Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Announcing a Pregnancy: Should You Wait out the First Trimester?

When to break news of a pregnancy is a very personal journey. Some like to tell right away; others want to wait until the first trimester is over. There are valid reasons for both choices. On one hand, there is the desire to share the joy for as long as there is joy to share, as Jenn and others have written about so eloquently. On the other hand, is the desire to keep the news close and to enjoy the secret between your partner and you until you are completely sure this baby is very likely to happen. With a fourth of all pregnancies ending before the first trimester is complete, this is a very valid concern. Personally, I had always been around others who told right away and so I assumed that I would be one of those people, too, but then when I did get pregnant, my husband believed very strongly in not telling anyone until we were out of the first trimester. He had the experience (twice) of being told an out of state friend was pregnant, only to call back a month or two later, ask how the pregnancy was going, and was told it had ended in a miscarriage. He didn't want to make anyone feel that awkward, so out of deference to him and his strong beliefs, I have kept both of my pregnancies secrets until just about the second trimester.

It actually was a strange kind of experience for me. Both times, as soon as I knew I was pregnant, it was like I had a drum in my heart beating "I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant" and I had an overwhelming desire to just insert it randomly into nearly every conversation. "Oh, you need toilet paper from the store? Well, guess what, I'm pregnant!" "Oh, you are cutting your lawn this weekend before you visit your relatives? I'm pregnant!" Both times, we told our families before the trimester was up and a few, key friends, but we did not tell extended friends or acquaintances until the magic twelve weeks was up, but a strange thing happened both times. As the weeks of secrecy wore on, I became more and more reluctant to tell anyone my news. Partially, this was because I grew to enjoy my little internal secret. Before we told the world, we didn't have to share our newest baby with anyone. The details of the pregnancy were ours alone for three magic months. Each baby was like our secret garden that we were tending until it was in perfect bloom. It also gave me something to hold on to when I had a bad day or when it seemed like I was having trouble with my normal stress. I could talk to the baby and that baby was my tiny little, secret confidant. Each baby was like my own private dream. I didn't have to hear anyone's scary labor stories or hear about how different my life would be when I had the baby. I didn't have to hear any advice. Those first three months were all about my dreams and hopes about what I wanted my life to be like as, first, a mother of one and now, in this pregnancy, a mother of two.

That was the more positive part of not telling, however, it was not the only reason for my growing reluctance to tell. A part of me also grew more fearful with each passing week of what would happen if I did wait to announce the pregnancy and then immediately lost him/her, anyway. It was as if keeping it a secret in fear that a miscarriage would happen, made me more and more fearful that a miscarriage could happen and I dreaded telling anyone for fear I would have to untell them and they would know that this was a "later" miscarriage because I had waited so long in the first place. It also became somewhat nerve wracking never dropping any hints and trying to convince everyone that I was just fine, when in fact I was over-emotional, nauseous, and bursting with questions and stories about my plan for my VBAC that I couldn't share because it was still a secret.

One of my favorite yogis, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, in her book, Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful (one of my new favorite pregnancy books) writes of the first three months that they are like "preparing the ground before the garden is planted" and that it is best to "[o]nly let good vibrations go toward the energy it takes to plant a soul" (15). So, when it comes to deciding if you should wait to tell or not, I would consider whether you will have better "vibrations" if you keep it a secret or if you tell others. If you feel, as my aunt and many other people I know who like to wait to tell, that you would like to keep all that positive energy between you and your partner and let the outside world have its influence later, than keep that "delicious secret" (as Gurmuhk also calls it on the same page) to yourself and enjoy tending that secret garden until it is in full bloom. If you are afraid that keeping it a secret will invite your own negative energies and worries into your joy, than tell. In my case, it was a mix of both, but telling a few key people, like my extremely close friends and family definitely helped my garden to grow better than keeping it just between my partner and I would have.

Thanks for reading,
I'm due between late February and mid-March!



Meegs said... [Reply to comment]

Congratulations!! What wonderful news!

I was pregnant twice, but miscarried the first time, finding out at my 12 week ultrasound. We hadn't told tons of people, but had told family and a few friends. It was really hard to "untell" them. So the second time around, the pregnancy that resulted in my amazing daughter Gwenivere, we kept it a little closer to the chest. Only our best friends knew at first, then after one successful ultrasound at 8 weeks, we told our parents. After 12 weeks we pulled down the curtain and let everyone in.

I understand both ways of thinking, but not telling was what I needed to do to protect my heart.

Sarah said... [Reply to comment]

I enjoyed reading this. My husband wants to tell everyone right away, but I want to wait. It is such a tough debate to have with him. I don't feel close to his family and don't want to untell them if there is a miscarriage.

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