So you find out your pregnant…
You pee on that little stick and those two lines, pink line, smiley face, cross or statement ‘Pregnant’ appears to confirm to you that life as you know it is about to change forever.
It’s all very exciting (and simultaneously terrifying!) in those initial few days. You might have your partner with you when you do the test. You might phone them at work or plan to surprise them at the right time with the news. Whichever way you share the news, as soon as you’ve told them, you can both let it all sink in and let the excitement out.
You might of course have this as your own little secret that just you and your body know.
Either way, either with yourself or with your partner, you will start to have those conversations:
‘How are we going to cope with this?’
‘Is this the right time?’
‘What do you want; a boy or a girl?’
‘What will we name it?’
‘How are we all going to fit in the house?’
‘How are we going to afford this?’
‘So, when actually will baby be due?’
So busy will you be asking all of the if’s, how’s, when’s and but’s, that you won’t, in those initial few days or weeks, realise that you are the only person/people who know about it. Even if you do, it will be an exciting little secret that only you are privy to.
Fast forward a few weeks and that exciting little secret may have turned from something very exciting to something equally as isolating.
Society says: ‘Don’t tell anyone until your past twelve weeks’
Society has trained us all, somewhere along the line, to know that you don’t reveal to anyone that you are pregnant until you have passed the twelve week ‘safety period’.
For some reason I felt like if I broke tradition and told anyone early, then I was already failing at this motherhood business before I had even begun. God knows how these ideas become so concretely instilled in us!
Once you have made it through that twelve-week scan; seen baby’s tiny flickering heart beat, (found how many are in there!), and confirmed that, Yes I’m definitely pregnant, then, and only then, can you proudly announce your little secret to the world.
It’s a long and lonely wait.
This is all well and good, but that wait until your first scan can feel like a lifetime. I know particularly that this time round, this was a massive thing for me. I felt so down and deflated during that wait until my twelve weeks had passed, not being able to share my wonderful news with those around me.
Christmas sucked. Period.
It really didn’t help that my first scan was scheduled in for the beginning of January, so I had to endure the whole of the festive season, making excuse after excuse at Christmas lunch after Christmas Party after cosy winter wedding, as to why I wasn’t joining in with the festive alcohol consumption.
‘You can have ONE drink if you’re driving!’
The all night dancing: ‘You can’t be tired yet – it’s only 10pm?!’
The general drunken merriment: being sober watching people get drunk isn’t fun!
If people knew that I was pregnant they would leave me alone, not keep asking question after question, and let me have the conversations about how much I was looking forward to having baby number two. But no, I was sticking dutifully to societies premise that no-one knows until you know for sure that you’re knocked up with a fully viable human being.
So why are we told to wait until we have got past the magic twelve-week point?
It is all because your risk of miscarriage drops significantly once you have past the end of your first trimester.
(I did even just google to check that I wasn’t missing something here…!)
I’m not sure I even knew this was the reason when I was first pregnant. I just knew automatically that you weren’t supposed to tell anyone until you had had your first scan!
Some people might feel that it’s bad luck to assume that all is well before they have had that first scan. If they have been through miscarriages before they might want to wait until they are completely certain that baby is alive and well before they break the news.
Some people may just feel that they are not ready to tell anyone yet. That they like the fact that they, and only they know about their little being. All very valid reasons if this is the way you feel about things!
The more I think about it, however, the less and less sense this makes to me.
Surely the first trimester is when you need all the help you can get?
The weeks in that first trimester are usually the absolute worst; you’re sick, you’re tired, everything hurts and some days everything just seems like a bit of a struggle.
Surely this is the time in your life that you need those around you to support you?
Someone to offer you a cup of tea, a ginger biscuit, help to carry those boxes you know you ought not to be lifting. Not feeling alone and unable to ask those around you for help as they might just think you’re being a bit pathetic, when actually, really you’re pregnant!
If, and god forbid, if, you did miscarry during that first trimester, I personally feel this is a time that I would need comfort and understanding from those around me. People to talk to, people to cry with, people to understand that I wasn’t just having a bad day or a bad week, I had just lost something so precious that my whole world in that moment had fallen apart.
Surely there are more reasons for telling people about your little miracle, even if the worst should happen, than not?
