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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 > Giving your rainbow a sibling or not?

I've been struggling with the decision whether to try to have another baby after our rainbow, and would appreciate any wisdom or advice. My thought processes on this are marred by our previous loss, so I know I'm over thinking and being a little unreasonable. But I just need to vent these ideas somewhere, and Glow has always been my safest refuge.

Our story: our first baby was stillborn in 2012 and we were devastated. They diagnosed a chromosome abnormally, which wasn't inherited from either my husband or myself. So we were told low probability of happening again. Our 2nd baby was born healthy in 2014, at 38 weeks after 6 weeks of bed-rest.

I'm 39 now, so my husband and I are thinking we need to make up our minds whether to try to have one more baby or not. We're actually grateful to have our son, happy that he's healthy and over the sleepless baby period. We live abroad, away from our family and don't have much of a support system or very close friends to surround our son. His only 2 cousins live far away and he can only see them 1/2 times a year. We think it would be great to give him a sibling, they will have someone to care about them and share their childhoods when we get old/pass away. However, I also worry that the sibling could be born with a handicap or issue that would only put a premature responsibility on our son. I would hate to put him under a burden from the start. I also worry about another loss, not only how it would affect my husband and myself, but our innocent son who doesn't even know about 'death' yet.

As mentioned above, I'm not so eager to start again, with the worries and stress of another (possible) pregnancy, loss, bed rest, and of course the first few years of a child who are physically and emotionally draining. My husband and I have yearly work contracts, so we don't have job guarantees. If we have only 1 child, we would probably be OK, and 2 means more responsibility. But then I miss the baby stages of my son, which passed too fast and sometimes I feel I couldn't enjoy them 100% because I was so afraid and waiting for the other shoe to drop. And worst of all, I find myself worrying about losing my child, and being left a grieving parent without a child (once again). What if this happens after I'm able to conceive again and have a child to love? Will I regret that we never tried for another baby while we still could (assuming we can)?I can even go to darkest places, countering myself by thinking: you could have 2 children AND lose them both. This of course causes me to lose all sense of reason in my thinking processes.

Sorry for rambling! Glow is the only place I can express these crazy thoughts. Dear fellow baby-loss parents, has anyone been there? Do you have any wisdom to share? Thank you all in advance! I
September 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEYR
Dear EYR,
I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby. I think one of the crappiest things about babyloss is you live out the rest of your days knowing, in a not hypothetical way, that anything can happen - and does -- without rhyme or reason. We lost our 3rd baby at term, and for a while, there was nothing I wanted more than to give my living children the baby that they didn't get. The more time that passes, the less I can countenance the risks involved. Don't get me wrong, we would welcome another in a heartbeat if that happened, but anything riskier than a stork delivery is hard to wrap my head around.
I wish I were more help here. Siblings are amazing, and you'd never regret another healthy baby. But families can be made up in any way. Hugs to you and I hope you find a path forward that brings you peace.
September 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJ
Dear J,
Thank you so much for your response and sharing your story! I'm sorry to hear about the baby you lost. It must have been so difficult for you and your children to face this big pain. I understand completely how you're afraid of all the risks, I am also very scared. On top of the pain of losing a baby, seeing their innocence shatter this way must be really hard for you. Wishing you and your family all the best, and a big hug back from me.
September 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEYR
EYR—I hear you—we are struggling with the same decision. Our daughter was stillborn at 28 weeks a little more than 4 years ago (placental abruption) and our son will be 3 in December. I turn 39 in a few weeks. We live far away from family too (our son hasn’t met his cousins, they live on the other side of the planet—literally we’re on the US east coast, they live in New Zealand). My pregnancy with our son was high risk (I had two early losses before the stillbirth, I have a uterine anomaly, gestational diabetes with my son plus like you, old age)...anyway, I’m just not sure about the physical/emotional toll of a pregnancy, but I see siblings playing together, I love my own sisters...and I want that for him. I mean, he’s be fine without but wouldn’t it be nice? So we’re giving ourselves a few more months to talk about it...sending you peace, mama.
October 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAB
Dear AB,
Thank you for listening! Sorry about your stillborn daughter and the miscarriages. We're also really torn between the image of siblings and the fear of upsetting the balance we have right now. We also will take some more time to consider this - maybe a year or so... But the longer we wait, the more difficult it will be. I wish we could somehow predict the future...
Wishing you strength and peace to make the right decision for your family.
October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEYR
Dear EYR,

I'm on a similar boat. My daughter Maia died two days after being born by emergency c section. I had a concealed placental abruption at 39 weeks. This was in 2014. Everything changed after that.

We have a two year old son. I'm 38, live in a far away country away from our families and have very little support locally. It has taken so much effort to reach some sort of peace, living with a broken heart and enjoying our son at the same time.

My fears are similar to yours. I feel I need two more years or so to be ready, or less not ready if that makes sense. But I don't have two years. I'm super high risk as it is, I really don't want to pile up more bad odds. I also fear having a girl. Somehow I can make peace with having two boys and never knowing how raising a girl would be, as my girl died. But if a third baby is a girl... I just know it'll be that much harder. Especially the early months. My son still looks a bit like Maia and he's a toddler. I don't know. Would I cope? Yes, I'd love that child. Would she forever be a reminder of the one that died?? I don't know. And it'd be horribly unfair to her. Of course, odds are 50/50 but you know how it is...

I also think that another child will change our family dynamics. And I don't know if I'm ready. I wish I had more time. But clock's ticking so only have a few more months to keep pondering and worrying and overthinking this!

Sending peace to you, whatever you decide to do.

October 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGaby
Dear Gaby,
Thank you!
Sorry to hear about your sweet Maia. I wish she were still with you. Yes, so many fears and questions on so many levels. Are we ready, is our family ready?Are our living children ready? Can we face another risk? Whatever we decide, it will never change the fact that we lost our firstborns. In my case, any baby or child, regardless of the gender reminds me of my baby, so I guess I'd be OK with either gender if I ever take the plunge.
More time would be so welcome, but I guess we can't stop the clock from ticking. Sending you courage, whichever choice you make, and please go easy on yourself.
A big hug to you as well.
October 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEYR