Why keeping your pregnancy secret might NOT be for you

Trigger warning: this post talks about miscarriage and baby loss

Traditionally, upon discovering that we’re pregnant, we have kept silent. Pregnancy is meant to be a secret until we hit that magical 12 week mark, right? I’m calling bullshit on that for several reasons. Disclosing to people, close family and friends or otherwise, that you’re pregnant can provide you with a much needed support system.

You might be super excited and ready to share your pregnancy

Who says we need to stick to this 12 week rule? The patriarchy that has conditioned us for so long to be small and stay silent? If you are super excited about your pregnancy and want to tell the world about it, why shouldn’t you? It is a really lovely thing for other people to be excited with you and share in that joy.

The most common reason people give about why we shouldn’t share our pregnancy before 12 weeks is usually:

Miscarriage

I had three miscarriages before my current pregnancy. I’ve written in the past about my first miscarriage, which was also a partial molar pregnancy. During that first experience of pregnancy, I followed the “you must keep your pregnancy a secret” rule as I thought I was supposed to. It wasn’t until I was being booked in for surgery that I told anyone.

You see, we’re told that we should keep our pregnancy a secret because what if we miscarry? Personally, I think that is MORE of a reason to let your close friends and family know you’re pregnant. They can be your much needed support system during a really difficult and often traumatic time. It is not an experience that you need to go into alone.

When I became pregnant the second time, I didn’t know whether or not I should tell anyone. I knew the value of having a support system, but I was still wrapped up in terror and anxiety. I chose to tell my close friends, but not my family. At the time, my mum was flying over to the UK for a visit and I thought I would wait and give her the good news in person. Unfortunately, the news I had to give her when she arrived was: we need to go to the hospital because I think I’m miscarrying.

Having my mum with me during that time was a huge help. She was incredibly supportive of me and comforted me when I needed it most. I didn’t feel so alone.

My third miscarriage happened so early during pregnancy that I didn’t even have time to tell anyone I was pregnant. Yet, I still chose to tell my close friends and family that I miscarried. I need their support.

Miscarriage is really difficult and can often times be traumatic. Letting those around you know about your pregnancy early on provides you with that support system and network if things go bad.

If you’d like to learn how to talk to someone about miscarriage, you might be interested in this post.

Another reason you might want to tell people about your pregnancy is that:

You might be sick a lot

In the first trimester of my current pregnancy, I was practically bed ridden for 2 weeks, barely able to do anything. I had a really hard time eating foods and was throwing up a lot. I was constantly exhausted and had no energy to do anything.

My work really suffered for it, but I chose to tell those I work with about my pregnancy and they were understanding. This will, of course, vary depending on your work environment.

I had friends and family come stay with me often during that first trimester to help me around the house and walk the dogs when my partner was away for work. It was incredibly comforting to have people looking after you and making sure you were well supported.

I was later diagnosed with hyperemesis, which lasted for about the first 6 months of my pregnancy. Having people with me, supporting me, during that time was invaluable.

Whether you choose to let people know about your pregnancy or not, it is a personal choice. I hate the idea that we SHOULD keep our pregnancy a secret for 12 weeks and rather think that it’s an individual choice each pregnant person should be able to make themselves. There are valid reasons why you may or may not wish to share about your pregnancy, but please don’t silence yourself because someone else says you should. Do what’s right for you.

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