Losing your Last Baby

infertility_ready.jpgSecondary infertility is becoming more common in developed countries. This is when parents have had one live birth, but are then unable to have another baby: they either can’t get pregnant again, or suffer pregnancy or infant loss (miscarriage, stillbirth, etc).


My daughter, Emma, was born in 2000. I remember this first pregnancy as a blissfully uncomplicated experience followed by the reward of welcoming my baby to the ‘outside world’.


From 2002 to 2005, we tried to give her a little sibling. We suffered recurrent miscarriages: 4 within 3 years. The diagnosis, each time, was death due to a blighted ovum – a cause of inevitable, unavoidable miscarriage. The doctor assured us we’d done ‘nothing wrong’, and that we were both healthy. He simply indicated that this is very common for mothers over the age of 35.


Finding out we were not to blame didn’t really help. I know the doctor meant well, but very little can be said that will help at times like this. We knew my “biological clock” was ticking…


Secondary infertility is on the rise in developed countries, where women are encouraged to first obtain tertiary education and have careers. As a result, it is common for couples to delay childbirth .. often until it is "too late". More and more couples find they can not have children at all, or that they are able to have one baby, but no more.


For the infertile couple, a pregnancy that ends in loss may have symbolized a miracle: from their perspective, their once in a lifetime chance at parenthood vanished. They suffer tthree losses: the baby who died, lost dreams and lost self-esteem that characterizes infertility. This can be isolating since friends and relatives with children often withdraw from infertile couples: they may be trying to spare the couple any more pain, but isolation is very difficult.


With secondary infertility, parents are confronted by having to accept that they can have no more children. When a baby dies, it is a tragedy that is challenging for anyone to bear. I can assure you that it is no easier when you have other children. But if you are infertile, or if you had desperately wanted another baby, the loss and grief can be greatly intensified -- since it seems like there may be no “next time”.


If you are suffering from infertility or secondary infertility, I encourage you to consider getting the extra help you might need. I found it very useful to meet with a grief counsellor at first, and then get together with a support group for bereaved parents. Check out the Resources along the top of this website. Please feel free to reach out for the help you feel you may need: reaching out is a sign of recovery, not of weakness.

Comments (1)

Said this on 25-11-11 At 05:24 pm

I know what it feels like. I've lost a sibling and lost a parent. I'm 11 years old.

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