Maria Rushe talks about old notions surrounding pregnancy announcements and why timing should be a matter of choice.
“Don’t tell anyone until you’re past the 12 weeks”
This statement has begun to bother me. Of course, there are many reasons for such traditional views as these. It’s a social norm that couples are supposed to keep their big news to themselves until the 12 week mark, just incase.
Why? Well I honestly don’t know. I suppose it was because the scan could determine that everything is OK so far and that there is actually a Baby in there. And of course, there is the fact that most miscarriages (80% according to a reputable site for all things Babyful) happen before the 12 week mark.
Maybe we SHOULD heed this advice. Or maybe, like so many other aspects of pregnancy and parenting, we are holding ourselves ransom to old notions, afraid to break the norm…just incase.
When I was expecting Mini-Me, we did keep it to ourselves until we were 12 weeks. I’ve grown up listening to this mantra and I accepted it to be “right”. If it was good enough for every woman before me, it’s good enough for me.
While pregnant with Princess however, we found ourselves having to admit our “secret” at only 9 weeks, quite simply because I could no longer hide the bump or pass my belly off as having eaten too much. I showed early and so I told early. Older family members reacted identically…
“Oh congratulations guys! Great news! How far along are you? 9 weeks?” (raise eyebrows and inhale sharply)
“Jeepers you’re not safe yet. I wouldn’t be telling people yet.”
Yup. Pop our bubble why don’t ye?
Some of us CAN hide our little secrets better than others too. Physically, some Mammies can get to 20+ weeks before the bump becomes obvious. My 2 bumps appeared early. I managed to cover Mini-Me’s with flowy tops until 11 weeks. Princess? From the second I peed on the stick, the belly bumped!
I tried and failed to hide it and eventually just told people. But for some reason, we think that by announcing a pregnancy early, we are tempting fate.
Well here’s what I think about that.
At only 6 weeks pregnant, I had a scare with Princess. I then had to ring my parents/sister to come mind Mini-Me and inform them in one phone call that I was both pregnant (Yay!)…but maybe not for long. Thankfully, it was only a scare, but had that scare ended in miscarriage, as so many do, who was I going to share my grief with? And why should a couple have to deal with such devastation alone? So many mums (and Dads) return to work only a few days later, and carry with them a sadness so great.
It doesn’t matter how early it happens, a pregnancy is a pregnancy and a loss is a loss. Is a lost baby any less your Baby? No. I don’t think so. If you have begun to love the idea of the little person inside, your grief at 10 weeks is just as valid as the grief of someone who loses at 13 weeks. But we’re expected to accept it and get on with it because it was early. And of course, some people can and do, but it must be allowed to be grieved and our Paddy Irish Way of keeping it quiet like a dirty little secret must change. Why is miscarriage always hushed and whispered about? There is nothing shameful about it. Miscarriage IS a big deal, so why is it deemed something that shouldn’t be talked about?
For most people, (and I say “most people” because let’s call a spade a spade, not everyone is happy to find out that they are expecting. It’s not all glows and Miracles and joyeous raptures but that’s a WHOLE different conversation), for most people, the second you find out you are pregnant, you are a Mammy and you begin to love. Getting to the 12 week mark is a relief of course. But so is hitting 13 weeks and 14 weeks and so on. Every day is a relief. But to think that you are safe after the 12 week mark is wrong. Unfortunately, we all know this. A pregnancy can end at any time. Until your Baby is in your arms, there is no relief. And even then, nothing is certain.
Now, of course there are many shaking their heads and tutting as they read this. “I wouldn’t be telling anyone before 12 weeks.” That’s OK. I’m not saying that you should. I’m simply writing my OWN thoughts on it. I don’t assume to be right, but I do like to question things that Mammies and Daddies face. I’m not asking you to agree, and if I were ever pregnant again, I don’t know WHEN I would announce it. I don’t have to know. There are no rules. There are no laws.
I’m not saying that hiding your pregnancy until 12 weeks is wrong. It’s like EVERYTHING in pregnancy and Parenting. Do what is right for you. If you want to keep your happy news to yourself until you’re heading to the Labour ward, good for you. You do just that. You don’t HAVE to announce anything.
And if you want to sing it from the rooftops once you find out, DO!
Your Body, Your call…
But we do need to stop letting our personal situations be dictated by old fashioned notions and remember that there are no rules. Things like this are a personal choice. If someone chooses to tell you their happy news at 5 weeks, accept that that is their decision and don’t dismiss them because YOU wouldn’t tell so early. And likewise, if someone keeps their news a secret until 20 weeks or later, that’s OK too. Because unless it is YOUR BUMP, your opinion on when the news is announced, is really not that important.