I must confess, I was a little taken back that a woman (who I had just met, but new about my stillborn baby) so casually asked, "Are you trying again?"
I think that a couple's decision to conceive is a very personal and confidential (unless they want to reveal it) matter. I think it becomes a particularly sensitive matter, once it follows the loss of another child.
"When to have a child and how many children to have are private decisions to be made between husband and wife and the Lord. These are sacred decisions--decisions that should be made with sincere prayer and acted on with great faith." (Neil L. Anderson, Children, Oct 2011)
I was equally taken back by the advice of a stranger on flight we were on recently. We had a conversation with this man who tried to tell us that we should wait to have kids. He accidently became a father as a teenager. In contrast, Trevor and I had made a decision that we wanted our family to grow. I think his advice was supposed to be for himself!
Aside from people's opinions (that obviously don't matter) there are medical considerations to consider with conception--especially after a loss.
I must confess, it was August, just shortly after Luke's birth, when I was searching online for answers to this very question. As I read through a forum whose contributors were all mothers of stillborn babies I quickly came to one conclusion--there is no conclusive time that you can begin conceiving again. (The varying opinions a little later also prove that there is no conclusive answer.)
Of course, if a woman is recovering from a c-section, she must wait for that massive surgery to heal. I feel so blessed that I was able to deliver vaginally so that recovery from a c-section isn't even a factor in my equation. Other health issues that may have caused the loss of a baby might need to be resolved before another conception, but I didn't have any health issues. I was healthy and Luke was healthy. So before even consulting anyone for their opinion I concluded that we could try to conceive whenever we felt ready and wanted to.
Our insurance company offers free consulting with a nurse. I decided to ask Leah, the nurse I had been in touch with throughout my pregnancy, her opinion on conception. She said because I had been healthy and Luke was healthy and the cause of his death was a "cord accident" and I did not have a c-section, there was no medical reason to postpone conception and whenever we felt ready would be fine. She also said that if my uterus was still recovering from postpartum than I probably wouldn't get pregnant until it was ready. I felt good about Leah's opinion especially because it made sense to me and maybe because it's what I wanted to hear.
My midwife, Sherri's opinion on the matter was to perhaps have 2-3 menstrual cycles to know that things are regular and then whenever we're ready.
Because I had my postpartum checks with my midwife, I hadn't been back into a doctors office since August. In January I went in for my "annual wellness exam". You can imagine my surprise when the doctor told me that I should wait 12 to 18 months before conceiving to "allow my uterus to heal." I was so taken back that I neglected to inquire further about what she really meant about my "uterus healing." When I first wrote started writing this post I couldn't think of anyone specific that I knew, but I was certain that children had been born less than 1 year apart from each other (sometimes planned but probably by surprise too). Since then I found out a friend and old roommate of mine is expecting her second and her first baby is 8 months. So if other parents have children less than a year apart, if I wanted, couldn't I also have my children be spaced less than 1 year apart? Needless to say, the doctors advice didn't settle with me so I may or may not have disregarded it. Okay, let's be honest. I totally disregarded it!
Like I said at the beginning, a decision on when to have children is a private matter, but it's evident that Trevor and I already made the decision that we wanted our family to be more than the two of us. So when it's right hopefully we'll have another family member join us.