Now understand here that I don’t mean everybody when I say people. I am talking about your nearest and dearest here. Your parents, your best friends, your Mum friends, your most trusted colleagues; those people who form your inner circle of support in your life, whoever that may be.
Maybe postpone the big Facebook announcement..
Maybe save telling your boss (and of course your loud mouthed colleague who can’t keep things to themselves), or that big Facebook announcement until you really know what’s what and that all is well and good; like after your twelve-week scan!
Whichever way you decide to play things; whether you want to keep quiet completely, tell a select few or shout it from the rooftops; don’t let society keep you from doing whatever you want to do.
At the end of the day, it’s your body, it’s your baby, and it’s your life.
Don’t let anyone make you feel that whatever you do isn’t the right thing, you know what the right thing for you is.
Whatever your take, here are some sound ways to keep your sanity throughout the twelve week wait:
Tell the person you trust the most.
Doesn’t matter who it is. Having one person who knows what you are going through helps A LOT.
I told my best-friend and confidant. To be fair to her I didn’t even have to tell her, she guessed as soon as I said ‘I have something to tell you’.
Having her on my side made life bearable. It is even better as she also works for the same company as I do. If I was feeling particularly crappy at work I could go and chat to her about it.
She also helped me style out work Christmas drinks; when someone handed me a pint and was looking confused as to why I didn’t immediately devour it (as per my usual style!), she quickly devised a plan to allow me to dispose of most of the pint and water it down with lemonade to disguise my non-drinking.
Everyone needs someone to talk to, someone to unload on; this might of course be your partner, but find someone and you won’t be alone!
Tell your parents.
You might not agree with me on this one, but I think that it defiantly helps.
Usually the news that they are going to be Grandparents is something that your parents have been waiting for since they stopped having babies of their own.
Remember, if there are people that you can rely on to know what parenting is all about (agree with their views or not!) your parents are it. They have done it – with you!
Especially if you make the effort to tell them first, it will be appreciated (hopefully – I know all families are different!). Sometimes having someone else to be excited for you and who can share in those early, early milestones makes the whole thing more exciting in itself!
Book in with your Midwife as soon as you can.
Here in the UK your ‘booking in’ appointment with your midwife is usually scheduled in for around the eight-week mark.
Try to make sure that you get this booked in as soon as you can for two reasons:
- One, so that your records highlight your pregnancy, so should you need any treatment for any reason, it can be done so according to your altered needs, and
- Two, so that you have a life-line available to you as early as possible for any of those questions you need an answer to.
I have not yet found an unfriendly midwife. They are lovely, caring people who are there to help, and trust me, they have been asked every question under the sun at every conceivable time of day.
Especially in those first few, nerve wracking weeks, it is greatly comforting to know that you have someone you can call if you feel something isn’t right.
During both my pregnancies I have had a fair amount of bleeding during the first trimester (so much so I didn’t realise I was pregnant first time around until I was eight weeks gone as I thought I had had my period!). It is very reassuring to be able to ask if it’s OK, if its normal, if everything is alright with baby or if there is anything you should be doing or anyone you should be seeing.
You might not always get the answer you want, but they will deal with whatever you through at them. Rest assured that you are in good hands and they have seen and dealt with everything before!
Tell random strangers about your pregnancy.
Yes, I know this one sounds really odd, but bear with me.
Sometimes all you need as a little release is to say the words ‘I’m pregnant’ out loud, to another human being.
If you’re not ready to share the news with people you know yet try sharing it with those you don’t. After all, you don’t know them, they don’t know you, you will probably never see them again and they won’t blab to anyone as it’s doubtful they know any of the same people as you, so what’s the harm!
If you feel like it, tell every random stranger if it makes you feel better! You might look like a bit a weirdo but who cares!
I certainly did drop it into several conversations I had with random strangers. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a ‘congratulations!’ and ‘when are you due?’ from someone!
Most of all, remember that soon you will have that first scan. Soon you will be able to shout it from the rooftops, and soon you will have a bump that is so undeniable, you won’t need to tell anyone; they will already know!
Time passes quickly, very quickly, and soon the twelve-week wait will be nothing but a distant memory.