Women are advised to hold back on announcing pregnancy until 12 weeks. But ask any expectant mother, the symptoms, the joy, and all the other accompanying emotions associated with pregnancy begin as soon as you get that positive pregnancy result. So when is the right time to announce pregnancy?
Why I Didn’t Wait
Five years ago my perspective on life changed dramatically. I lost three family members in one year. It changed me as only the loss of a loved one can. In the aftermath, I learned that if something brings you joy – embrace it. There is nothing in this world that brings more hope and joy to my family than a baby. So for me, when I found out I was pregnant the first time, it wasn’t even possible to keep it to myself because I was so ecstatically happy. And following suit, in my second pregnancy I did not wait.
I wanted to share my joy with those I loved. Because looking back five years ago, joy with loved ones is something you don’t get more of, and I don’t want to miss a second. I also know that if things didn’t go as planned, I did not want to be alone. As it turned out my second pregnancy did not go as planned. At nine weeks, I had a miscarriage. See The Baby That Never Was.
My Third Pregnancy
Currently, I am 17 weeks in my third pregnancy. This time around I was a lot more selective in sharing my pregnancy news. I was cautious because in the wake of the miscarriage, my husband and I told a significant number of people and our loss was shared quite publicly. As a private person, this time I wanted to practice caution and somehow avoid the pain. The only way I knew to do this was to keep the pregnancy a secret.
You Can’t Protect Yourself From Pain
‘You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.’ (JonathJonathan Safran Foer
In our strategy to shield ourself from loss and the inevitable pain if we experienced another tragedy, I shielded myself from experiencing the happiness of pregnancy. So after 15 weeks, my husband and I finally announced that we are expecting a firecracker little boy in July.
When is the right time to announce pregnancy?
These experiences taught me a lot about myself and challenged my perspective on when the “right time” to announce pregnancy. Foremost, there is no right time. But here are my my three tips:
1. Tell Close Friends And Family
I told my close friends immediately in all pregnancies. Tell people you want to share the emotion of pregnancy with. Whether it be the joys or the sadness, in the event something tragedy occurs, having a support network will only benefit you. It is your choice and you don’t have to go through any of it alone. It isn’t some burden to be kept hidden only to revealed when society deems it safe. If your close friends are as close to you as you think, they will be happy to be on the emotional roller coaster with you and there to lift you up when you need it. The same goes for family.
2. Skip The Lies
Another reason I shared with close friends and family from the beginning is because I didn’t want to pretend I wasn’t sick and tired. I didn’t want to make an excuse for passing up on my favorite glass of red wine or tennis match. I preferred to be candid and express what was really going on. For me, it was a natural decision, the last thing I wanted on my plate was to conjure up manufactured excuses. My preference is to let family and friends know what is actually going on.
3. Social Media Announcement
Social media is its own beast. Pregnancy is still personal. You don’t have to tell everyone. Wait to share on social media if you feel hesitant. It is one thing to hold back with close friends and family, it is quite another to divulge to the internet. If you don’t feel hesitant, share away.
Revisiting The 12 week rule
Women are encouraged to wait to announce a pregnancy until 12 weeks when the risk of miscarriage significantly declines. This rule suggests keeping pregnancy a secret until it is “safe.” But the reality is parenthood, starting with pregnancy, is never safe. Pregnancy is not a secret to be kept hidden, it is a wonderful moment where you bring a new life into the world. The same goes if a tragedy happens and the pregnancy results in miscarriage.
My decision shouldn’t impact yours. But what I hope it does, is encourage you to make the proactive decision about when to share, and with who, because it is a momentous occasion and it is your choice to make. So whether you wait a week, twelve, or twenty to share your news, take control of your body and your pregnancy, announce when it is best for you.
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