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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.

parenting after loss > The possibility of not trying again

I posted this originally under "Battle Fatigue" under "Trying Again." Juliet responded and suggested I post here:

Is there anyone out there who decided not to have more children? I have healthy 5 year old daughter. In the spring of 2014 I had a miscarriage and D&C at 9 weeks. This September we lost our son William at 33 weeks. It has been devastating and has sent us into a spiral of "what now?" scenarios. I would love to hear from someone who has consciously made the decision to not have more children and feels at peace with that decision. I'm not sure if that is the right decision for us, but I can't believe that this perspective is completely absent.
November 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
I chose not to try for more children after my daughter died. My son was 3 1/2 years old, my daughter was two, and my youngest died shortly after birth. I knew from the get-go I would not have another. It was my gut reaction, no more, never again. I don't know why, I could give you lots of reasons, but they are reasons I have come up with through the years. No way was I risking another child's death.

It has been almost 25 years. I've not regretted it. I would take my daughter back in a heartbeat, even if it meant starting with an infant at my age. :-) But I could not go through another pregnancy.
November 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.
I have fluctuated back and forth. I haven't come to a peaceful place where I can be sure of my decision. We have two living children (4 and almost 7) and in the last three years I have had two missed miscarriages and a stillbirth. I often think that I can't fathom continuing to try, and then I panic. I'm not sure what we'll do. We gave ourselves until the end of this year to continue trying, and if nothing happens, we may close that door.
November 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterR
Laura,

I am definitely not as peace, but have made the decision not to try to have more children. We lost our first child, our son B.W., to stillbirth in 2006. Then had our subsequent surviving son C.T. in 2008. Then, we lost our son Zachary at two weeks old, in 2014. (There was miscarriage in there too, so I can relate to the 2 dimensions of loss you've experienced).

After Zachary died, I just cannot expose my heart to any more heartbreak (beyond the fear that my surviving son will also die). After losing 2 of 3 of my children, there is just no glimmer of hope there anymore. I could NOT cope with a third death.

There is this compelling pull to try to have more children within our community, to find some joy again, especially since many of us are still within child bearing years. It is now very difficult for me to watch and absorb..., difficult to see loss women go on to have 1, 2, 3 subsequent children. I remember when I was one of them.

Everyday it hurts. I desperately wanted every one of my children. I desperately wanted my son C.T. to have a living brother - and then he did - then he watched that brother die. He has two dead brothers and I can't expose him to any more potential heartbreak either.

I wish my story was more uplifting, but it's not. I can relate though that this is a decision which is not popular and of course, is a painful one as you look around, both IRL and in the loss community.

I'm sorry for the loss of your William, and for your struggle as it relates to your future.
November 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen
Laura- My husband and I just made the decision not to try again. We lost our firstborn, Simone, 5 years ago. Our second was a m/c at 9 weeks. Our third, and final, just turned 2. It wasn't an easy decision.I waffled back and forth for a couple of months this year, I think kinda hoping to "see what happens" before I turned 40. I told myself it would be easier to be 'done' trying again if it was on my terms. My husband, couldn't commit emotionally/mentally to the "let's just see what happens plan ". Simone's death, the struggle to conceiive baby # 2 and # 3, and the anxiety/terror surrounding Alexandra's eventual pregnancy and delivery was too much for him. He said he wasn't sure if he could come back from another loss. I love him, and I slowly came around to his viewpoint of our current family. 1) We came back from the abyss. 2) We are living/loving/participating in life again. 3) We have our 2 girls (probably 3!) , one here, two in heaven. 4) We both feel like our life is pretty good right now, and we really 'hope' it's going to only get better.

I'm 40. It took almost 2 years to get my body back after pregnancy # 3 ,and I feeling pretty darn good physically. Coming around to the decision to not try again enabled me to set some goals that I could not have set if I was pregnant/planning to be pregnant.

I think it's more about processing the decision to try/not to try in a way that it makes sense/works for you, and having the support/understanding of people who are walking/have walked in your shoes, like the other mamas above.

It's not easy.. and it's a challenge for me sometimes to see the other daycare moms pregnant with baby # __, but I take a deep breath and tell myself that I don't know their story and they don't know mine, it's life, and life is not always easy.

I wish that they were here, making a ton of noise, and driving us crazy, but I can't change the past.

I hope my sharing helps you in some small way. I'm so so sorry for the loss of your son William, and wish you the very best as you go forward
November 16, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersme
Laura,
I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet William. That is my favorite boy name.

We decided about two years ago not to try again. I have 2 living daughters who are 9 and 7. Our third daughter, Chiara, was stillborn at 37 weeks almost 4 years ago. After she died, all I could think about was trying again. I got pregnant twice, and lost both (12 weeks and 5 weeks). After the last m/c, I just couldn't do it anymore, and honestly, I didn't really want to. I realized that I could probably "force" another pregnancy, but that what I really wanted- my Chiara back- was never going to happen. I decided I would rather focus my energies on my living girls, who are growing up so fast, rather than stay in the stress and terror of ttc and potential pregnancy. I'm 40 now, and feel ready to move to the next phase of my life.
I'm at peace with the choice, but that doesn't mean I don't still feel pangs. My sil just told us she's pregnant with number 3, and it will also be her third girl. We are the same age, and the it's been really hard for me, I'm dreading seeing her at Christmas. I just keep thinking how I should have my three girls here too.
Overall, my life is very happy now, and not trying again has been the right decision, but I still feel frustrated that I didn't get that "win" of a subsequent take home baby.
November 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKate