For me and mine it was sadly a very straightforward decision – pregnancy and I do not get along well.
I wasn’t just physically very poorly throughout the pregnancy but my mental health spiralled out of control too. It was a deeply traumatic experience for everyone and the only thought that got us all through was the knowledge that it would, eventually, come to an end.
When Sam arrived it felt like the nightmare was finally over, then came the seizures.
We never planned on just having one child, certainly in the early days with Sam after his diagnosis the yearning for another baby was intense.
I felt like I was rejecting the baby I had, but have since found from chatting with other special needs mums that this was a very normal, natural thing to feel – I had been denied the experience of motherhood that I’d been prepared for and desperately wanted, for so many years.
Yet the prospect of another pregnancy actually gives me nightmares. Seriously.
As Sam has grown, that desperate desire has faded somewhat… we have an amazing little boy and I am more grateful that he is here than I can put into words.
But there is no denying that he has far more needs than many and my own health isn’t fabulous.
After much discussion we both agreed that having another child wouldn’t be right for us as a family.
I’d fear that they would be born to be a carer for their older brother (or worse, me) or that they would be born with the same problems Sam has.
And I just couldn’t put another child through what he’s suffered.
Sam is a SWAN, we don’t know why he has such profound difficulties, and have no way of knowing the probability of another child having the same issues… it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t love to have more children, just that for us the risks are too great.
It is an intensely personal choice whether or not to have another child, for some the choice is made for them one way or the other.
I have so many friends who have had more children after their special needs child – some also have problems, others are perfectly healthy.
For us, it isn’t just Sam’s issues that have cemented out decision.
My health during pregnancy was a major issue, I just couldn’t go through that all again.
We have the option of fostering or adopting in the future, if the time comes when we find that would be the right choice for our family.
Several friends have already gone down that route to expand their families, who knows what the future will bring? x