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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 > Too scared and too traumatized

I'm just wondering if there is anyone here who is not TTC for a number of reasons, but the most significant one being fear. I hear so much about being brave, as if "trying again" is like stepping up to the plate again in a baseball game. For me "trying again" could mean significant mental and emotional down spiral. It could mean something else could go wrong. It could mean more pain. It could mean health problems. Who knows what it could mean; regardless it is enough to keep me continuing to say, "Oh, hell no" and then untangle myself from the guilt and shame of not being one of the brave ones, pouring myself a drink and trying to see the positives in leaving this behind me.
June 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElaina
I'm with you,Elaina. I will not even attempt to have another baby because mentally/emotionally I cannot take the worry that would go along with it. I've made the decision to enjoy the life I have & the children I do have. I don't think there's anything wrong with not wanting to try again. All in all,I've had 2 losses( 1 very early miscarriage & 1 stillbirth at 28 weeks ) & I know in my heart I cannot bear another loss.
June 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterWandering
I suppose that fear is part of the reason fo rme too,fear of the known and fear of the unknown. Of course we would be! Right?
June 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJo-Anne
Elaina, I don't see trying again as being "brave". I see surviving the experience of losing a baby as brave. Facing each day and continuing to breathe after having your child die. That's the brave part. Whether you have another baby or not, you are already brave. Thinking of you. x
June 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
I agree- surviving loss is brave. Living without a rainbow is brave. But it's not what society would see as brave, necessarily. For some reason, I go down a dark path at times of feeling as if I'm a coward. "Don't let FEAR dictate your family size" a friend with 3 healthy kids told me (and no loss). Well, I was brave. And it didn't work out. And now I'm being brave again- but I'm not being brave with "trying again" ...because of fear. It's just a hard thing to wrap my mind around and come to terms with. Sometimes I can own it and sometimes I can't.
June 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElaina
Dear Elaina, I did not have any more children after my daughter died. Because of fear. I was scared to death, literally. I told everyone and their brother who talked about me trying again that I would kill myself and the baby. Suicide, plain and simple. I was 32 when my baby died and for 15 years I lived on home pregnancy tests. I bought them by the dozen. One time, the test came up positive. I turned around and was horribly sick to my stomach, collapsed onto the bathroom floor crying hysterically. I called the O.B., they said come right in, NOW. I didn't realize until later they didn't even have office hours that day. The O.B. came in for me. He sent me across the street to the hospital for a blood test and sat in his office talking to me until the results came in negative. Sitting there, I did have some second thoughts about killing myself. I still did not want to be pregnant.

It seems to me that I felt/feel two distinct fears: One, fear of the baby dying again; and two, fear for myself, that I would go back to hell and be lost in the abyss. I could not face either one. I could not imagine surviving either one.

I have older children. They have given me 5 grandchildren, three in the last 11 months. I doubled my antidepressents, tranquilizers, and sleeping medications during the pregnancies. ;-D When they were growing up, I fought the fear and did let them do things that are dangerous, I did learn to control my reactions, but not the fear. I learned to live with it, not to ignore it or get rid of it.

Yes, I understand not wanting to risk another pregnancy. Makes sense to me. There is more to life than having babies, as wonderful as they can be. You know that, obviously. All of us come to that realization eventually, whether through fear, infertility, or just deciding enough is enough and the baby making years are done. Despite all the logic and rationalization, we go with our gut feelings. Is it time to have a baby or not? We make the decision and then decide why. :-)

You are not alone in this. Yes, others of us do not choose to even try for another child. We do what is best for us and for those we love. Peace to you in your decision, Elaina.
June 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.
I am one of those who has used “be brave” to encourage others. I think my use of it could be misconstrued as only applying to trying again, but I really mean it for facing life after a loss such as ours. It is so easy to give in to the anger, the darkness, the depression following a loss, to just be swept away by the waves of grief. I use “be brave” to remind those of us here to find the will to come up for air, to pick one’s self up when we’ve fallen to our knees. I use it to face the hardship of trying again, but I also use it to encourage others who don’t want to try again. Because to me getting off the infertility train takes a lot of bravery too. To face a path head on you are forced to take, and reinvent your life absent of children you most desperately wanted calls for its own special kind of bravery that I, myself, am not sure I have.
November 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnna, mum to Jordan
I’m really struggling with this concept. I even find that in a lot of the grief / stibirth literature, “success” is defined by eventually having “your rainbow baby”. It’s infuriating!! My stillbirth was my first pregnancy and everyone and their dog is assuring me that I’ll be ok because I can always “try again”, implying that I would be a failure if I didn’t eventually have another baby. Is my life, and all I’ve accomplished thus far, totally invalid now that I’ve had a stillbirth? Courage, for me, is getting up and putting my two feet on the floor each day, and choosing to live.
December 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterElena
I appreciate you posing this question, Elaina. I felt like I might be alone in feeling similarly.

I am squarely situated in the "Oh, hell no" camp. My first child's life ended in a TFMR as he had very severe Trisomy 18. That was in July. He was a gift I hadn't been searching for, didn't know I needed. I honestly thought that I was infertile (and okay with that), being only 30 years old and having been NTNP for the past 8 years. My heart is still broken and belonging only to my son right now. It may seem juvenile and I feel like stomping my feet and pouting that I don't want a rainbow - that's a *different* baby. I want MY baby. Cue inner tantrum.

The fear also exists that--in a future I can't comprehend--what if I finally do desire a sibling for my sweet baby boy... and I have issues trying to conceive, or have to face another genetic anomaly, or something else horrible that I've only learned about since being sent down this road, this alternate dimension? Sometimes I feel like an evil person for what I did, so maybe it's best if 'mother' isn't a label publicly attached to me. I still need to sort this out in my head and heart, though his due date approaches so quickly and I can't think of anything else but him. Fear and despair abound.

Sending you love and light.
December 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLight's Mama