Deciding whether to try for another baby

Filling the void

Some parents wanted to try for another baby very quickly. They talked about needing to fill the ‘void’ in their lives. Becoming pregnant again offered parents hope and something to focus on. Carly described her need to become pregnant as an obsession ‘I was like a crazy person’. Some parents started trying for another baby straightaway. Others waited a few weeks in case the results of the post mortem or other investigations might help prevent another loss.

Lindsay felt she needed to get pregnant to fill the void in her life.

Age at interview 35

Gender Female

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Vikki Z had an overwhelming desire to have another baby and wanted to know what plans needed to be put in place.

Age at interview 38

Gender Female

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Mixed feelings about trying again after losing a baby

For many parents we spoke to, deciding whether or not to have another baby was not a straightforward decision. In common with parents whose babies are stillborn later in pregnancy many had mixed and complicated feelings about becoming pregnant again. Joelle and Adam really wanted to try again but the fear of reliving the experience and losing another baby was terrifying to them. Asun and David felt they could not go bear to go through the same experience again and wanted to focus on time with their older son.

Alison found that ‘the combination of really wanting a child but also worrying that you had disrespected the child that you’d lost, was quite complicated.’ Kirsty felt that she got pregnant again so quickly that she hadn’t had time to grieve properly. Some parents had experienced fertility problems and so becoming pregnant meant returning to the fertility clinic and starting treatment all over again.

Becoming pregnant again scared Sam because of the risk of losing another baby and she didn’st want to feel like she was replacing her son.

Age at interview 26

Gender Female

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Many parents we spoke to did go on to have another baby. However, some had lost more than one baby or experienced recurrent miscarriages. These parents were very keen on having investigations and treatment to prevent another loss. Some parents were pleased with the care and advice they received and were reassured that they would be well cared for in a future pregnancy. But others felt frustrated and upset that there was no clear plan in place which made planning a future pregnancy hard (for more see ‘Deciding whether to have a post mortem‘).

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Coming to terms with not having another baby

While some parents did not want to try for another child, as they felt their family was complete (e.g. Michelle), other parents described coming to terms with the prospect of not having another child. Emily and Mike discussed the strain it put on them and ‘that although we want a baby, I don’t want one at the detriment of our marriage‘.

Sharon explored adoption and surrogacy after the loss of their third child.

Age at interview 45

Gender Female

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Experiences of a following pregnancy

Many parents we spoke to had been able to have another baby after their loss. They felt very lucky, but often those pregnancies were difficult....