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A New Baby

Parents worry about the health of future children, and another pregnancy is an anxious as well as happy time. There is no right time to get pregnant and for some people healing and the return of confidence comes much sooner than for others. Parents must decide according to their own individual circumstances.

Some couples ’try’ to have another baby without delay and older women may decide time is a luxury they do not have. Other couples need to wait until they are ready and, for some parents, there will be no other baby and the baby with trisomy will be their only experience of parenthood.

I had a further miscarriage two months ago, and I do doubt my ability to have babies as I seem to be surrounded by women producing healthy babies. You get quite jealous that they breeze through 9 months and you wonder when you will lose your baby and worry the whole time.’

After Joshua died my life felt very empty and I began to consider another baby. We went to see a geneticist to have our own chromosomes tested and to discuss what the chances of another baby with chromosome abnormalities were.’

Although another baby will never and should not replace Kate we both feel we wanted her so much that for the sake of her memory and for her sister and for ourselves we will try again, but always in my mind is the worry that I don’t know if I could cope with the loss of another baby if things go wrong. We have been told we will be sent for tests in London. I hope we have the courage to try again.’

The first thing we needed to know, was I medically fit to bear another child? I was 41 when Beth was born by elective Caesarean. The next question was whether we were emotionally ready to make a decision regarding another child. I did not want to ‘try’ for a baby, but neither did I want to prevent one. Were our children ready for another brother or sister? They loved Beth but faced losing her at any time.
Beth died when she was 3 months old and I discovered I was pregnant the day before the funeral. It is difficult to grieve for one baby and take joy in another and I plodded through my pregnancy on a day to day basis, refusing to plan ahead until after the baby was born. We decided to call our new baby Daniela, and later pregnancy was traumatic as I did not dare to take Daniela’s apparent good health and safe birth for granted.

Beth was our daughter and we will always love her and imagine her growing up year by year, but after her death there was a vacuum. We had such a lot of love to give, and no baby to cuddle and give it to. Daniela filled that vacuum and replaced some of our pain with happiness and laughter. We told ourselves that Beth would not have wanted us to be miserable for ever and we were sure she would have adored her sister.’

A SOFT booklet Your Unborn Baby is available for families who wish to consider the issues of prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy testing in more detail.

Renewed sadness

A new pregnancy brings renewed pressures and sadness for the baby that died. Ante-natal screening must be considered, but whatever the advice you do not have to undergo invasive testing unless you wish to do so.

During my next pregnancy I had every test that was on offer. Each brought temporary reassurance but I would then worry that the next one would show that something was wrong. It wasn’t until my baby was born and was so obviously healthy that I allowed myself to relax a little.’

When my son was born we were thrilled that he was healthy, but as he grew and developed normally we realised how disadvantaged our daughter had been with all her problems.’

I was lucky and my second child is healthy. I have a very different attitude to his and others life though. Just as parents of babies with serious problems know they may only have them for a short while, I feel that even for a ”normal” person, each day is a gift and an experience to be thankful for.’

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