Tuesday 14 June 2011

Reasons Not to Have Another Baby

As most of you know, or maybe you don’t, I’m struggling at the moment. The world and his wife appears to be pregnant, and I really long to have another pregnancy again, as you can tell by this post. There’s a bit of a query that I might have depression....again. 

I’m not one to minimise feelings, but I felt I needed to write more about it, and explore it a bit further so here goes.
1.       I might die. It sounds dramatic doesn’t it? But even now, in the modern western world, women still die of pre eclampsia. It’s the second biggest killer of pregnant women. Chances are I would be so closely monitored and looked after that this wouldn’t happen, but the simple fact of the matter is, I could die. A family member died of pre eclampsia a few years ago, and left three children behind.

2.       The baby could die. I have had two miscarriages. Joseph was born in difficult circumstances, and nearly died on day 5. I could have another miscarriage, or I could have another premature baby who is not able to win the fight. I believe in counting blessings.

3.       Cost. I hate money, and even talking about it in the context of babies sounds crass, but it’s true. I no longer work so wouldn’t get maternity leave, and our already tight budget would find it a stretch and a cause of stress. I would have to find a job before I fell pregnant, which would mean Joseph in childcare. Which is not what I want to do.  And last time, I had to stop work at 16 weeks, which when you have given 5 years to a company with only a handful of sick days is one thing, but as a new employee it’s a totally different ball game.

4.       Travel. Having an only child makes travel so much easier. We have family all over the place, and a source of joy to us is to travel, see new places, and do new things. It’s great. With a baby this becomes hard, when you have a toddler as well. We have more freedom just having Joseph. And, there’s the money again, it is more affordable.

5.       High risk pregnancy. Pregnancy after pre eclampsia is not fun. One of the main reasons for not wanting another pregnancy (apart from points one and two) is that I want the sort of pregnancy I didn’t have last time. A long one, for a start, a pregnancy in two trimesters is not good. I want to be able to have birth choices, bump pictures, bump painting, and a happy run up to the birth. A problem pregnancy isn’t like that. I’d have to have continual monitoring, medication, scans, and probably another section, and, in the opinion of my consultant, another premature baby, she felt around 30 weeks or so. It’s not what I want. And I don’t think it’s right that I knowingly put another baby through that. That’s not to say I criticise anyone else for their decision to try again, every situation is different. Sometimes pre eclampsia is just a purely random thing, sometimes, it isn’t, and I have a lot of risk factors.

 6.       Night feeds. I loved night feeds. I really really miss them, that special time late at night/early in the morning, feeding my baby, albeit by bottle which was not part of the plan. But I really loved night feeds. When Joseph was in hospital I woke at night all the time, to express, and when he came home, I just loved the fact I was awake, he was with me, I loved it so much! However, one huge difference. I didn’t have a toddler. I slept when he slept, with the high anxiety from the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I was virtually nocturnal anyway. With a toddler night feeds would not be fun. Well the feeds might be but the ramifications the next day, not so much.

7.       Family support. One of the biggest sources of sadness to us is parents, is our lack of extended family. Both Corey and myself grew up with cousins, aunties and grandparents, seeing them regularly. Joseph does not have this, he does have some darling elderly great aunts, but it isn’t the same. And I don’t think I could manage a new born and a toddler without family support. It’s hard enough as it is. I can’t see me moving back to Australia, and even if I did, this doesn’t really solve the problem, as half of our extended family is in Europe.

8.       Joseph can be my favourite. I’m sure it’s true that the love you have extends to the number of children you have, but I think Joseph would always be my favourite. The journey we have been on together is extra special, and I just think he’s fabulous.  Don’t get me wrong, he can have a tantrum as good as the next toddler, and he’s no angel, not all the time. But he’s my special angel!

9.   Another NICU stay. As mentioned previously my consultant feels I'd probably get to 30 weeks next time. That's another 6-10 week NICU stay, if things go smoothly. I could not see another baby go through what Joseph went through to be here. If you haven't had a premature baby, just think how you feel on days you take your baby for jabs, and imagine seeing that every single day, often multiple times a day. Its heartwrenching. I couldn't knowingly put another baby through that.

10.  Social cost. I'm a socialist, not fashionable, but I have a strong social conscience. Even a relatively short neonatal stay can cost as much as a car. Some neo natal stays can cost as much as a house, a very substantial one. We are so so fortunate in the UK that we never see a bill, but I know the cost, not only through research, but through my work in private health insurance. Whilst I do not judge others at all, not everyone is a throwback to 70s flower power socialism, personally I feel its something that I need to consider.

I think it helps having listed some of the reasons, and hopefully in the dark times that I think are ahead, I can look back on this and perhaps it will help.

I can only hope.


  1. Hi :) I too am not going to have another baby. A couple of my reasons - non medical related - are the same as yours, but I have others too.

    I know this must be a huge struggle for you. If I was in your situation I would have made the same decision, regardless of my desire to have another child or not. Now that I'm a Mum, one of my greatest fears is that something would happen to me that my little boy doesn't have his Mum. So I would be balancing my wish for another child against the higher than usual possibility that I could die as a result, and I love him so much I don't think I would be prepared to take that risk.

    And as you say, the thought of putting a baby through what your little man went through is just horrible, even though it was necessary.

    This must be such a hard decision to have to make in your situation and I hope you are able to find peace with that decision. I don't know what else really to say, other than that.

  2. Good luck with your decision, and I hope writing about it has helped you.

  3. Hello kylie.
    First of all may I say how much I love your blog. It is
    quite inspirational. You probably recognise me from the bliss site as I've been hanging about the message boards a bit as of late.
    Obviously you are a very talented writer and peer supporter.A new baby would surely take away from this very worthy cause?
    I myself am mummy to two precious little ones. With the older of the two being eleven years now. But even with him being 'old enough to understand' the recent NICU experience impacted on him in subtle ways. I guess kids don't take on the trauma as we do but I know my reluctance to play the world cup final top trumps after a hard day at the NICU was still something of a lump to swallow.
    Having said that I can absolutely relate to your desire to have another.. that 2.4 children scenario beckons and it strikes me that you have sooo much to give..
    Er... ever thought of fostering? I'm sure you'd be amazing.

  4. The rest though? I'm in turmoil over it too. I hope you reconcile and are happy with the decision you appear to have settled on. In the depths of my PTSD I said "no way" as well, but now the thought of never having a sibling for C, and feeling cheated by only having had 6 months of being pregnant... agh, it's so tough! xXx

  5. Sometimes its hard telling ourselves that we can't do something even if we want to. This pregnancy will be my last as although the pregnancy has gone ok the consultant anticipates another difficult delivery and I would be selfish to put myself in that situation again with 2 kids. I always dreamt of 6 kids etc but now the reality is 2. Its going to be hard telling myself no more but I know it has to be done! And only children do get to be mummys favourite which I'm sure he loves ;-)

  6. What a wonderfully honest post - life is never simple is it? There are a lot of emotional issues I'd have to look at before deciding whether or not to have another so in a way I'm kind of thankful I've got a financial reason to stay with just one for now. When the time comes that we can make a definite decision, perhaps I'll write a similar list.

  7. So many times I come here and say how much I identify with what you've written, never more so than today. Especially the first two points.

  8. I hope you don't mind but I blogged about this.
    Pen xx

  9. I just had a miscarriage from baby number 2. I don't think I'll try again. While my pregnancy was not marred by any life threatening illnesses, thankfully, it was debilitating and exhausting with morning sickness that lasted until the birth. My husband and I were on the fence about a second child, but now due to our age (my cut off was always going to be to stop trying at 35 and I just had my 34th birthday), the gap between children and my husband's reluctance have all added up. I've had a tough year with two medical procedures and enough is enough. I read a quote recently that has given me strength and inspiration: 'To find happiness subtract from your desires, don't add to your possessions' and that's what I'm doing. I have one beautiful, healthy child, a wonderful marriage and the opportunity to focus on some other life goals that I felt I had to give up/delay because of motherhood and financial concerns like travel, house renovations, further study.

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