When Trying Stops

Our small group have only talked to a few ladies who have kept trying for more children, sometimes after they have had successful births as well, but we are not experienced enough to offer suggestions.
The Bella-on-line piece below ‘Not trying again after miscarriage’ may be helpful and comforting and the link to Miscarriage UK website covers the subject too. www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk

For some women and their partners, there comes a time when they begin to think about stopping their attempts to have a baby. This can be difficult enough for couples who already have a child or children and are very much wanting to complete their family. But it can be an especially difficult and painful decision for those who are childless.

There are all sorts of reasons that people consider stopping trying:

  • repeated losses
  • fertility problems
  • advancing maternal age along with its associated health problems
  • social, financial or relationship issues.

Making the decision to stop trying is usually a process, and you may make it and unmake it more than once.  It means facing a different kind of future from the one you were planning, whether that means remaining childless or moving towards adoption or somewhere in between.

Not Trying Again After Miscarriage

With kind permission from Christine of ‘Bella-on-line’.

In a previous article, I wrote about “trying again” after a miscarriage. I’m basically an optimist and so I think trying again is usually a good idea but only if you’re still feeling okay about it. It can be a very emotional issue and cause a lot of mixed feelings for people.

I remember sitting in the office of the doctor who did my D&E procedure after my first miscarriage. “Usually,” he said cheerfully “we don’t even consider miscarriage a problem unless a woman has four or five of them.”
Four or five? I thought incredulously. I’m not even sure I’m going to survive this one. I did survive it though. And I survived four more after that. I can remember thinking somewhere around miscarriage number three or four that there’s a fine line between hopeful and crazy and if you have to ask where that line is, you may already have crossed it.

I wondered how I would know when trying again stopped being the act of an eternal optimist and started being foolish. It’s like the old saying that says “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I wanted a third child so much I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to draw that line in the sand and say, “no more.”

Between my first and fifth miscarriage, I became almost obsessive about it. I think I hoped a successful pregnancy would ease the pain of my losses. Surprisingly, I did get there after my fifth miscarriage. Although, I have to admit that I qualified my decision not to try anymore with a “for the time being”. I haven’t been completely able to let it go. It can be very hard to get to the point where you feeling trying again is futile or too discouraging to contemplate. You may be mourning not only your miscarriage and the loss of your baby but also the loss of the dream of ever having a baby.

I never had a magic number after which I said I’d stop. Arbitrarily assigning a number (as in, “I’ll try three times more but no more than that”) is probably not your best bet. Feelings are fluid. Hopefully, as a person you continue to grow and change and your feelings may grow and change as well.

What finally did me in was the fact that no one knew what caused my three second trimester miscarriages. The babies were developing normally. I had no health issues that the doctors could uncover. Things just went wrong between 14 and 16 weeks and they couldn’t figure out why. But, because I’m an optimist, I add the “for the time being” to qualify my statement about not trying anymore. If someone had even a theory about why this keeps happening, I’d likely jump right back into the fray as it were.

What’s important to remember is that in this case there are no right or wrong decisions; just what’s right or wrong for you for whatever place you’re at right now. I believe you should be considerate of your partner’s wishes and certainly take his point of view into consideration. But I don’t think you should allow anyone to pressure you to go to a place you’re not willing to go. It’s okay to qualify your decision like I did.
You can stop trying “for now”. Keep checking in with yourself. See how you feel. Decisions don’t have to be set in stone.

Finally, deciding to give up on trying may not be all bad. For some people, finally deciding to stop trying to have a baby can open the door to adoption. Others may realize that while they would have loved a child, they can be happy without one too. It’s good to have hope and trying again is certainly a hopeful act. But it’s important to realize your limits. The decision not to be potentially mired in sadness and grief again can be a hopeful act as well.