It’s a question that has been looming for a while, a common inquiry as you see my 2½-year-old daughter in tow. “Are you going to have more children?” While it may seem like an innocent question, it’s a loaded one for so many people. And for me, it’s a question that brings sadness, stress and uncertainty.
I think our culture drilled it into me: I should be married with two children, a house and a white picket fence. But I’m not complaining. I had a sheltered, picture-perfect childhood, and I wanted that same experience for my family. Unfortunately, life threw us a curveball and that altered my view forever.
After years of infertility, my husband and I went the IVF route in hopes of having children of our own. We became pregnant with triplets, two identical girls and a boy. Suddenly, our life was complete! I longed to be a mother and feeling the roller-coaster-kicks of our three children was more than I could ever have hoped for. But less than six months later, we hit rock bottom. I went into labor and delivered our triplets more than 17 weeks premature. Two of our children eventually passed away—my daughter shortly after birth and my son two months later. Our picture-perfect life was suddenly shattered as we balanced the grief of losing two children with staying strong for our surviving 22-weeker.
As the months passed by and our daughter became stronger, we settled into our new normal. The medical challenges our child faced slowly became a distant memory and today we are overjoyed with a beautiful, healthy toddler. So, it’s only natural for people to ask me if I am going to have more children, especially strangers who don’t know my story. But for so many people like me, it’s a heavy question that cannot be answered in a simple way.
For those who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a child, fear could be too big to ever try again. And for those who have dealt with the heartache of infertility, the dream of their own child may never be a possibility. Not to mention the expenses that go along with fertility treatment or the adoption route. For my family, the mounting medical bills have caused many sleepless nights over the years. Our initial fertility costs that were not covered by insurance have now given way to years of hospital/NICU bills and costs associated with a micro-preemie who has a team of specialists and therapists on our weekly schedule.
For me, it’s a combination of events. Infertility, child loss and fear have created a perfect storm. Two of my children are no longer here, and I almost died delivering them. It was a tragic and scary day that my husband and I will never forget. When people ask me if we plan to have more children, it brings back a flood of memories, filled with so much hope, followed by sadness. It’s a question I sometimes dread being asked.
My husband and I were recently talking about whether we would try for more children and the tears quickly streamed down my face. It’s a simple sign that I’m not ready, and to be honest, I don’t know if I ever will be. I’m lucky to have a loving husband who is on board with whatever we eventually decide.
We have three beautiful children: Peyton, Parker and Abby. And if Peyton is our only child here on earth, we are absolutely OK with that. It may not be exactly how we pictured it, but our precious triplets have made our family complete.