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Don’t Wait…Celebrate!

pregnancy announcementFinding out about our second pregnancy was just as exciting as finding out about our first.  With our first baby, we didn’t tell our family until 8 weeks, and friends didn’t follow until weeks later.  This time around, my opinions about keeping that big secret had changed- for many reasons! I knew I wanted to tell family right away, so at only 6 weeks pregnant we let the rest of the world know we were expecting – and here’s why…

First of all, I was just so excited!  I knew babies were wonderful when I found out we were pregnant with our first, but this time around I knew firsthand the incredible love and joy that only comes from meeting your new baby and watching them grow. I don’t think there would have been a way for me to keep that inside for another month- much less two.  I just couldn’t!

Secondly, for me, the first trimester of pregnancy is the hardest.  I’m sick.  I’m tired, and let’s face it – I basically give up cooking and cleaning.  Keeping my pregnancy a secret for the first 12 weeks means that during the most emotionally and physically trying time of my pregnancy I basically have to keep to myself and pretend that all is well.  It was easier to do last time because I wasn’t caring for a toddler. I wasn’t even working in the beginning.  I was a teacher so I had summer vacation to lounge around and hunch over the toilet to my heart’s content. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to ask for (and receive!) help this time. Lastly, the obvious reason most people wait just wasn’t sitting well for me anymore.  We have all heard that we should wait until our pregnancy reaches the second trimester, because then it’s more likely to remain viable.
“If you tell everyone, you better be up for untelling everyone.”

 

Well, let me just share my thoughts on that.  Over the past few years I have seen friends silently suffer through miscarriage, only to find out about the lost pregnancy after sufficient time has passed.  I have taught childbirth classes and had students contact me about classes early on in pregnancy, only to lose their baby before class even begins.  Each time I talk to them, they ask the same questions, “What could I have done differently?” and “Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening again?”.  The answer? Nothing.  Miscarriage occurs in 1 in 5 pregnancies.  (1 in 4 if you look at first time pregnancies alone.)  It’s devastatingly common, but many moms don’t know that.  Because we keep it a secret.  Because it’s something that families endure alone.

The loss of a life, at any age, is tragic.  And it matters.  And it counts.  No one would ask a family who loses a child they have held in their arms to grieve silently or without support, and the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, that baby’s life is held in her heart.  She is a mother to it. She plans a future for it.  She dreams about its personality.  She hopes for its success. When a pregnancy is lost, not only does a woman have to grieve the loss of her baby, but she has to grieve the loss of the future and dreams she had for her family with that baby.  I pray that I never experience miscarriage, but if I ever did have to go through that, I wouldn’t want to do it silently.  I would want the life of my child to be recognized.  I would want to be supported, and I would want other mothers to know that miscarriage can happen to anyone.

This is obviously a personal preference.  Some might prefer to grieve and heal silently, and that’s perfectly fine.  I’m not suggesting everyone should spill the beans as soon as they see that second line appear.  But I would also caution against discouraging anyone from sharing early on if they so wish.  Miscarriage isn’t shameful.  All life should be celebrated, and every pregnant mama should have the support of her family and friends whenever she needs it.

When did you tell family and friends you were expecting? Was there a reason you waited until a certain point?

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2 Responses to Don’t Wait…Celebrate!

  1. Avatar
    Lisa Rankin June 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    Beautifully stated.

  2. Avatar
    Laura October 5, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    Thank you for the article. I experienced stillbirth and miscarriage in 6 months last year. I celebrate our children’s life’s and appreciate any time someone mentions them- especially by name! We tell about when we are sick or what we have for dinner- why not share and value precious life. Another great group is kids joining eternity.org- they have amazing resources to help the couple.

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