I couldn't, hiding this little secret that was about to bring the most fresh joy and gratitude to her life, guilt she had the courage to try again and I didn't. Is this true? Is this fair? Is it even the path I'd want to take, or one that feels best for my heart and soul and family? No. But, in different circumstances, or at different times in my life, it may have. I can respect those who TTC and be happy for them, and be filled with bitterness and resentment and comparison at the same time, and not want to deal with it.

I do still find I need some hope for a new story to come out of this loss, but I'm not sure that's in the form of an adopted baby, either. I remind myself a new story is always unfolding, however small or insignificant it may be. I don't reach for the stars anymore, I just find solace in the space that is. Most days.

I know it's tough to be honest here, but I wonder at the risk of offending those who TTC, we are doing ourselves a diservice to not speak authentically about the feelings involved in not. We want to be supportive, but our hearts are tender, and our walk is different. All of our stories are so different, so we come together in what we can relate to.

Love to all of you!
May 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElaina
Oh, dear. I didn't mean to cause pain. I was hoping it was true for all of you so it could be for me.
May 25, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteranon
Oh gosh, no worries. You didn't cause anything- we are all just trying to understand each other and in those hard conversations is where the magic of connection, challenge and growth occurs.
May 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElaina
Elaina and Gretchen, you've said everything I'm thinking and feeling far better than I could have expressed. Unexplained secondary infertility after loss is a special prison from which there is no release. I have found it to be a truly unique form of loneliness, and that's really saying something as losing Anna pretty much put us on an island by ourselves in the first place. We have adapted and survived but I'm so glad to see this new area on GITW exists as I found all the ttc and rainbow talk provoked such strong and contradictory emotions I would avoid checking in here .... of the few resources for bereaved parents this site has resonated with me in a way none of the others have and I'm so thankful to know that I'm not alone in my experience of unfulfilled hopes and dreams of a rainbow baby
August 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuz