Sunday 29 April 2012

Having an Only Child - Please Don't Tell Me


I am linking this post to Dr Bron Speaks Pick a Post linky. Come and join!

 When I started my blog, it was a place for just to rant, and share experiences, as its grown I sometimes don't let myself go in the same way I did. But as I blogged about earlier in the week, I am finding the run up to Joseph's birthday a bit difficult. If your not a regular reader just to fill you in, I had a rare form of pre eclampsia, that meant Joseph had to be delivered at 27 weeks, in order to save my life, and his. He wasn't "just" early. We did a lot of soul searching, and saw a very good consultant and made the decision not to have anymore children. It's been tough and I want to share my feelings in the hope it helps someone else.

I am finding that I am getting more and more questions about when we are having the next one. I am really surprised just how strong some people feel about it, no one close, all our close family understand. 

Please don't tell me I'm selfish The decision not to have more kids is the least selfish decision we have ever made. Both my husband and myself come from two children families, growing up with a sibling. We always assumed we would have two children. This decision is about Joseph. He needs his mum and dad, he needs a strong family unit. We're not guaranteed to have the same happy outcome again.

Please don't tell me pre eclampsia won't happen again There's a huge misconception that if you get pre eclampsia again, and get pregnant a second time with the same man, it won't happen again. This, quite frankly, is bullshit. Yes, some women don't get it again, this is true, but the biggest risk factor for pre eclampsia is having it in a previous pregnancy. There is a big difference between the late onset pre eclampsia and the swift early onset I had. A lot of people who say this also say "well if you lose weight you'll be fine", and that just isn't true either.

Please don't tell me I'll be monitored closely I was monitored closely in my pregnancy with Joseph. I was on daily monitoring from 24 weeks. It doesn't get much closer than that, apart from hospital bed rest, and what would I do with Joseph. (Please don't tell me to send him to the grandparents!) The only cure for pre eclampsia is delivering the baby, there is nothing else, all monitoring will do is help me have a well-timed delivery.Our specialist estimates we'll get to 30 weeks, I'm not doing that again.

Please don't tell me to be grateful for what I have I don't need reminding. I am immensely grateful for my clever, funny, healthy little boy, he's wonderful. I just would have liked him to grow up with a sibling.

Please don't tell me that there are people in the world who can't have children Infertility is heart wrenching, painful, horrible, and I feel sad for those who are living that life. It was a life I lived for ten years too. Being made to feel guilty because I feel sad that I can't have more children only makes me feel shittier than I already do. I think I am entitled to grieve and have support to do so.

Please don't tell me to foster or adopt At the moment we're not really eligible for either. Adoption is something that we would love to do, but there are so many people out there who don't have any children of their own. I would never want to adopt a baby, as at least I have had one, and there are some wonderful people who would make brilliant parents, and I want them to have a chance to look after and raise a baby. An older child will only be an option once Joseph is older.

Most of the time I am fine, and I can see positives at raising an only child, the greatest of which is we can invest all our energy and resources in Joseph.

But never having another pregnancy? Never carrying another baby? Not having a chance to find out what labour is like? It hurts. 


  1. You have been doing an amazing job with Joseph Kylie! Anyone who would tell someone to have or not to have a baby (1st, 2nd, or 10th) is completely out of line. That decision is between you, your husband, and God, and it is none of our business! So just keep doing what you are doing, and know that you are admired by a lot of people. And even if you weren't, so what! Your husband loves you, your son loves you, and God loves you, and that's all that matters. :)

  2. I had pre-eclampsia in my first two pregnancies, but not my last child. And after my first child nearly took my life, my doctor suggested there should not be more. (My mind was changed by later events in my life). I was just stunned by the people who pushed me to have another! My usual response was *normally* effective, at least with all but the stupidest. I simply advised them that I would rather live to raise one than die and leave her motherless in trying to give her a sibling.

  3. What an emotional post and of course you are allowed to grieve and feel hurt for something which you are not going to experience again. I can't imagine how scary it must have been to go through all that with your first pregnancy and so I think your making an incredibly brave and selfless decision to not go through it again. X

  4. What an emotional,heartfelt post. Like you we have made the agonising decision not to have another child. I believe that decision is selfless. It would not be fair to bring a child into this world when I know what they would have to go through, the consulant hopes she would get me to term but no chance of term. It would not be fair on gemma or on our marriage.

    We have to live with that decision and be asked to justify it is not nice. Especially with people we don't really no well.

    We are so lucky to have gemma. Next time we might not be so lucky for a baby to survive and if they did I know all the horrible things we and the child might need to deal with.

    Gemma is 2 in 2 weeks and is now a big girl so I am grieving not having a baby of my own to hold again as miss independent grows up!

    Hugs x

  5. A very heartfelt post, and one I very much empathise with and my heart goes out to you and Corey. This idea that one child is "selfish" is so hurtful as it bulldozes over a mound of reasons from the ethical to the circumstantial. I did not have pre-eclampsia, "just" a spontaneous delivery a smidge before 28 weeks but as single parent with little chance to meet new people let alone men, I cannot see a point in the near future where I will be at the point of having a second child. Given what I know about my chances of preterm labour again I am also uncertain it is something I want. This is nothing I want to change necessarily, but it does hurt a little each time I see mums I know announcing their next pregnancies. I am delighted for them but still sad that my situation is not theirs, and it is something I had never envisaged. Great post as always.

