THE SUBSEQUENT CHILD
|SIDS is a definite medical entity and is the major cause of death in infants after the first month of life.|
During your last pregnancy (adoptive parents should translate the term pregnancy into the time period of waiting for the adoptive child), you probably discussed or thought about any number of things that could go wrong and accepted those possibilities as part of having a family. You were prepared for any problems that were visible or could be diagnosed by a physician. When the baby was born, you accepted the pronouncement that this was a fine, healthy baby. If there were a few difficulties, you were confident that they could be handled. You knew that parenthood was not a fairy tale where everyone "lived happily ever after," but you did believe that, if something went wrong, either you or someone else would detect it.
Few parents are concerned with or prepared for the fact that an apparently healthy baby can die suddenly. It is this fact that most influences parents such as you in the decision to have another baby. Not only were you not prepared but neither were the people around you. If they had been, chances are good that deciding to have another baby would not be the momentous decision that it sometimes is. Because everyone who has lost a child to SIDS has encountered someone who did not understand, your confidence in yourself, and perhaps in others, has been shaken.
Slowly but surely, however, the general public is beginning to understand about SIDS. Someday soon everyone will do what you have to do now, accept SIDS as "one of those possibilities" that is part of having a family.
But there is also a way of looking at SIDS in a more positive light. If 2 out of every 1000 babies will die, then certainly 998 will live. This is a rather good chance to take if your desire to have another child is great enough.
While the decision to have another child is not always an easy one to make, it belongs to the people who will be accepting the responsibility of parenthood.
HOW SOON AFTER THE LOSS OF A CHILD SHOULD YOU HAVE ANOTHER BABY?
There are many answers to this question, and they are all correct. Some women are already pregnant when their baby dies and there is no "decision-making" time. If the pregnancy is going to follow the last one by less than a year, it is a good idea to consult your physician on this decision. The length of time to wait, for the most part, is a decision that belongs to you and to no one else.
SOME PROBLEMS YOU MIGHT ENCOUNTER
It is a rather common occurrence for some women to experience difficulty in becoming pregnant once they have decided to have another baby. Should this happen to you, don't feel guilty about the momentary inability to conceive. Be assured that you are not alone. The solution is patience. If you feel that "being patient" results in your having to wait too long, consult your physician. The emotional impact of the loss of a child, the desire for another pregnancy, or any number of reasons can cause this temporary situation. Such a reaction is quite normal.
It is not too uncommon for the next pregnancy to result in a miscarriage. Mothers who have recently lost infants have a strong tendency to feel responsible or guilty when a miscarriage occurs. You have a right to feel unhappy, but don't feel responsible.
Adoptive parents may also be faced with frustration, for it is increasingly difficult to find babies available for adoption. Don't jump into alternative procedures, such as a foster child unless you are quite secure with your feelings. Such alternatives may well be the solution for you; just be certain that the choice is not made in haste.
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