Another consideration is weight gain from a previous pregnancy. Jill Czajkowski of Ashburn, Virginia, had a stillborn daughter, Catherine, in February 2005. Her doctor gave her the go-ahead to try to conceive whenever she felt ready, but Jill and her husband, Andy, decided to wait. "We knew immediately that we would try again, but agreed that we'd wait six months to let me focus on losing some weight; I had gained over 55 pounds while pregnant with Catherine," says Czajkowski. By the time the Czajkowskis conceived their son, Jill had lost 57 pounds and felt physically ready for another pregnancy.
Are You Emotionally Prepared?
While a doctor or midwife can assess your physical condition, it's much more difficult to determine your psychological preparedness for the challenges ahead.
Andrea Arias is a mother from Gilbert, Arizona. Her daughter, Grace, was stillborn in March 2005. In part because Grace was delivered via C-section, Arias's doctor suggested that the couple wait a while before trying for another baby.
"I am glad that our doctor recommended waiting for a year because it gave me time to grieve for my daughter and to get through the 'empty arms' feeling I had for several months after giving birth," shares Arias. "By the time we were able to try to conceive again I came to realize a new baby would be a sibling and not a replacement."
The grieving process is vital to your well-being; rushing into another pregnancy without processing the loss you experienced could cause emotional trauma when you deliver your new baby.
Douglas and Dr. Sussman suggest asking yourself and your spouse the following questions:
- Have you had a chance to work through some of your grief?
- How would you cope if you were to experience fertility problems?
- How would you cope if you experienced the death of another baby?
- Are you ready to cope with the stress of another pregnancy?
- Do you want another baby—or do you want the baby who died?
It's vitally important that you and your significant other enter a new pregnancy with realistic expectations. This baby cannot and will not be the infant you lost.