Deciding to have a baby is a huge decision for anyone, at any time, but choosing to get pregnant with a second child after nearly dying the first time around takes a certain kind of bravery only some mothers can muster.
From preeclampsia, to hemorrhage and beyond, there are myriad reasons women lose their lives bringing the next generation into the world. And then there are third-degree vaginal tears, severe diastasis recti — a separation in the abdominal muscles, and misplaced epidurals that make childbirth physically damaging, emotionally traumatic, and frankly too terrifying to ever undertake again. And yet, so many of us do.
Pew statistics from 2015 found the average American mother had 2.4 children — of course they didn’t all face death in the delivery room, nor damage thereafter, but it’s impossible to know how many people felt traumatized by what went down. How on Earth do those who’ve been to the brink and back face the possibility of going through it all again?
“It’s an alarming fact that more women in the U.S. die from complications related to pregnancy than in any other developed country. We must address this; pregnancy must become safer,” Eleni Tsigas, executive director of the Preeclampsia Foundation, told Refinery29. And yet, people keep on doing this crazy thing called making babies.
Ahead, five women share their stories. Their key strategies if you're hoping to move past trauma to try for kid two? Feeling confident in your choices, and communicating clearly with your team of medical professionals. And one other thing: simply remembering that females are strong as hell.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about kids or not, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.