“We’re done having children and my family Is incomplete”
One mum’s heartbreaking story of loss
Content Editor / September 06 2018
If you’re a mother who has been through the loss of a child, you’ll probably dread the question; 'How many children do you have?'
Mum of two, Rachel Whalen, is all too familiar with this scenario. Her first daughter Dorothy, was stillborn in 2016.
'For so long, I struggled with finding an answer that was simple and truthful. Now, after over two years of fumbling my words, I feel somewhat okay with sharing that I have two daughters knowing that there is the possibility of a follow-up question,' she wrote in an article for PALS (Pregnancy After Loss Support).
That follow-up question fills her with dread, too; 'Are you going to have any more children?'
The short answer is no, she says, however the long answer, is much more complicated.
“The decision to not have any more children is tainted by our experiences with loss. It’s a complicated answer because this decision we made does not feel like it’s entirely our decision,” the kindergarten teacher explains.
“The risks are too great. My body has been through a lot and I am not willing to test it one more time,” she adds.
Her heart has been through a lot too, she says. “I do not know if my heart could sustain the devastation of another miscarriage or stillbirth. I don’t even know if I could handle hoping for a positive and having to see a negative.”
She worries about the day her daughter Frances will ask for a sibling, and says she’ll forever wonder if she has made the right choice.
“My worry is that if we don’t try again our family will never be whole. But, the truth is, even if we kept on having children our family would never feel complete.
“So, to answer the question — no I am not going to have any more children. We are done because even though my arms may long for more babies, my heart is full of the children I need.”
Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.