There is this line that we draw at around the 12week mark when it is deemed ‘safe’ to share that you are pregnant. Perhaps because you have had an ultrasound now to confirm everything is well, or maybe just because the chances of pregnancy loss after 12 weeks are reduced.
Whatever the reason, most people tend to wait until that time to go public with their pregnancy. Myself included for most of my pregnancies.
It is through the journey of miscarriage that I have really come to appreciate the value of sharing your pregnancy earlier, before you are in the ‘safer’ zone. This might seem weird as you may presume the fear of miscarriage might lead me to keeping it quiet, but in my experience when you miscarry a pregnancy no one knew about the grief can be harder as you are very isolated in it. The actual physiological process of miscarriage can be harder as no one knows why you are taking time off work, why you have pulled out of a social commitment and when you return you do so in a way that is pretending everything is O.K, when maybe it really isn’t.
Sure, it is quite awkward and difficult to retract your joyous news of being pregnant and replace it with the sad news that you no longer are. It is no doubt a hard conversation. But, in my experience it is often exchanged for comfort and support- which from the right people is just what I’ve needed. What has felt more awkward for me personally, is pretending like nothing has happened.
I am not saying you post a pic of your positive pregnancy test to Facebook minutes after you have pee’d on the stick. That is probably not the approach I would take (but…each to their own). I am suggesting though, that sharing your news with people in your world that you know will both celebrate and grieve with you despite the outcome, those that will support you and resource you whether you carry to term or miscarry, those you know will hold the space that you need for any scenario… is perhaps a good idea.
Because here is the thing… Losing a baby through miscarriage, while not uncommon, can be very confronting. It can be physically difficult and emotionally depleting. Not sharing can lead to an isolated grief and an exhausting season of pretending and trying to move on without feeling validated and seen.
I personally don’t announce my pregnancies to the whole world, but by my 6th pregnancy and what was my 3rdmiscarriage I knew I needed to position myself for whatever was ahead- whatever that may be. Drawing on the strength and support of people who knew me, were intuitive to what I might need made a difference to how I recovered.
So here lies my encouragement to share that you are pregnant before 12 weeks. I think it is good to share with the treasured family and friends that you know will be there for you. There for you when the pregnancy vomiting might start right through to when labour starts or in the sad case that you find you have miscarried, or complications have developed. They will be the people that lend you strength then too. (because you really might need it)
If you are reading this and have not had a pregnancy loss, or not even planning a pregnancy. Could I encourage you- be sensitive to those around you. 1 in 4 women will have a pregnancy loss- there is a good chance one of your friends will. There is a good chance someone you know might be grieving in isolation right now. Be the friend that they can draw strength from.
I hope this is a message for someone somewhere! xxx