Should You Be Wise When You Publicise?

We’ve been very cautious about telling people that we’re expecting a baby. So cautious in fact that this has caused a few disagreements and given us our first insight into the struggle that is juggling our wants with the demands of others.

This is something I’m not expecting will get much easier as the Bump becomes a real person. Although full of good intentions, I’m expecting people will continually get involved, which ultimately can cause a bit of conflict. People have different expectations and it seems kids – or the idea of kids – bring these out more than anything else.

Announcing you are pregnant is supposed to be an exciting time where you share the news with family and friends to a chorus of “oohs”, “aahs” and “congratulations”. After much deliberation, we agreed to tell close family that there was a tiny bun in the oven pretty soon after we found out. In the excitement of discovering Hay was with child, we went from agreeing that we’d hold off telling them for a few weeks to announcing the news after our first visit to the doctor just a few days later.

We agreed that we shouldn’t tell anyone else – even though we wanted to – until we were further along. The reason for this hesitance and reluctance was because things are so up in the air at the start and due to the alarming figures we read about miscarriage – that is losing a baby in the first 20 to 24 weeks depending on where you seek advice.

For example, the NHS state that “Miscarriages are quite common in the first three months of pregnancy and around one in five confirmed pregnancies ends this way”. Whilst Babycenter adds that “more than 80 percent of these losses happen before 12 weeks” and that “this doesn’t include situations in which you lose a fertilized egg before a pregnancy becomes established. Studies have found that 30 to 50 percent of fertilized eggs are lost before or during the process of implantation.”

Just let that sink in. 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. 80% of these miscarriages come within 12 weeks. This 80% doesn’t include the 30% to 50% of fertilised eggs which are lost when the fertilized egg is attaching to the lining of the uterus.

For me, this just shows what a miracle having a baby is and how incredibly difficult it is to not only get pregnant, but get to the point of actually giving birth. If you think it is all plain sailing and stress-free after that line appears on the pregnancy test, then I’m afraid you’re not living in reality. Even though we are still early in the process ourselves, Hayley has already had an emergency scan after having a bleed, which we assumed meant she had lost the baby.

With figures such as these, I’m surprised that people tell anyone at all! I know that some people will “show” early and have little choice, but why would you put yourself in a position where you announce something during a very uncertain period, then have to suppress the news should the worst happen?

I personally couldn’t think of anything worse than prematurely telling everyone we were pregnant. If Hay then lost the baby due to natural causes, we would need to share the terrible news with everyone we had announced the pregnancy to, which would mean we were unable to grieve in private.

We live in a world where TV and film rule the roost, meaning that the majority of our experiences are drawn from fictionalised characters and situations. How often have we seen a ‘will they, won’t they’ scene in a film, only for it to end in bliss as the credits begin to roll? I’m pretty sure that what we watch on the screen shapes how we think certain experiences should unravel, rather than how they actually do in real life. Announcing your pregnancy is one of them.

I physically cringe when I hear that someone on TV has announced their pregnancy during the early stages. Obviously I wish them all the best, but there is a huge chance that the baby might not make it which is often glossed over and forgotten about. An example of this is the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test advert, in which two friends are sat at a table as the dialogue begins:

Woman A: “I’m Pregnant!”

Woman B: “Really?!”

Woman A: “Two weeks.”

Woman B: “You already went to the doctor?”

Woman A: “Not yet, but I took this new Clearblue test.”

Woman B: “Oh my god, I think I wanna cry!”

What the actual fuck! Now surely the missus and I aren’t the only people that think this is stupid and ill-advised? Telling people you are pregnant after two weeks? Now some people might call me pessimistic or focussing on the negative, but I call it being realistic. I would not want to put us in a situation of having to grieve in public because we couldn’t wait a few weeks before telling people.

At the start I mentioned balancing our wants with the needs of others. This is because a couple of family members have been very vocal about wanting to tell people that we are having a baby. Now I totally get the excitement and realise they want to share the phenomenal news, but it seems at times that they live in a cuddly world full of flowers, puppies and candy floss in which nothing bad happens. This is not reality.

We’ve tried to explain that we want to hold off telling people until we’ve reached the 12-week milestone due to the alarming miscarriage stats, but I don’t think they understand. To them, we are pregnant and should tell everyone straight away, as “that’s what everyone else does” and we are just “being pessimistic and can’t live our lives like that”. I won’t lie, this has caused a fair bit of stress for all parties and has unfortunately taken a bit of the shine off the pregnancy news.

It’s a shame. We wanted to share the news with our nearest and dearest, then slowly disseminate the information to others once we were over the uncertain period. However, it’s felt more like we’ve been forced to give a date so that other people can tell everyone they want, rather than taking our wishes on board. Imagine the conversation that happened when the paperwork for our 12-week scan wasn’t done properly and the date we had said moved back another two weeks!

Anyway, everything is OK now. We had our 12-week scan and the baby was fine which was a massive relief. We have since “given permission” to our family to tell who they want, told our friends and made the customary Facebook status update with the words “coming soon”.

Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. I just don’t know any more!

How long did you wait before announcing you were pregnant? Have you had good or bad experiences when it has come to family and sharing your pregnancy news?

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