Often a parent is desperate to have another child, to fill the emptiness and to give life meaning once again. Needing hope and not wanting to end one’s childbearing on a negative note is very understandable. Without another child one’s family might not feel complete, a view possibly shared between partners.
“There was no end to grief without another child.” (Jenny O’N)
“Although we could never replace Samuel, we had never wanted Hannah to be an only child so felt we had to get pregnant very quickly. There was little intimacy, however, as sex was for the sole purpose of having another child. It was simply a means to an end.” (Jenny R)
You can be so overwhelmed by grief, or fear another loss, that you or partner might believe it is far too soon. Alternatively, your partner may support you having another child earlier than they would like as a way of helping you heal and move forward. Either way, forcing the issue can be dangerous but accepting that another child is really important for your partner will help your relationship survive and grow.
“I became obsessed with having another child. Philip was not on the same page and when I pleaded to have sex in order to get pregnant, he objected and said ‘I have had enough. This isn’t the right reason for having sex.’ Sex did become instrumental for us and we did go on to have other children. Today sex is how it should be.” (Lisa)
“If it was for me I wouldn’t have tried for another baby. I had been happy with my family; for me it wasn’t incomplete. However, it became clear to me that only by having another baby would Jenny have resolution of her grief, for her to feel her family was complete. Otherwise we wouldn’t move on in our lives. Also I had to accept that medical advice can only help so far, that there was always the chance of it happening again.” (Robert O’N)
“Keith was ultra-patient with me as he wanted a subsequent child quicker that I did. He knew I would be ready eventually and didn’t force it. We have regained the intimacy we had before but it did take six to eight months. His affections were of great comfort to me and we regained intimacy without much stress.” (Linda B)
“Another baby does help with the healing and growing as a person.” (Lisa)
“We were drifting in different directions. I wanted to focus on family and have another child and he went the opposite way and wanted to have fun again and go back to a simple existence, whereas I felt there was no going back. This created arguments and friction.” (Amy)
“I wanted other children before Sam died and I’m sure Sam would want me to fulfil my dreams after his death, as I would if he were alive.” (Wendy)
“It almost became my mission to succeed in having a child in order to feel fulfilled. I suffered three miscarriages after Lexie’s death and then had another daughter after a very high risk pregnancy.” (Joanne)
“Despite us both wanting to be pregnant again, he hated making love on the fertile days; it made him have performance anxiety. There was no spontaneity…we each wanted the other to make the first move. I’m surprised we did get pregnant again!” (Naomi)
“After so many pregnancies I could not emotionally go through another one especially with so little support and so little acknowledgement of what we’d lost on the part of my husband. I decided I needed to focus on our daughter. My relationship with my husband was just too fragile.” (Nicolette)
You may also like to read Red Nose Grief and Loss booklet: Another baby? The decision is Yours. The following quotes come from this booklet.
“We learned that a great number of bereaved parents decide on having another baby. I think this gave us some encouragement also.”
“We could never replace Alyce but we needed another baby to cuddle. Renee was born a year later. She brought us back to life. It was the best decision we ever made for ourselves and our older daughter.”
This article was prepared using extracts from When Relationships Hurt, Too.1 The full text is available online or contact Red Nose Grief and Loss Services on 1300 308 307 for a printed version.
Last reviewed: 28/9/20
1. den Hartog, P.N., Bereaved Parents & SIDS and Kids NSW and Victoria (2014). When Relationships Hurt, Too: The Impact of Grief on Parents’ Relationships after the Sudden Death of their Child. , Malvern, Vic.: SIDS and Kids NSW and Victoria.