  6. It's astonishing that random strangers, and sometimes even close family, feel that they can ask about something so personal as family plans, or draw conclusions from what they can only see, not the real situation. It's almost as good as people asking whether you were hoping for a boy or a girl - my answer was always 'an alive one that I get to take home'!
    You have made a hard and heartbreaking decision for the good of your son and your family and there is no greater love than that.

  7. You know I emphathise completely Kylie. I too am struggling with people asking me when the next one will be coming. Sending hugs xxx

  8. Your blog sums up exactly how I feel as I'm in a similar situation. I am fed up with how many people keep asking me if I'm going to have another baby, even though they (mostly) know the trauma we went through last year with having our child. Having another baby is not a simple option for us - the truth is, our baby may very well be our only child. And knowing that makes me feel so sad.

  9. Such a good post, thanks for sharing honestly. We were lucky that my life was never at risk, and we deliberated for a long time before deciding to have another, and only then after agreeing a care plan that should have prevented such an early birth again. For me the tipping point was 32 weeks - if we had a good chance of getting there it meant a take home baby with low chance of disability. Otherwise I would have taken a different decision, as others have said choosing to be there for your child is very unselfish, and i'm shocked people say otherwise to you. xx

  10. My heart goes out to you. C is our 3rd of 4 but our only live child. Some ppl say we should give up but for some reason I can't. Some ppl just don't understand that it's YOUR body therefore should be yours and your partners decision wether to have anymore or not. Wether or not you do have anymore in the future I wish you all the luck in the world. Sounds like your doing wonderfully with Joseph. Enjoy him, enjoy life and enjoy being alive for Joseph x x

  11. very honest post Kylie, Well done on writing it. Pre Eclampsia really is not something to take lightly!

  12. Fabulous heartfelt post. I feel the same I would dearly love another baby however there are so many 'buts' and 'what ifs' that if and when they chance to have another baby arises I can't hand on heart say I would chance not being around for my little girl.

    Like you I had early onset Pre-eclampsia/HELLP syndrome and was given a 25% chance of it happening again IF I had a baby before I turn 35 (gives me 2yrs to find someone willing to make a baby with me!) and IF it was with the same person. Seeing as I am likely to be over 35 and absolutely not with Amelie's dad that means my risk of HELLP in the next pregnancy is higher.

    Like you I have had all those comments made to me and you have summed up how it makes me feel. People who haven't been there have no idea what it feels like and do make the silliest comments.

    I particularly dislike the 'you'll be monitored closely tho' as if that will make me not get PE/HELLP.

    Leaving your baby every day is horrific. Not being able to hold them and feed them and snuggle them whenever you want is gut wrenching. To risk having to do that all over again to them, no matter how old they are is unbearable and to put another baby through that kind of start in life is daunting to say the least.

  13. Theramblingpages29 April 2012 at 23:24

    Very honest post. I had pre-enclampsia with my 1st which lead to placental abruption at just shy of 31 weeks and IUGR baby. We were told - by the consultants, the likelihood of it happening again was very low, so we did go for a 2nd and they were right that time, i didnt get pre-enclampsia, just grade 4 placental previa which lead to a 3 months on hospital bedrest (dont go there about who would have Joseph, that I totally uinderstand- we were 200 miles away from grandparents who still worked and Little man was my biggest concern and one stupid midwife suggested we contacted social services and looked into fostering - like that would put my mind at rest and stop me spending every day crying in my hospital bed), a 34 weeker and an emergency hysterectomy for me with 14 blood transfusions. I dont regret we made the decision we did to have a 2nd, it happened, we have 2 fantastic, healthy boys and I am here to tell the tale. If I could turn the clock back, would i of make a different decision - probably not. My blog post tomorrow infact is about how you feel about the being cheated out of labour, not cuddling your new born, not taking them home and the yearning I still feel. I completely relate to your post.

  14. What is it with us and our posts. Set to publish on MPW this week are two posts on this exact subject, written while we were on holiday. I swear if you weren't an Aussie I'd think we were separated at birth!

    Fab post as always. Still hurts for me too. You know where I am if you need me my love xxx

  15. Confused do people really make you feel bad for not wanting to take a chance and experience the agony and pain you have been through already.Amazing if this is your support network you need to shut them out.This is your life and your business no one elses.You have gone down this road and having been through it myself it is tough - during and especially after it.I hope you continue to grow strong and the nightmare finally goes away!

  16. Hi..I just stumbled across this blog. I've been struggling with the same thing. I had Eclampsia with my daughter...seizures..coma...brain swelling. My family was told if I woke from the coma, I could be blind and paralized. When I woke up I was told I had my baby which was a total shock. I saw my baby for the first time in photographs. I held her the first time when she was 7 days old. She was at another hospital. The whole ordeal was very tramatic. I would love another child but I don't think I can take the risk it. It's a very tough decision not to have another child. I'm so very thankful that me and my daughter are in good health and she didn't have ant lasting effects of being premature. She is 8 years now:)