Before I begin, I want to make it clear that no one has said anything to me regarding this topic that has offended or upset me. So please don't feel bad if you have mentioned something, I promise that I have not been hurt or offended.
As a Mum who has had a child die, let me tell you that this is a topic brings with it perhaps the biggest jumble of emotions possible. I'm so excited at the prospect of having a living child (no, I'm not pregnant)...but I'm terrified that something will go wrong. And please don't try to make me feel better by telling me that it's not likely to happen again...I know that. I know the stats, I've heard the doctors' and midwife's opinion, and I know it's not likely to happen again. But I'm still scared. And that's ok.
So when people say something about me having more children, I don't quite know how to feel. And so I have one thing to ask you: please, please, please think twice before asking a bereaved parent if they're going to have more children.
I'm blessed in that I should be able to have more children. Many mums who have a baby die cannot - because their body was damaged, they are too old, a genetic issue was discovered, etc. Every story is different.
Maybe a bereaved mum could physically have more children, but doesn't think they will cope emotionally with another pregnancy. Maybe their husband/partner is the one saying 'no' because of the incredible stress that comes with trying again. Maybe they had been trying for months or years to conceive the baby that they lost, and the stress is just too much to try again. Every story is different.
Perhaps they would like to have more children, but want to wait months or even years to let some of the pain and grief over their child's death settle a little bit. Maybe asking if they are pregnant yet makes them feel guilty over choosing to wait. Every story is different.
Maybe the woman that you jokingly ask if they're pregnant has had a miscarriage, and is suffering in silence because your jokes are unintentionally hurtful. Maybe that woman you think is pregnant has been trying to conceive for months, and isn't pregnant yet. Every story is different.
Even if a woman is pregnant, perhaps they aren't ready to tell everyone. Being asked "are you pregnant" can be a difficult question if you are, but don't want to share that yet. If they've previously had a baby die (miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death), they might want to wait longer before telling people. Or maybe they will shout it from the rooftop the moment they discover the news. Every story is different.
I'm not saying don't ask me (or other bereaved parents) about future children. I'm just asking that you think twice about what you're saying, and word it carefully. Remember, every story is different...but it's their story to tell.