Deciding To Have A 2nd Kid After Nearly Dying The First Time

Photographed by Ashley Armitage.
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 haemorrhage 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 traumatised 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?
While many families are happily one-and-done, for others, stopping after the first child isn't the parents' choice, but something made medically necessary when a delivery doesn't go as planned. In rare and tragic cases, the mother doesn't even survive to make that choice.
“It’s an alarming fact that more women in the US 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.