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?

Post included on the following linky’s:
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  • Pappie Bear

    Pregnancy is a life changing journey.

  • Tom @Ideas4Dads

    Yep agree with all of this. We waited until the 12 wk scan to broadcast. Ive seen time and again people jump the gun and them have a miscarriage. Very sad.

    Just out of interest what feature did you ise to repost this I recieved an email alert as if it was a new post?

    • Dave

      Cheers – yeah it’s a shame when things like that happen, but part of me questions why they’d broadcast so soon. Doesn’t justify the outcome obviously, but I’d always want to be overly cautious. The article was a new post – I’d written it a while ago but never added to the blog, so I added to the blog last night, then just back dated it.

    • Thanks – yeah exactly, I just think it is best to be cautious, no matter how excited you are. Miscarriage is obviously terrible whenever it happens, but during those first 3 months the risk is so much higher that I’d always want to be cautious – which is where the conflict came with family. This was a post I wrote a while ago, but it wasn’t published on my blog – so I added it the other day, then back dated it to the time that I wrote it originally – guess you got a notification as it was new?

      • Tom @Ideas4Dads

        Ah I see that explains it 🙂

  • Leigh – Headspace Perspective

    Interesting post on a debate where there’s no right or wrong answer. We’d intended to just tell our nearest and dearest and do the ‘grand announcement’ after the 12 week scan. However, I felt so rotten during the first trimester I was like a different person and I had to start telling people. I agree that telling people after two weeks would be silly, but there is an argument I’ve seen recently challenging the social convention of the 12 week news embargo. It’s because when a woman sees those blue lines appear on the test, in many ways they’re thinking they’re already a mum. If a miscarriage does sadly happen, the argument goes, the woman can get the support of her friends and family as they understand she’s suffered a loss, and it doesn’t need to be borne alone. # brilliantblogposts.

    • Thanks for the comment Leigh. Yes, very true – it isn’t always as simple as just keeping quiet until after 12 weeks, like as in your case. The argument you mention is interesting and not one I’d fully considered. I think I’d always envisaged that if Hay unfortunately lost the baby, we would then go and tell our nearest and dearest that we were pregnant but that there has been a miscarriage – we’d still get the support, but arguably it would be kept to those that we wanted to know, rather than everyone knowing. But as you say, no right or wrong, all depends on your situation, outlook etc etc. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • LauraEvelynBee

    Glad to hear baby is doing well and you are past the 12 week stage. I was very cautious about telling anyone I was pregnant until after the 12 week scan. I just felt more comfortable doing that. I think you have just got to do what you feel is right. I was also very cautious who I told we were actually trying, and I didn’t want people continually asking ‘any news??!!’.
    Its such a personal thing and I dont think you realise that as soon as you find out you are expecting there is all of these decisions to make. I agree with Leigh…there is no right or wrong, but it can be a tricky one to decide.

    • Nice to hear your experiences. I agree, it is very personal and you’ve got to do what feels right 🙂

  • Merlinda Little

    With my pregnancy I only told my family and told them not to tell anyone. So its our little secret. It turned out that when I told my mother she already knew cuz of the obvious body changes and shes just waiting for us to confirm her theory. She has witnessed so many pregnancy me thinks. Theres only 2 of us but shes got 9 siblings and shes the oldest and she knows its by heart.

    Telling people is really something that you 2 must discussed whatever you decided is always the best of course =) #BrilliantBlogPosts

    • Thanks for the comment – haha, I like how your mum knew and was just waiting for you to announce it. Mine did a similar thing when we went on holiday and she knew I was going to propose. Mums eh?! 🙂

  • Waited for the first scan with our first baby but I told a few select friends with my second as I figured if anything happened, I would have confided in them anyway-such a personal thing though. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

    • Interesting how you slightly changed tactic with the 1st and 2nd. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Keri Jones

    I told my 2 bosses the day after I found out as was feeling a bit iffy and didn’t want rumours flying around the place. My hubby told his mum & dad the same day. My hubby also told one of our friends the same day, this was a bit of an annoyance for me as I didn’t want anyone to know who didn’t need to know or wasn’t family. We went to a bbq at their house and all the people were asking me how the pregnancy was going- a bit annoying as I didn’t know half of them and I still wasn’t past 12 weeks.
    My first and only pregnancy, I was filled with terrible thoughts of loss and as such I didn’t want to jump the gun and tell the world our wonderful news. After the 12 week scan I told everyone I knew and even those I didn’t. I was so excited!
    I now know that loss, sadly, can come at any stage of a pregnancy and the worry never really stops until the little one fills his/her lungs and screams. I think it’s a very personal choice to make but having seen friends devastated when their less than 12 week pregnancy has ended I definitely think waiting till after 12 weeks is a good idea x

    • Thanks for sharing. In the excitement it is difficult to wait and not tell people, but it’s trying to balance that with not being too early with the announcement. I guess things like illness may make things more obvious at work, so it makes sense to let them know earlier than later 🙂

  • parenthood highs and lows

    Im currently 32 weeks pregnant with our third. we’ve always announced pretty much right away to work, family and friends at 6w, 7w and 8w. Being a teacher I struggled in the early days with the extreme tiredness and sickness, and had to rush off for emergency blood tests when a child in my class had slapped cheek syndrome. We figured if anything was going to happen it would happen regardless of how many people knew and should the worst happen (which we were so lucky with) we would want the support of family and friends. I can see why people hold off, but should we choose to have another childnwe wouldnt necessarily wait until 12 weeks to announce

  • Victoria

    I stumbled across this post ( via Honest Mums Brilliant blog posts) and I couldn’t agree more. I am only a few weeks along and already there is so much pressure. I went along on what should have been a nice quiet pub night out with some friends. I was grilled and questioned over why I was drinking soda and I should really have a drink and maybe I am pregnant, but we would be announcing it on Facebook soon anyway and so on. I was overwhelmed and upset, people should respect your privacy and since when do you need to get leathered to have a good time?

  • Adventures of a Novice Mum

    Amazing, isn’t it … the privilege of pregnancy and child birth. When you consider all the odds stacked again it, it’s wonderful to get pregnant and safely have a child. I didn’t announce it at church until I was about 4 months. I needed time to get it all around my head and I was very keen for us to keep schtum about it for as long as possible. I think it’s wise to carefully consider when one shares that one is expecting. #aNoviceMumTwitterFeed

  • I’m going to come at this from a different angle. There is a danger that by not announcing a pregnancy that we are contributing to stigma and isolating those that need support if it does happen. There is nothing to stop you from grieving in private following a public announcement. If your support network doesn’t know (and it’s up to you who you tell) then they will be unprepared. There are countless blogs on the pain of suffering loss alone and in silence and often it’s only when it happens to you that you find out how many of your friends and family suffered losses too but didn’t feel they could talk about it

    • I’ll add that for our eldest we didn’t announce for the reasons you outlined and whilst it made for a fun secret it was also a lonely time.

      With our subsequent children there was always the fear that we would lose them but we decided to tell people so we could have a happier pregnancy with good memories so if anything did happen we would have those nice memories to look back on rather than distance and a paralysing anxiety.