Here is an article by Kate Brian, whose new book Precious Babies has just been released. Kate Brian is a writer and editor who has written four books about infertility, including The Complete Guide to IVF and The Complete Guide to Female Fertility. She was awarded for her work for Infertility Network UK and has been closely involved with the charity for many years. Kate regularly appears on radio and TV as an expert on fertility and has two children who were born after IVF treatment. Her latest book, Precious Babies, looks at pregnancy, birth and parenting after infertility and includes a chapter specifically aimed at parents who have an only child.
For anyone trying unsuccessfully to conceive, the idea of having one child would be the answer to every dream. When the dream becomes a reality, it can be surprising how quickly the possibility of trying again for another child arises. Parents who have managed to conceive after fertility problems may feel, quite naturally, that having been successful once, they are far more likely to be successful again – but sometimes a second child proves to be a miracle too many.
There are many reasons why parents can’t have a second child in these circumstances. It may be that financial constraints make it impossible to afford the treatment necessary, that fertility specialists advise against trying again or that the emotional trauma of repeated unsuccessful attempts to conceive finally proves too much, and parents may have to accept that having more than one child isn’t going to be a possibility.
For anyone who has had difficulty getting pregnant the first time around, this can herald the return of many negative emotions which may have been buried away under the joy that parenthood has brought. Feelings of failure, of sadness and shame, and a sense of the stigma of infertility may all arise at this time. It is difficult to put these emotions aside, but it is important not to let them affect the way you deal with your child at this time. Children pick up on things very quickly, and the last thing you would want is to make your child feel that he or she wasn’t enough for you.
Parents in this situation often say that they feel that they have in some way failed their child by not being able to provide a sibling, but don’t forget that for the child, a family unit without siblings is the norm. When a child asks why he or she can’t have brothers and sisters, parents often give this a significance which they wouldn’t attach to questions about why the child can’t have a dog or a hamster or the latest electronic game!
Of course, it isn’t easy if you would have liked a bigger family and have one child, but thinking back to how you felt when trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully can help. Imagine how utterly overjoyed you would have been at the thought of ever getting pregnant and having a baby of your own – this may help you to enjoy what you have rather than focusing on what you don’t have.