During the past week or so, I’ve stepped into myself. You see, I’m an introvert and I spend a lot of time in my head, with my thoughts. They quickly oscilate and would be hard to keep up with. Usually, I have an easy time of remembering things. Keeping calendars in my head. Remembering faces and names. During my pregnancy, it was the first time I had truly experienced what everyone dubs as “pregnancy brain.” I didn’t like it one bit, I’ll admit. Anyway, the point of this is because there is one thought that has been bothering me. And rather than keep it in my head or write it down to discuss another time, I decided to just stop what I’m doing and write about it now.
It’s about announcing pregnancy. So many times you hear someone give a newly pregnant woman the advice of “wait.” The advice is simply that you shouldn’t share the news of a new pregnancy until your second trimester. And most of us oblige. And I ask – “Why?”
Why do we wait to share such exciting news? Nowadays, we live in a world of Social Media where we live with Facebook and Twitter and INSTAgram. We want to share everything NOW. What we’re watching, how we’re feeling, what we’re eating and the color of our new nail polish. But, to share that you’re pregnant when you first find out is somehow taboo.
I understand, truly I do. As a woman that has now experienced five (5) pregnancy losses, all in different stages of pregnancy, I subscribed to this rule, mostly. But, the more miscarriages I had, the less and less I believed that this rule was actually any help at all. One could explain away the reasons for waiting to share news, and that would simply be so that we don’t have to explain to others that our pregnancy has ended, should we be met with being included in the most unfortunate of statistics; miscarriage.
But, why are we afraid to share? Why are we afraid to let people know of our loss? Do we feel shame? Do we feel embarrassment? “Oh no! I lost the baby, now everyone will think I was so stupid for sharing my news so soon, I JYNXED it!”
I began to believe that I should share the news as early as I feel comfortable and with those I felt comfortable with. As much as I wanted to contain my news from others, I felt the need to share. And, yes, we did wait until our second trimester to share the news publicly via Social Media and the like. That didn’t make me any safer.
What it did prove to me is the immense support system that I have all around me. I didn’t need to apologize for my sadness and grief. I didn’t need to feel shame or embarrassment. I got to be the face of miscarriage and infertility to my family & friends. The same people that experienced joy at our happy news of expecting could also be an integral part of our healing as we announced the loss of our son. The same people that would be happy for us can also grieve with us.
And I think…what if I go through this again? What if I get pregnant again? Now waiting 13 weeks isn’t safe anymore. But is waiting until 18 weeks? What about 38 weeks? Sadly, a loss like mine and like those of countless others can happen at any time.
I refused to be paralyzed by the stigma that miscarriages should remain unspoken. That early pregnancies shouldn’t be celebrated. I’m not saying that should I ever get pregnant again that I’ll be out & about blasting the news over loudspeakers, but, I certainly won’t hide the fact that I am pregnant out of shame, fear or anxiety. I refuse to sit back and let the fear of the unknown overpower the great joy that being pregnant can be.
So, next time you are tempted to give the advice to someone, especially a daughter, daughter-in-law, sister or best friend, consider why. Revisit those reasons and consider other options. Analyze why you think she should wait to announce. Make sure it’s not because of fear.
You share your news with anyone you wish to share with. Allow those that can feel joy with you to also feel and see you through your fears. The biggest difference between sharing and not sharing is in who can be there to support you. For if you never share what happened, you will live with Unspoken Grief, and well, girl, that just isn’t fair.