I was just writing an article for Mindful Mum this morning about when to announce your pregnancy, and thinking about some of the positive news stories about pregnancy which I have heard recently.
- I was really thrilled to read that Amanda Holden has recently announced that she is more than 3 months pregnant. You may have read here about Amanda's devastating stillbirth earlier this year. It's never easy to decide who and what to tell about a pregnancy that follows a loss like that, and especially when you are in the public eye the way Amanda is. I think she has demonstrated great courage and hope, and wish her well.
- Lisa Wilkinson, who lost her husband Gareth to bone cancer 3 years ago, now has a 1-year old baby Jack, born of Gareth's sperm through a single cycle of IVF. In Lisa's open letter to Gareth in the Daily Mail, she recounts the decision they made together before he died, the hopes and fears she felt while pregnant and the emotional difficulties she faced during and after the emergency Caesarean birth. Gareth had his sperm frozen prior to embarking on chemotherapy, as the treatment was likely to make him infertile. He and Lisa initially planned to have IVF once he had recovered from the cancer, but once he knew he was dying, he asked her to have their baby after he was gone.
Before agreeing to allow Lisa to undergo fertility treatment, doctors required Lisa to undergo psychological testing to ensure that she could cope emotionally with giving birth to Gareth's child on her own. While it seems from the article that Lisa resents this requirement to "prove her sanity" and the year-long delay that it caused, I agree in principle. It's important to determine that the reasons for giving birth to a deceased partner's child are sound and will not prevent a woman from healing from her loss, moving forward with her life in a healthy way or raising a baby who is wanted for themselves and not as a living memorial to his father. In fact, Lisa admits to having suffered post-natal depression and anxiety about having Jack on her own, however, she has recovered and is happily raising her now one-year old boy. He also brings joy and comfort to Gareth's mother, who helps out weekly with her grandson.
It's lovely to read about how people find the strength, resources and good fortune to overcome adversity. I"m grateful that people like Amanda Holden and Lisa Wilkinson are courageous enough to share their personal stories with us, as they will surely inspire someone else to meet their own challenges and move forward with their life.