Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why I Didn't Wait to Tell People I was Pregnant (Except at Work)

I lucked out when gestating H. in that I mostly got pregnant in the front. This was me the day I gave birth:

waiting to announce a pregnancy

Before you go running off in a huff, you need to know that my telling you that is not some horribly unsubtle way of bragging. My good fortune, as I see it, had nothing to do with still having visible collarbones. I was lucky because gaining weight mainly in the front meant I could hide it for as long as possible at work. According to this article, keeping a pregnancy under wraps at work is pretty common because plenty of companies will look for any excuse to send anyone with a bun in the oven packing.

Hiding a pregnancy at work is just good old plain common sense.

What surprises me is that it's apparently still relatively common for mamas-to-be to keep pregnancies a secret from friends and family until the second trimester. The first trimester, as I know all too well, being the trimester in which big, terrible tragedies are most common, and the reasoning being that once you tell a whole lot of people that you're pregnant, you may find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having to tell those same people that you're now unpregnant.

On the surface, avoiding that probably seems like a good idea. I get it. Maybe you think you wouldn't want to talk about a miscarriage. Better to just get over it, move on. Better to wait until the safety of trimester 2, just in case.

But if you're me, the first thing you do after a big, terrible tragedy is a get a tattoo in a spot that's usually not covered by clothing so you have an excuse to bring up miscarriage in polite company. Heck, to bring it up when the nice unsuspecting barista asks about your ink. And then the first thing you do not too long after seeing that double line a year and a half later is announce your pregnancy to the world.

There was no way I was going to go through all that again without a support system as vast and as broad as possible from the very beginning. If I went to that first ultrasound only to find out there was nothing to scan, I didn't want to preface the subsequent ramblings with a whole introduction to my now dead zygote. I didn't want to have to explain to people why I needed a shoulder to cry on or a few days worth of hot meals or just to be left alone for a while until I feel ready to rejoin the world. In the event that I miscarried again, I wanted my whole world there with me, along for the ride so there'd be someone to drag me back from the edge when I'd veer too sharply toward the darkness.

If you're pregnant and hiding it from people reasonably close to you, I'd suggest you reconsider. Pregnancy, whether ultimately joyful or painful, fruitful or not, is a journey best shared.

How long did you wait before announcing your pregnancy?

13 comments:

  1. After I miscarried, I said the exact same thing. With my first pregnancy, I found out at 5 weeks and miscarried at 7. I was devastated and I think I would have died, if people hadn't known what I was going through. When I got pregnant the second time, just 6 weeks later, I told everybody right away. I knew that if I had a second miscarriage, it would be even harder, and I would need every loved one possible to help get me through. If/when I am blessed with a third pregnancy, I plan to do the same thing, including telling my blog readers. I've never understood the idea of keeping the joy or sadness related to pregnancy a secret. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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    1. And thank you for sharing, too. Some people would probably balk at sharing it online, but so much of the support we get is online these days. After I miscarried, I hung out on miscarriage support boards for a few weeks and it was so helpful. All the nice people comforting me here were super wonderful, too.

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  2. I think it matters who "everybody" is... I announced my first pregnancy to family and close friends right away, and then I made the obligatory facebook announcement at 12 weeks. When I miscarried a few days later, it simply didn't occur to me that I'd have to tell person after person individually about it. Nearly a month later, I received baby clothes for my birthday. It had taken years to get pregnant, and I was convinced we'd never have children. We didn't have the money for fertility treatments or adoption, and every person who asked about my long-gone pregnancy just punctuated the childlessness.

    When I got pregnant again just a few months later, I once again told close friends and family, but I didn't say anything on facebook until after viability. My employer knew at 16 weeks.

    With my third pregnancy, there were hormonal issues. The doctor called me the day after my "let's confirm the pregnancy" appointment telling me I needed to come in immediately for an ultrasound to confirm viability and to start medication. It wasn't until 14 weeks when I went off the supplements and a heartbeat was heard by doppler that the pregnancy was officially confirmed. Prior to that point, I only told my mom, sisters, and a close friend who guessed thanks to my morning sickness.

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    1. Yikes! I can definitely see why you might not share if things seemed "up in the air". Like if there was a possible diagnosis right away. I'm a very public person so our is he or isn't he stuff wrt Down syndrome was public, but I could certainly see wanting to experience that in private, too.

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  3. I totally waited as long as I could because I'm a school teacher, so explaining to teenagers that your unpregnant would be awful! A fellow teacher had to do just that and it was ugly :(

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    1. Ooh, eek! I think I'd wait in that situation, too. Heck, I hid it at work until the last possible moment - I had to figure out my leave. But I work with ALL dudes so I think it was kind of similar.

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  4. I think we were 18 weeks before we announced this time. I was nervous because my uterus was exhibiting the kind of soreness I experienced during the healing after it ruptured so I wasn't sure it would last. Then we had the DS thing which would have gotten negative comments from various family members and we didn't want to have to deal with that. But we wait until 12 weeks anyway because Christopher's parents (all 4 of them) act like we're jumping the gun if we tell them sooner and that kills the joy of it. Of course when you discover you're pregnant at 3 weeks out because you're super fertile and super regular, it might be a tad early for making big announcements.

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    1. Family drama! Another good reason to wait. I'm on board for doing anything that minimizes family drama :) Hope you're feeling good these days!!

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  5. You don't realize how much of an emotional burden it is until something does, or very nearly, goes wrong. Or, in my case, it takes you 12 years to come to terms with it all.
    Something about being pregnant at 17 and not telling anyone until I was in the hospital, moments away from giving birth (and not finding out till later how close I came to dying), might have had something to do with that. It's not something I recommend, EVER.

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  6. I miscarried with my first pregnancy and it was a terrible experience! I had to do a D&C and everything. I told all my friends and family and it was awful having to break the news later on down the line that I was no longer pregnant. They were all there for me, but I cried every time I had to explain. With my 2nd pregnancy I revealed to my CLOSE friends and family when I found out...My third pregnancy, was the same. Close friends and family. As far as my job, those that worked close to me knew, but a LOT of people didn't. Most didn't even know I was pregnant until they had my work baby shower. LOL! Stopping in from SITS!

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  7. Thanku so much for this, i shared with friends and family quite early and was so glad of this when i miscarried because some people were amazing and i couldnt have got through it without them. It was some people i didnt expect too. Im also glad that most of my friends know iv been through this so that they can come to me if they ever have such a sad loss xxx

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    1. Right - if we don't share, how else can we know we can support one another?

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