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When I posted all my pregnancy advice on one thread I said I'd do a series of follow-up posts where we could debate the controversial stuff, or basically anything anyone questioned in the comments... so this is one of those.

The original advice:
Wait until you're 3-4 months along to tell people you're pregnant. Not just because of the loss risks, but because people get really annoying when they know you're pregnant.


Now, I stand by the idea that people are annoying when they know you're pregnant. You can't eat a pickle without someone winking at you about a craving. They stop asking about your life and ask "how's that BABY!?" They act like morning sickness is cute. They might even touch you.

But all that aside, I am questioning the practicality of holding the news in for weeks. I've always readily admitted that I felt really alone and isolated my first week of pregnancy because I felt like I should get my mind wrapped around it before I told my immediate family, and that was just not happening. When I finally did tell them, they didn't think I was a bad mom for not feeling a "bond" yet with my seven week fetus. The women who'd been through it said my feelings were totally normal.

We see too many pregnancies in "sitcom" format. You know how they work on TV... there's the "she's pregnant!" episode where everyone finds out or doesn't in hilarious ways. Then the next episode is "she's huge and getting kicked all the time!" Then the third episode, she goes into labor and out flies the baby in 30 minutes... maybe an hour if they're turning it into a season finale.

In reality:
1) You do not get to feel reassuring baby kicks 45 minutes after you find out you're pregnant.
2) A high percentage of pregnancies, maybe even up to 20%, are miscarried in the first few weeks.
3) Morning sickness can go waaaaay past "cute".

Maybe if us women were all more honest about what we go through, the world wouldn't be able to get away with thinking that pregnancy is so simple. And hey pro-life movement, I'm talking to you... pregnancy is a vague, iffy, in-between stage of humanity. You should not be showing pictures of full-term babies with perfect feet to justify bills that force women to get ultrasounds to look at their fetus at 6 weeks. That is not reality.

And everyone else, maybe we need to calm down with the giant announcements and pressure to be perfect moms the second we see two lines on that stick. Maybe passing the test should not be treated as "BAAAABY! We're ready to nursery shop NOW!" it should be a time to calm the hell down, be supportive, talk very honestly and not 100% optimistically about how we feel.

I'm back to feeling 50/50 on this one. A lot of women have to talk about their pregnancies to friends and coworkers for health reasons, but for the rest of us do we tell early too, to show some solidarity with the sick, and illustrate to the world how long pregnancy really feels? Or do we keep it to ourselves and not bother the population with our lady problems? I could be convinced either way on this one.

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Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
browngirl
Apr. 7th, 2014 03:46 pm (UTC)
Maybe this is one of those things, like bras, where one size does not fit all.

Also, I am saving this post in my Wisdom Files.
spacefem
Apr. 7th, 2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
yes - and this is one of those things where my personal experiences have all been pretty simple and uncomplicated with no special considerations needed. but i've heard it's not the same for every woman! so it's good to talk about.

I can say this about both bras & pregnancy.
erinmdmd
Apr. 7th, 2014 04:03 pm (UTC)
I tell a few people- close friends- right away. I'm excited and now I'll need some support through the first trimester exhaustion. After that, I don't tell anyone until I've told my family around the 3 month point. I get flak for the number of pregnancies (and no, its not justified flak, if there is such a thing) and I'd rather know this baby is sticking around before I let other people know (and opening myself up to endless criticism).
sandokai
Apr. 7th, 2014 04:29 pm (UTC)
I think there's good reasons for telling and not telling...

As you point out, with miscarriage rates being what they are, I can see people wanting to not tell at least until they're out of the high-risk phase. It's a hard thing to untell...
aryanhwy
Apr. 8th, 2014 05:44 am (UTC)
But the experience of my friends that have had miscarriages is that as hard as it is to announce a pregnancy and then a miscarriage, it's even harder to announce the miscarriage out of the blue. Many people may want to hide their miscarriages and keep them secret, but many people find they need the sympathy and support of their friends and family (not to mention that if there are health related concerns due to it, they may also have to tell employers) during such an awful time.
sailorgarnet
Apr. 7th, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC)
I will be 36 weeks pregnant on Wednesday. The vast majority of my friends do not know I am pregnant, and won't until the baby is born. Most of my family knows and we waited til after 20 weeks to tell them. I cannot and will not take the asshat-ery that I did with my first baby with this one. It's not fair to me, my husband, or my child(ren).
athene
Apr. 7th, 2014 06:42 pm (UTC)
That's a tough one. We told immediate family as soon as we knew, because I wanted the support. I also created a custom filter on my LJ of people I trusted and let them know. Then i waited until 12 weeks or so to tell everyone else.

I think the problem here is that we, as a "modern" society forget about the reality of miscarriage, stillbirth, and early childhood death, because unlike our ancestors, these things don't happen as much as they use to. We gotten to the point where two lines, if the mother decides to carry to term, usually does mean a baby that will live a long life, instead of the other way around. We also have this big societal taboo about death. We don't know how to talk about it.

Also, if you think about it, historically, women generally didn't have pregnancy tests. Pregnancy took longer to detect. So people probably weren't aware in most cases until the end of the first trimester anyway.

