Will we have more children?

Joanna Zuidema5 Comments

“Will you have more children?”

This is the most common question we get asked.

So grab some tea and get comfy — it’s not a simple answer.

First, let's chat about the question itself.

Friends – please be thoughtful when asking couples this.

Questions like this, while innocent in nature, walk directly into a deeply intimate space. One that, for so many, could be riddled with heartache.

The question of if and/or when we will have more children can unintentionally come off as a cold attempt to move us from the ‘sad/grieving/hurting’ column into the ‘happy/hopeful/normal’ column. As if the desire for a future child will somehow prove that we’re OK, and have ‘moved on’ or ‘healed’.

I’m not saying you should never bring it up, we’ve had great conversations with friends and family about what we hope for the future.

Simply remember to assess your relationship, the situation, and their current state of mind before asking.

There’s a lot that comes with the honest answering of this question, so bring some coffee and stay a while.

“Will you have more children?”
Frankly, having another child isn’t up to us.

Norah’s death has in no way made us immune to loss, death, or heartache.
We didn’t earn any sort of ‘free pass’.

We are in no way guaranteed to get pregnant again, to hold a future child, to bring them home, or to see them grow up.

This is the reality of living after loss; we no longer have the option of being blissfully ignorant.

We are statistical anomalies, as are many of our dearest broken-hearted friends; the things that ‘rarely happen’ in pregnancy or that you ‘shouldn’t worry about’ make up our life stories.

We know that it’s not as simple as ‘want a child, get pregnant, have a baby, yay!’

To assume otherwise would be blatantly disregarding our life experience.

We believe that Norah will have siblings, be they biological or adopted, and the true miracle of their lives being breathed into existence will not be lost on us.

But should I get pregnant again, the experience will be, well… a whole thing.

Medically, it’ll be pretty straightforward.

Due to my c-section, we have been advised to wait at least 12 months before getting pregnant again. This is to allow my body time to fully heal before putting it through the stress of pregnancy.

Norah’s type of Trisomy 13 is not inherited, and there is essentially no higher risk for us to have another child with T13 than there was before.

Emotionally? Well...

If anything goes wrong, that will be incredibly difficult for obvious reasons.

But what might not be as obvious is that a smooth-sailing ‘textbook’ experience will bring with it its own unique type of pain.

We will always be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Every visit to the doctor, every ultrasound, every blood pressure check will come with flashbacks to the fear and stress we experienced with Norah; always standing on the edge of a cliff.

Normalcy will bring out all the ‘Why’s’.

Why didn’t we get to hear Norah cry?
Why didn’t we get to hold her, skin-to-skin, as a wrinkly fresh newborn?
Why didn’t we get to bring her home?
Why not Norah?

On top of that, I will be grieving my mother while I mother a child outside of the NICU for the first time.

I will be learning to mother without my own mother.

See what I mean?
It’s a whole thing.

We don’t know what the road ahead of us looks like, but we’re slowly learning to trust the one that set the path for us.

We know that expanding our family will come with its own challenges, but if it brings us half as much joy and love as we’ve experienced with Norah, it will be worth it.

We truly believe that Norah will have siblings.
We believe that God already has plans for their lives; stories unique to each of them.

We know that her siblings will be lent to us from heaven, be it for five days or fifty years.

We don’t know when, and we don’t know how.
But one day we will meet them.

And it will be beautiful.