july 2012 – monthly theme – considerations on family building

“So, when are you going to have another baby?” 

Ah, this popular question from the days of yore has now been slightly modified to assume that not only will you be magically reproducing again in the near future, you are also privy to the date. You know, since you are obviously cured now that you have a baby (or, if you adopted you will obviously get pregnant right away, just like my neighbour’s third cousin!).

Surely, I jest. Except not really. I have been asked this by family, friends, and complete strangers. The first time I heard a comment about “the next one”, I was holding my 11 week old baby and it came from someone who should have absolutely known better. Since then, I have tried to gently, and sometimes directly point out that having a successful pregnancy did not cure the underlying disease that causes my infertility. What I don’t say, the truth, is that I desperately want another baby. I know, in my heart, that we are meant to be a family of four. Which is not to say that if we are always three that I would not be grateful for our child. But I would always feel the longing for that second child if I was not able to have one. Always.

Perhaps it is because the majority of the women I follow are either on a similar path to mine, or our children are approximately the same age, but I am noticing that many of us are starting to pick up the #2 card and turn it over and over in our hands. What if? Can we? Should we? Can I go through it all again? Is it worth it? Am I selfish? Am I ungrateful? Do I deserve it? What if?

I have read so many posts and tweets recounting conversations in Mommy&Me style groups about women sitting around discussing when they will get pregnant again so Johnny is exactly 2.5 years or 4.2 years or whatever will get him into Harvard older than his sibling. Those of us in the ALI spectrum simply do not have that luxury.

There may be internalized pressure to start trying again right away because it could take as long as before, or it could never happen. Or maybe it will happen quickly and then the kids are too close together, and then what? There may be paralyzing fear to never want to walk that road again. There could be limiting financial considerations after expensive treatments or adoption fees. Or, maybe you are in the sweet spot of contentment on your family building journey.

Where are you? What are you considering?

Some questions for you (all of them optional):

  • Have you completed your family building or are you considering trying to add another child to your family?
  • What does your “complete” family look like? Has this changed along your ALI journey?
  • Do you think there is such a thing as “optimal” child-spacing? What do you think this is, and what do you base it on?
  • Are you factoring in how far apart your children would be in your decision to start trying again? How so?
  • If you are planning to add to your family, what considerations must you take into account (i.e. beginning treatment again, pursuing adoption again, finances, etc.)
  • Knowing what you know now, what are your emotional considerations in trying for a second (or third, or fourth, etc.)? This is a very large and difficult question, and may have a variety of answers within the same individual.

Obviously this is a very complex topic, and the questions above are only meant to be a guide to help you gather your thoughts. You are encouraged to write anything and everything you want to on the topic. You can be sure that someone out there is wondering the same things.

Please submit your posts here by midnight on Tuesday, July 17th. If you have already written something on this topic in the past, feel free to submit it! Be sure to include the following:

  • Your name and blog name (and blog URL)
  • Name and URL of your post
  • One sentence blurb summarizing your post

The complete list of posts will go up on the main page on Wednesday, July 18th.


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  1. Julie Anita says:

    I love this topic so hard and I have SO MUCH to say about it.

  2. We already have 2 submissions! Keep ’em coming ladies! I am really looking forward to forging some new connections and bonding through supporting each other on this complex topic.

  3. Perfect timing for this topic….absolutely perfect…

  4. angelajeffers says:

    This one is such a doozy for us that we are actually figuring out how to make our entry private so only the PAIL folks can see it… How many luddites does it take to navigate WordPress? I’ll let you know how that goes!

    • Hmmm….Right under where it says “Save Draft” and “Preview” you will see something that says “Visibility”. Click “Edit” and it should give you the option to password protect that particular post. When you submit the URL to us, please include instructions as to how folks can get the password from you (i.e. “PAIL folks please email me here for the password: mysecretemail{at}gmail{dot}com). That way you can control who sees it! Hope that helps!

      • angelajeffers says:

        Thanks for the help- I think we figured it out. I sent our post in last night… Before the monthly posts go live, and when you have time, would you mind just checking that you can access it w/the password I sent? Thanks much!!

  5. I can’t wait to read everyone’s thoughts on this topic. I have so many jumbled thoughts on this…
    I have an 8 month old after 2 losses. The first time someone asked about #2, my son was less than two days old- we were still at the hospital. I could scream when people who know our history ask about this all the time. I want to answer “I will have #2 when I can look into a crystal ball and see that I won’t have to through another two devastative years to get there” but instead I just say “We’re happy with one right now”. Which is the truth. We are happy with one right now. I want to enjoy everyday with my amazing son; I don’t take a moment with him for granted.
    IWe are unsure about adding to our family of three. Even before TTC, I always said I would be okay with just one child. But now I struggle with this decision, I don’t think a day goes by where it doesn’t cross my mind. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to have the decision made for me.
    Part of me says I am done. I worry about having more losses. We were strong enough to get through it the first time. But now that we have him, I worry about how losses would affect him- a child would pick up on that kind of grief, and I don’t feel like that is fair for him. Sometimes I feel like I can’t ask for more from the universe, I have this perfect, healthy baby and I shouldn’t push my luck asking for more. I think we’ve all been there, bargaining with the universe…”Please if I could just have one baby I won’t ask for anything else from life ever…”.
    The other part of me is wonders if it is only fair to try to give him a sibling (I could go on a tangent here about how people feel the need to tell you that you NEED to give your child a sibling when you say you might only have one child). Aside from the overwhelming Fear, I enjoyed pregnancy and I love motherhood. I would love to experience it all again. I feel like maybe any losses wouldn’t hurt as bad this time, that we would be prepared for them, experienced almost.
    As for child spacing if we were to have more, we’d like them to be about three years apart. But we can’t just go ahead and start trying when we’re 9 months away from that gap because we need to consider that miscarriage(s) could impact the timeline 3-6 months+. So if we do decide to try again, it would probably be before our son’s second birthday. For now, that gives us lots of time to think about this decision and enjoy our little family of three.
    Thanks for another great discussion.

    • I’m so sorry for your losses and pain. I am sure that whatever you decide, you will be the only one who will know the answer… even though you might not feel like you know. You have to do what makes you feel at peace and I hope you can find that long lasting sense of peace, knowing that you have done the “right” things for your family… be it 3, 4, or more. 🙂 You should start a blog too, so we can all get to know you better.

    • A. – I was so glad to see you again. Thank you for sharing this with us. I (and I think a lot of us) understand and share your ambivalence, fears, and doubts. When the time is truly right, you’ll know which way to go. When you say your concern is how it will affect your child, I can see that this the most important thing right now. Right now, one IS enough. Losses force us to live in the “what ifs?”and that is so hard to shake. I understa

  6. I’ve been thinking about this constantly, but I feel like I have weird thoughts about it. I may come out of hibernation to participate. Sigh.


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