Thursday, 7 January 2016

The 12 Week Secret

Finding out the most amazing, life changing news of your life is SO incredibly hard to keep a secret. It actually amazed me how much stigma there was about announcing a pregnancy before reaching 12 weeks. I completely understand that a lot of women don't want to tell the world just in case something happens, the prospect of having the announce to everyone the devastating news could be overwhelming.
However in my case, I felt like I was lying to my friends and work colleagues. I hated being asked about when were going to have a baby and say I wasn't sure, I really honestly felt like I was betraying the little miracle I was harbouring within. People live in fear that telling people prior to 12 weeks will somehow jinx the pregnancy.
I remember when I was at boot camp when I first found out - I was about 6 weeks along - I told my trainer and during the sessions someone overheard him telling me to do a different exercise because of the baby, the lady came up to me after the session and asked if I was pregnant, I said yes! It was the first time I had been directly asked and man it felt good! A few other girls were standing around and hugged/congratulated me, the lady then turned around and told me to be careful and not tell anyone. She told me it was far to early to be telling people I was pregnant. I was really taken aback by this comment. Was my baby's life worth nothing? Was it not real? Yes it was only the size of a lentil, yes it looked like a tiny little alien (Thanks Baby Centre). But it was my tiny alien lentil in my tummy that I was already talking to and making a million promises to. She then proceeded to say "What if something happens to it?" I just turned around told her that if something did happen then I wouldn't feel alone if people knew. I can appreciate her concern but the decision on when to announce the pregnancy is completely up to the parents. You shouldn't feel shamed to announce your beautiful news.
Early miscarriage is very common in Australia, it's said that 1 in 5 women will miscarry before 14 weeks gestation. So that means 20% of all women who have been pregnant have at some stage lost a baby, that's a lot of people harbouring a secret. Sometimes for some people, having people knowing what you're going through is a way to have a support system around you.
Other reasons why sharing pregnancy would be easier:
1) During the morning sickness stages, not having to hide your symptoms or being worried about calling sick to work or not performing at your usual level
2) Having to avoid all alcoholic events! I was 8 weeks pregnant on my birthday - try explaining the lack of alcohol consumption on a party you organised without raising suspicion!
3) Being able to ask for help when you need to lift heavy items or people, or taking a break when you need it. Being a nurse heavy lifting is part of my daily job and I often felt like a princess when I was asking for help or needing to take a break.
4) Not having to lie to everyone around you
So my advice? Just be mindful about how you react to someone breaking the news to you, especially in the early days. Every mother knows there is a chance they may not meet their baby - even right up until the end. Let us enjoy the news we are breaking!
And for those wondering - I kept my secret from most people. I told my closest friends and a few work colleagues, then had to go into hiding for about 6 weeks because I knew there was NO WAY I was going to be able to keep my mouth closed. Next pregnancy I think I'll tell people earlier, so long as my boyfriend (hopefully will be my husband by the next baby - wink wink babe!) is comfortable with it too.

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