Having Another Baby

Making the Decision to Have Another Baby Following a Loss

When you first began your journey to have a family, it is highly unlikely you ever expected to be faced with the loss of your child. No one plans to become a grieving parent faced with the decision whether to have another child.

Tragedy has scared your life, shattering your innate sense of security and left you vulnerable. Your decision if and when to have another child may be a difficult, frightening or joyful time.

Your reality has elements of grief and joy every day, and it is possible to mourn the loss of your child while expecting the great joy of a new pregnancy.

When Is The Right Time To Plan a Pregnancy After a Loss?

Planning a pregnancy after a loss can be a very stressful and difficult decision. The “right” time differs for every couple.

Grief can be a very lonely experience, one we are usually completely unprepared for and with it comes the challenge to redefine normal. Normal will never be the same, and making the decision can be tempered with judgement by others who may not fully understand.

Moving On

It is fair to say that the term ‘moving on’ is over used and over simplifies the choice to have another child following a loss.

No one really “moves on” from the loss of a child. Moving on would suggest that you are leaving something behind. The last thing a grieving parent or loved one wants to do is to leave behind their precious child. We are forced to adapt but we do not really move on.

Statements from well-meaning friends and family can pull you in many directions. Being prepared to hear comments like these will help you to stay focused.

“You are young, you can always try again.”
“You will have more time to spend with your other children.”
“It must be meant to be.”
“There must be another child meant to come into your life.”

The “Replacement Child”

The desire to have more children in your family is normal, natural and healthy.

The concept of a “replacement child” is defined by the attempt by grieving parents to validate their loss by having another child. Having another child will bring new joy, but it is not about replacement of the child they have lost.  It is about having the opportunity to feel something more than grief  and for some the opportunity to expand their family and continue moving forward. It can be a path back to a time when joy was on the daily agenda. It is human nature to strive for joy. This is why we may choose to have a child after a loss.

Again, being prepared for statements like these will help you to protect your personal decision.

“Have you taken enough time to grieve properly?”
“You know you can’t replace your baby with another one.”
“Do you really want to risk the pain again so soon?”


Once you have made the decision to have another child, you may feel a heightened anxiety as dates and events surrounding your child’s death occur. This may cause you to question your decision.

If you suffered a stillbirth, your anxiety will escalate as you approach the birth of your child. Following the death of an infant, the age at which you lost your baby can trigger terrifying fear. As you surpass those milestones, time will help shift the fear and worry to joy.

Managing Guilt

The process of managing the guilt is gradual and not an easy task.

Guilt is the most well-known experience of anyone who has lost a child. The helpless feeling of not being able to change what has happened can create profound guilt. We question every moment of our pregnancy and any time we had with our precious child. What could I have done differently? Am I being untrue to the child I lost? But you need to remember that the death of your child was not your fault, and was beyond your control.

How many of us have wished to turn back time and do things differently? The universe can seem so cruel. But life can also hold miracles. And when we begin to consider a new pregnancy, or perhaps have already become pregnant, a new type of guilt may begin to overwhelm your life. You may begin to feel guilt for experiencing new happiness and hopefulness, and being more focused on your new pregnancy, and less on your loss.

As you turn to your new baby, you WILL find that you have room in your heart for both children. Welcoming your new child can be met by honoring the memory of your lost child with the miracle of a new blessing in your life.

Helping Siblings Embrace a New Baby

It is difficult to know what to say to your other children after a loss. Just as children can experience fear, guilt and anger after the loss of a sibling, those emotions will be heightened when you announce a new pregnancy. Adults need to be open and honest. Talking about your own fears on an age appropriate level is very important.

Be cautious not to over use the “Don’t worry it will be alright” or “This baby will be just fine”. Your children are just as worried as you are. Share you tears with them. It is okay to tell them you are afraid, but more importantly, helping them to be part of special memorials for the lost sibling is a healthy way of creating a shift.

Ask them what they would like to do to remember their sibling and what they would like to do to prepare for the new baby. Actions are the greatest tools for helping children take some control over a situation that they feel completely out of control.