I figure, tell or don't tell, it's your choice. But if you do tell, be aware that people can be weird and also that you'll have to tell if you have a miscarriage/stillbirth. If you don't tell, you don't get the support of people around you, but you may feel like you're doing it alone.
crazedturkey
Apr. 7th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC)
I always tell people to tell their mum (or equivalent close person) because no one who miscarrys should do it alone,

In my case my close family knew early - it was hard to hide as I was vomiting constantly and losing weight lol.
altamira16
Apr. 7th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC)
I was queasy so I told my boss fairly early on because I did not want her to think that I was drunk puking at work. My fear was unrealistic, but that is how it played out.
tabloidscully
Apr. 7th, 2014 08:07 pm (UTC)
Considering that nowadays women are facing criminal charges for not disclosing miscarriages and one woman was even arrested for expressing ambivalence about her pregnancy....I would not encourage women to be more honest about how they feel. The status quo is more un-friendly to women and reproductive health than ever before. :/
aryanhwy
Apr. 8th, 2014 05:41 am (UTC)
One of the strongest argument against the argument for waiting to tell until you've passed the stage of most likely miscarriage that I've heard comes from people who have had early miscarriages: Suppose you don't tell people you're pregnant because you want to get past the risk of early miscarriage, and then you miscarry and thus never get to tell people at all that you were pregnant. Not only have you just had a miscarriage, no one knows that you did, and thus if you need to tell them (e.g., to explain to your family/friends/coworkers why you suddenly need time and space for healing), you have to go through the whole "we were pregnant" "yay!" "we're not now" "oh" cycle, which is far, far, far worse than getting to celebrate your pregnancy for real while it existed, and have friends and family already on hand to sympathize when things go south.

We waited until about 10 weeks, but that's because I didn't test until I was already two weeks late, and then it was so unexpected that I didn't really believe it until we had the ultrasound. The only reason I ended up telling family when I did was my mom was coming to visit, and if she and my sister knew, I knew that I could get hand-me-down maternity clothes. :) Otherwise, I may have waited till closer to 12 simply because it took me that long to get used to the idea.
lepid0ptera
Apr. 9th, 2014 02:38 pm (UTC)
But at the same time, not everyone feels that way. My cousin had a non-viable pregnancy, and every time since then she actually doesn't want to announce her pregnancy until she's had her anatomy scan (usually at 20 weeks) and she's usually showing by then! And some people who've had miscarriages don't want to talk about them at all and would prefer that no one know about the pregnancy for that reason.

For me personally I'm a fan of telling people as soon as the morning sickness hits, but that's just me. This is definitely a do-the-right-thing-for-you situation!

The only thing for me is if I had to terminate a non-viable pregnancy, it would make things awkward. My parents would support me 100% but my MIL is pro-life. But in that situation you're usually showing already by the time you know about it, so keeping it quiet is pretty difficult.
aryanhwy
Apr. 9th, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, sure: And for those people, I certainly wouldn't advocate telling if they didn't want to/weren't comfortable to! Those people who have already experienced a loss are in the unfortunate situation of knowing their preferences in such a situation far better than those of us who haven't been can ever imagine.
easter
Apr. 8th, 2014 01:00 pm (UTC)
"You can't eat a pickle without someone winking at you about a craving"

As a woman, you can't eat a pickle, or say you have an upset tummy, without people giving you the wink wink, nudge nudge, MAYBE SHE'S PREGNANT. As someone with infertility issues this is just awful. Maybe someone is, and wants their privacy. Don't act like that and potentially force an early reveal! Also, having babies is great, if that's your thing, but everyone can't/doesn't want to, so acting like women of a certain age are just basically vessels for a baby without other thoughts or feelings and nothing else on their mind is pretty crappy. If it happened once in a while, fine, whatever, but it used to happen to me a lot until I "came out" as having fertility problems on Facebook. But why should I have had to share something so personal to get people to back off on YOU'RE GETTING UP THERE YOU KNOW and SO WHEN ARE YOU STARTING A FAMILY? comments. The "starting a family" comments are the worst. I tell people that um, my husband and I already ARE a family, and you don't need a baby to finally actually be a family. I try not to look at them completely disdainfully when they say things like that but I know I fail, lol.

Edited at 2014-04-08 01:14 pm (UTC)
mrs_dragon
Apr. 12th, 2014 10:17 pm (UTC)
Amen. Generally when people ask me if we have kids I say "No, just two cats!" and smile! Most people get that it's not an open topic and change the subject. The few that don't, well there's no helping them any way. : /
easter
Apr. 12th, 2014 11:08 pm (UTC)
I was getting fitted for my wedding shoes and the creepy man who sold them to me sent me off with a nudge and a wink and a "Make lots of babies!" When I turned my head and did not respond, he REPEATED IT. I finally said "I am actually ill, and infertile" the room went silent. I wanted to say "Why t.f. is that supposed to be the pinnacle of my entire life?" It is for some people - and that is absolutely fine of course - but why am I some kind of freak because it's not really for me anyway? If it happens (chances are slim) okay, we'd roll with it and have a hell of a lot of fun. If it doesn't, okay. But omg, people, stop acting as if women who don't want or can't have children are of no value, and just...stop assuming every single woman who crosses your path wants this more than anything.
mrs_dragon
Apr. 14th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
Ew. I'm sorry you had to encounter that. : /

We're in the south where religion and babies are just *assumed* so I've had some special encounters (like the coworker who told me I'd better have babies before 30 or menopause would be bad for me...). Before we started trying I just shrugged it all off. Now almost 2 years after we started trying I just want to strangle them...it's presumptive and arrogant. And I feel so much for my friends who simply do not want children. Why is their "no" not enough?
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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