Friday, April 5, 2013

Every story is different

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. 

Future children.

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. 


Rebecca said...

Oddly enough, I was thinking about you and this very topic on the way to the chiropractor yesterday. :)

Larissa said...


Caleb & Rebekah said...

We had so many people ask us in the 3 years before conceiving Selah whether we were pregnant yet, and even ultimately if we just didn't want kids. It was devastating to me when I knew we were experiencing infertility but other people just weren't sensitive enough to think there could be other reasons than not wanting children for us not being pregnant. While we haven't experienced loss, the pain of infertility certainly made the questions difficult to take.

Larissa said...

I'm sure it would be Rebekah :( I'm honestly surprised at how people seem to think that other couple's choices about family are their business too. I'm sorry you were hurt by people's questions.So happy for you that you have your beautiful Selah though...what a treasure!

Sarah said...

I'm in the scenario of needing to wait so some of the pain can go away. And I would really like to have Evie still be my baby at her one year heavenly birthday so we can have a nice celebration. I feel the need to honor her for a time before adding to our family.

And I know every subsequent pregnancy won't have the same pure excitement attached - there will always be some hesitation, some fear, just like you said.

Saying a prayer for you right now for whenever you decide to add to your family, and that you feel no pressure from anyone. <3

Larissa said...

Thank you Sarah <3 I imagine you'll have a beautiful celebration for your Evie in November.

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