By Eliza Henry-Jones
You’re pregnant, nauseous and inexplicably craving chips with strawberry yoghurt. You keep gazing at your midriff with a sort of morbid fascination – exactly how far can tummy skin stretch?
A thought pops into your head. Who should you tell about your pregnancy? And when?
While each trimester has its own difficulties, the first trimester is notorious for exhaustion, dizziness, nausea and huge hormonal changes. There’s also a lot of stigma around those early weeks, when the chance of having a miscarriage is high. You might be terrified and uncertain about your pregnancy or you might be elated. Either way, it’s a lot to keep to yourself.
We’re all individuals
I found out I was pregnant at about six weeks and promptly told everyone close to me. I felt awful. I was constantly exhausted, dizzy and nauseous. Luckily, I worked from home. If I needed a nap or to curl up in a ball with a ginger tea for a while, I could do so privately and make up the time later. But I kept thinking about all the women out there who have jobs and commitments that don’t offer that flexibility – the women diving out of meetings to vomit and being so tired they need to sleep before they commute home. The women trying to juggle older children and extended families and everything in between.
What other women say
Telling people was the right choice for me. I figured that if I did have a miscarriage, those were the people I’d want around, supporting me. Quite a few people told me that I was “brave” for sharing the news so early; other people asked me if I was worried about jinxing the pregnancy. I waited until three months to make announcements on social media. “I waited to tell people,” says Sally. “And when I miscarried, nobody knew except my partner. It was pretty isolating. My next pregnancy, I told a few close friends and family and I’m glad I did.”
But telling people early certainly doesn’t suit everyone. “Waiting was the only option for me,” says Anna, who has a five month old. “I have a full-on family and knew straight away that I didn’t want the pressure of people asking me about the pregnancy until I was out of the danger zone.”
Phoebe miscarried at ten weeks. “I was glad I hadn’t told anyone about the pregnancy. I couldn’t have dealt with people coming up and asking about the pregnancy. I told my boss and a couple of friends that I’d miscarried and that was it. I still struggle talking about it.”
Things to consider
- How good are you at keeping secrets? Sometimes you might intend to wait but find you just blurt it out!
- Are you around hazardous things at work? If you are, you’ll probably need to tell your boss and make other arrangements
- If you tell people you’re pregnant and then have a miscarriage, you’ll have to tell them about the miscarriage, too. While you might welcome the support, it can also be traumatic and exhausting having to re-tell the news to different people.- Are you ready for advice and lots of it? Once the news is out, chances are you’ll be inundated with people’s opinions on pregnancy, birth and child raising. While some of this will be very welcome, some of it won’t be.
Some people might keep the news to themselves into the second or even third trimesters. The bottom line is, when and how you share your pregnancy news is a very personal choice. There is no right or wrong decision. Do what feels right for you!