Persephone: Parent

A fine site

12 week Secret

on February 8, 2015

I was directed to an article on the Daily Mail a few days ago about why we keep pregnancies a secret for the first 12 weeks, written from a mum who has had a miscarriage. I will state immediately that I have never had a miscarriage so cannot comment from experiencing that directly. However, I can still discuss the act of secret keeping. Why do we not announce a pregnancy until after 12 weeks? There’s something about there being a higher rate of miscarriage before that point. This is when we have our first scans over here, so when we first hear a heartbeat. However, you can have earlier scans – out of choice or medical necessity – does this mean you can announce the pregnancy?

Meanwhile, if you don’t announce before your 12 week scan, you suffer those 12 weeks alone. With Elvis, due to the treatment, everyone knew I was pregnant. Most people knew what day I had to test. There was no 12 week secret. With Robin, it was our choice. We chose to tell our parents and closest friends before the 12 weeks. With both, my theory was, if the awful happened, the people who knew were the people I would turn to. As I mentioned, I have never suffered a miscarriage. I have suffered through trying to conceive, having unexplained fertility and then a treatment based conception. Along with a natural conception. Ignoring the miscarriage, or potential for it, aspect of a pregnancy, for a lot of people those first 12 weeks are the worst and you have to suffer in silence. Or you’re advised to. Personnlly I subscribe to the theory that I used – no matter what the guidance or advice, you can choose to tell those closest to you, those that you would expect support from if the worst happens. The two best friends that I chose to tell do not mean more to me than the two best friends that I chose not to tell. The colleague at work that I told (because she announced her pregnancy a week before I was scheduled to announce) means no more to me than the colleague I didn’t tell.

But even if you choose to tell those closeset to you, those that will be able to support you, there are still plenty of people that you have to lie to. I actually consider myself lucky with Elvis because everyone was aware that I was due for the fertility treatment, I lied to no one – they all suffered alongside me! With Robin, I lied to mummy-friends for almost two months. And they were the people that I saw all of the time. There I was at a toddler group, feeling like death, wanting to nap, desperately wanting to ignore my son and just sleep (hence why I went to the group!) and lying to everyone around me. I really did feel awful. I have no idea if any of those mummies noticed or guessed.

I know a mum-to-be who had told me she was expecting but no one else, and she was having a terrible time during early pregnancy. Well, her social comments would have had other friends thinking that she was dying without the background knowledge that she was expecting. I started to worry that people would think she was dying! Trust me, I hate the family motto the generation above me seems to have – you’re not ill, only pregnant (which is true, but some people have far harder pregnancies than others so don’t judge), but my friend’s online persona did not hide any of her pains, because it was too early, leaving friends and family thoroughly worried. On the flipside I know a mum that announced her pregnancy on social media at just 6 weeks. Very sadly she did miscarry within just a few weeks. She would have had support and love from everyone who knew her though because of her announcement, whereas the mum who was suffering and didn’t announce or share with anyone, sufferned alone for those 7 weeks.

Would or did you announce early? What do you think of mums that do? Or don’t?

~ P x

3 responses to “12 week Secret

  1. mummyhodds89 says:

    Hi stumbled across your post! We chose with our first not to tell anyone other than parents.. And them 12 weeks were dreadful, and none of our friends understood why we suddenly dropped off the radar for 12 weeks! I am now pregnant with #2 and only 6 weeks, we have told parents and close friends this time. I seem more afraid of miscarrying this time around so for us, we have this small but caring network around us if anything does go wrong this time, and in a way i feel safer that people will understand!! Thank you for this post 😄

  2. I suffered miscarriages. Before I miscarried I subscribed to the notion of waiting until the 12 week mark to tell. I went through it alone. Worst. thing. ever. When I got pregnant with Alex, I announced it at 5 weeks when I found out. Same with Nick, Zoey and Emma. I am glad I did. I couldnt imagine going through miscarriage again without support.

    • Persephone says:

      That’s why I told pretty much everyone with Elvis, what with it being fertility treatment, I knew I’d need support if it didn’t work or went wrong along the way. I told fewer with Robin. I think I wanted a secret but people should be able to want support and seek it even if the pregnancy remains but takes its toll physically. Why should anyone suffer alone?

      I’m sorry for what you went through x

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