Should I Give Up on Having a Baby After My Miscarriage?

Dear GoodTherapy.org,

It’s been a few months since my miscarriage, and while my body has finally recovered from the trauma, I am not sure that my mind has.

I’ve wanted to be a mother all my life. Even after finding the right partner to make a family with three years ago, we were unable to get pregnant despite trying many, many times over many, many months. When it finally happened, I was overjoyed. I spent all of my time thinking about my future with my baby. I planned to quit my job. We picked out a name, had a crib custom-made, painted our baby’s room and decorated it, read parenting books, and on and on.

So you can imagine the sense of loss and pain I feel now. I went from an extreme high to an extreme low. I know I’m not the only person who’s ever had a miscarriage and people try again, but I don’t know if I can. I’m 37 now and who knows if it can happen. Even if it did happen, I worry it would not be a healthy pregnancy. The risk goes up the older I get.

I feel like this might have been my only chance, and I almost don’t want to even try again. Does that make sense?

How do I move on from this and reclaim my sense of optimism and hope for the family I was so excited to have? Should I give up? —Mourning Motherhood

Dear Mourning,

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and this deeply painful experience. The roller coaster of emotions you describe—elated at the prospect of motherhood, joyfully preparing for it, and then grieving this devastating loss—is very difficult to process. It makes perfect sense that your reaction to this would be to try to protect yourself from ever feeling this kind of pain again. That said, it sounds like giving up on having a baby is only one of the options you are considering since you are also asking how to move on and reclaim your optimism.

It makes perfect sense that your reaction to this would be to try to protect yourself from ever feeling this kind of pain again.

I’d like to suggest taking a big step back right now and not worrying about making a decision about whether to try again. That is quite simply too much right now, I suspect. You are still grieving and reeling from the intense swing from elation to despair. I also hear a lot of fear in the mix, too, as you wonder if this was your only chance and cite concern about your age. Grief and fear are not the best places from which to make major life decisions. It seems like the best thing you can do for yourself right now is take some more time to heal.

Partnering with a therapist might be really helpful for you. Developing a strong therapeutic relationship will allow you the time and safe space to grieve this loss and move toward healing. After you have come to terms with the loss, a therapist can also help you sort through the process of deciding whether you’d like to try again. If you do decide to bring a baby into your life, you can explore a full range of options for how to do that—pregnancy, adoption, surrogacy. Continuing to work with a therapist beyond the point of making the decision will also provide you with support through the process of becoming a mom or the process of reimagining a different life for you and your partner.

I wish you healing as you cope with this loss and make decisions about where to go from here.

Respectfully,

Sarah

Sarah Noel
Sarah Noel, MS, LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in working with people who are struggling through depression, anxiety, trauma, and major life transitions. She approaches her work from a person-centered perspective, always acknowledging the people she works with as experts on themselves. She is honored and humbled on a daily basis to be able to partner with people at such critical points in their unique journeys.
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  • Maura

    Maura

    May 20th, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    Now is probably not the best time to make any kind of huge decision like that. There will always be time to try again if you want to, and when it is the right time I think that you will know it. You have the believe that this is a part of your life plan, and while you may not understand it now maybe one day that peace and understanding will come. This is not unusual for this to happen butt hat does not make the hurt feel any less. I would take my time, get myself healthy again, and then when you are ready you can try again.

  • tiffany

    tiffany

    May 20th, 2016 at 2:15 PM

    give it a little time and the right answer will come to you

  • Adele

    Adele

    May 21st, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    If this is what you want please don’t forget that there is also fostering and adoption available, so many children need a good home and have no one to take care of them. Open your heart to this possibility if having a biological child is not what is going to happen for you.

  • sharon

    sharon

    May 23rd, 2016 at 2:28 PM

    This is your dream, so go for it.

  • Timothy

    Timothy

    May 24th, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Have you talked with your spouse about all of the feelings and emotions that you are experiencing. I think that talking to him would be an important first step in deciding what is going to be the next steps that you two take together. I would not give up on it quite yet, but I would not rule out other possibilities for having children either.

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