That’s society’s rule of when it’s acceptable to announce you’re pregnant.
The reasoning is because if a miscarriage does occur, it’s most likely to happen before week 13.
We’re not only telling women to be silent when they’re beaming with excitement but we’re also telling women to be silent with their grief if a miscarriage happens.
At a time when the love and support of family and friends are needed most…we’re telling them to hide it away like a shameful secret.
A woman should never feel pressured on when to announce her pregnancy.
If she wants to scream it from the rooftop minutes after she gets a positive pregnancy test or wants to wait until 40 weeks when she has the baby in her arms
In October 2018, I was pregnant with what would have been our second baby. I waited for 12 weeks to announce we were expecting another baby. I was active on my social media platforms sharing pregnancy tips and nutrition advice for other expectant mothers. I wrote guest articles for pregnancy blogs.
At 19.5 weeks pregnant, I went in for my regular checkup with my midwife. I was excited because the next day I had my gender ultrasound to find out if we were having a boy or girl. The midwife couldn’t find a heartbeat. They moved my ultrasound up to later that afternoon. It confirmed that my baby had died. That evening, I went to the hospital and was induced for labour. Fifteen hours later I delivered a stillborn baby boy.
I had no signs or symptoms of a miscarriage. I had no underlying medical conditions, no thyroid issues, no illness, or any other common cause of a miscarriage. I ate extremely well, took my prenatal vitamins, and did all of the things right.
Six months later, history repeated itself and I had another second trimester loss at 13 weeks.
During the first trimester (before 13 weeks), the risk of miscarriage is 10-25%. So we if take the high end, 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. I, unfortunately, know more women who have had a miscarriage than haven’t. But, somehow, it’s not a commonly talked about issue. Our culture has labelled it as taboo. It’s something to keep to yourself.
If you are reading this and this has happened to you…my word of advice: talk about it.
Whether you find a therapist that specializes in pregnancy loss or the ear of a good friend, speaking about it can take a weight off your shoulders.
Maybe it’s finding a support group you feel comfortable with or, hey, maybe you want to announce it to the entire family at Sunday dinner. It’s up to you.
Everyone has the right to process the trauma in their own way. In my experience, being open about my miscarriage allowed other women to reach out and share their story, too. In return, it allowed me to start moving through my grief.
When I shared my initial blog after my first miscarriage, I didn’t think many people would read it. It wasn’t my usual chocolate avocado pudding or paleo pizza recipes that people expected, it was a very real, raw and sad collection of words.
The amount of support I received from that single post was unbelievable. Within hours of sharing it across my platforms, I received hundreds upon hundreds of messages, comments, and texts. They came from family, friends, and complete strangers.
When it happened a second time, I wrote another blog. Once again, the love I received was invaluable on my road to healing.
Going through a miscarriage or stillbirth is incredibly isolating. Unless it has happened to you, it’s unfathomable to fully grasp the physical, emotional, and mental pain you go through…for months and years.
I could not have imagined going through what I went through alone. Having to make excuses for why I didn’t feel up to going to someone’s birthday extravaganza or why I was sobbing uncontrollably in the bathroom at a wedding.
Friends told me how this same thing happened to them but they never shared it because they didn’t feel brave enough.
Women I had never met sent me messages telling me how thankful they were to read my story because it made them feel not alone in their own grief.
Many told me because I shared my story, they now felt strong enough to speak to family and friends about it. That, my friends, was both heartwarming and priceless to hear.
Because having a shared experience is incredibly comforting.
Bringing to light hard to discuss topics makes women feel empowered.
This is why I firmly believe that the stigma around hiding miscarriages and grief should be removed.
Women shouldn’t have to feel ashamed, guilty, or scared of being judged. They happen to every race, religion, and age. They don’t care if you’re poor or rich. They don’t care if you ate healthy or indulged in fast food. Miscarriages are, unfortunately, universal.
The majority of pregnancies are carried to term and then you have a chubby little baby to snuggle with and take all your “Welcome to the World…” photos. So don’t think you should only share your pregnancy news early (if you want to) because of a risk of miscarriage.
Letting friends and family know can be for so many reasons.
Maybe you get horrific morning sickness (like me) and need family, friends, or coworkers to understand what’s going on. When other people are aware that you’re feeling not-so-great, they’re usually sympathetic and can help you out.
Or maybe you’re nervous about being pregnant and need to talk to another woman about “what the f*** is going on with my body”.
Or maybe it’s just because you want to. You’re so excited about your pregnancy and want everyone to celebrate with you — right from the beginning.
But again — perhaps you’d rather just keep it to yourself until later in your pregnancy. That’s okay, too. It’s totally up to you.
You announce any time you’d like, mama.