Family Life, Uncategorized

Why We Don’t Wait – Our “Early” Pregnancy Announcements

Years ago I read an article about annoying things that shouldn’t be posted on Facebook. After criticisms of week-long teenage romances and vague status updates, it mentioned 1st trimester pregnancy announcements. The article went on to say that no one wants to deal with the uncomfortable awkwardness of a friend later posting they had miscarried because they had announced “too early.”

That really bugged me. I am all for a lack of silly drama on Facebook, but a couple losing one of their children isn’t petty or trivial. To me it smacked of selfishness that the author would rather not know (and thereby not have to deal with the hard emotions of) one of their friends going through such sorrow because it made them feel uncomfortable.

I want to be clear that I think everyone should announce their pregnancies when it’s best for them. I don’t think it is wrong to wait until the second trimester or beyond. I am a really open person; most people are more private than I am, and that’s fine. This is not about a right or wrong way, but the reasons we have for not waiting.

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When we publicly announced that we were pregnant with Philomena, we had known for about a week, and had told our family and close friends in person or on the phone. I think people thought it was just us being over-eager first time parents, but we had decided before we even got married that if we got pregnant one day we didn’t want to wait.

We want to share the joy of the new life the Lord has so graciously given to us without hesitation, whether we meet our miracle or not. From the moment of conception that is our baby, created with a soul that will live forever. They would be our precious child whether they live for 7 weeks gestation, 7 weeks outside the womb, or 70 years.

I also know that while most miscarriages do indeed happen in the first trimester, there are still no guarantees.

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We use this little stocking each Christmas for the baby we are expecting when pregnant.

My earliest memory as a child was sitting in the basement of a church at three years old holding a bouquet of roses. Everyone around me was so sad. It was the funeral for my little sister, Nicolette, whom my mom lost at the start of the 3rd trimester due to issues with her umilibical cord.

Perhaps the reality of pregnancy loss beyond the first trimester from such a young age is why this idea of waiting has never mattered to me.

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When we found out we were expecting Zelie, we waited as long as it took for this sign to be made until we announced to everyone. But, five weeks after this photo, something scary happened.

When I was in my 10th week with Zelie, I came home from a Mass at Ethan’s school, put Philomena down for her nap, and sat down with a meal, only to feel the most terrifying sensation of my life.

I was bleeding. A lot.

Bleeding was always a sign of miscarriage for my mother. In fact, I had never heard of anyone experience this who wasn’t losing their baby.

My heart sunk, my head raced with a million thoughts, and I truly believed I would never get to meet this baby.

As it turns out, I was not miscarrying; I had a subchronic hematoma. It is a hemorrhage that bleeds under strain. The doctor said it was very common, and to rest and not lift too much until it was fully healed. After a couple of months I was able to resume completely normal activity, including lugging around my toddler and doing our housework. Thanks be to God, Zelie was fine.

But what if she hadn’t have been fine?

What if I had lost her that day?

In the time I thought I had miscarried, did I regret that we had announced her pregnancy several weeks before?

Not for a moment.

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Zelie is this amazing little light in our lives. She brings us such joy, and she has since the moment I saw that positive pregnancy test. If her special little unique, one-of-a-kind self had not a single breath outside of my womb, then I would be glad that others could have felt the joy she gives, even if just for a short while of life inside.

I would have been so grateful to have had our friends and family there to support me if I had needed them in such a dark hour. Their love, prayers, and kindness would, I believe, be a very important part of my healing process.

When I called my mom, thinking I had lost my little one, I told her I felt like I had done something wrong to cause it. She reassured me that it was normal to feel that way, but that I hadn’t, and had no shame to feel. She is right.

There is no shame in miscarriage. Is this part of why it is culturally taboo to announce before the second trimester? Women should not feel guilty or that they need to hide miscarriage as if they have failed or done something wrong.

If you have lost a child through miscarriage and don’t tell anyone because that’s whats best for you, please know I respect the privacy you need. It is important for you to grieve in the way that is best for you and your family. You don’t owe anyone information on your pregnancies or miscarriages.

But if you have experienced this loss and are suffering from the silence but don’t speak out because you feel shame, are worried you may make someone uncomfortable, or feel it should be a secret because of cultural expectations, please reach out to others if that would help you.

We hope to welcome many more children into our home and hearts, knowing that each pregnancy has risks, and that a healthy, full-term pregnancy is never guaranteed.

If we are blessed again with another baby, we will share the joy with you soon after we find out, grateful for privilege of carrying that life, no matter how long it is ours to cherish.

 

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Enjoy this post? You may also enjoy “Just wait until…” – On Negative Catholics and Sufficient Grace and When You Love Someone Too Much to Lie to Them

13 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Wait – Our “Early” Pregnancy Announcements”

  1. Interesting perspective- thanks for sharing! We don’t share on Facebook til much later (with our Zelie it was after we found out the gender). I’ve backed off posting on Facebook in general, so that’s part of it. And I have a lot of Facebook friends with infertility so I limit pregnancy stuff too. But I also don’t want to share with people who won’t be supportive. We do tell our parents and siblings right away- last time it was the day we found out at 3w2d (9 days after ovulation)!

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  2. HOLY COW that Facebook comment was so selfish! I always wanted to tell people about our pregnancies right away (I’m an open book like you) but hubby wanted to wait the 3 months.

    I’ve now had friends, however, who’ve lost babies at every stage of pregancy, from 1 week to in labour. 😦 I think you’re right that life should be celebrated immediately. Many of my friends share their news right away, and I love hearing it from them! I also think it helps with dealing with morning sickness… I’ve lain around on the couch with a few pregnancies, feeling yucky and miserable, but unable to tell people because hubby didn’t want to… um, no!!!

    We also had friends who had an early miscarriage, before telling anyone they were pregnant. We told them (at 3 months) that we were pregnant with our first, and they said they had been pregnant… but they hadn’t told anyone before they lost the baby. It turned into a more awkward situation for them. Instead of sharing good news and then sad news, it ended up just being awkward news, that they weren’t even sure they should mention. 😦

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    1. The morning sickness thing is another reason I like not waiting. I was super ill with my first and it was nice people understood. It’s good though, of course, for you to do what your hub and is comfortable with, too.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. ❤

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  3. The thing is, you’re lucky that you have people around you who would support you if you had an early miscarriage. Sadly not everyone is in the same blessed position. There are women out there who would be blamed if they had a miscarriage (…you were too stressed…it was too soon after your previous pregnancy your body isn’t strong enough…. You didn’t eat the right food….you did XYZ…you didn’t do ABC…. you’re too old….etc etc) and rather than deal with that, its easier not tell anyone early

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      1. No problem, hope I didn’t come across as being critical. I do agree with your position, a life should be celebrated whether the person lives 90 yrs or 5 weeks. and there are benefits to telling others in the early stages when you’re feeling sick and tired all the time. I guess I’m just a bit sensitive as I’m currently pregnant with my 4th and I have a close family member who would be critical of *me* personally if anything happened, so I haven’t told them yet. (with my 3rd child when i complained of morning sickness the response was “well, you wanted this, so now tough you’ve got to deal with it.”)

        Anyway, best wishes
        X

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        1. I am so sorry of that family member making you feel that way. If it is any consolation, I know for a fact that there are at least three people in my life who would blame me for a miscarriage because of my holistic, natural ways. I don’t know whether they would say anything, but remember this is a reflection on them, not me.

          I’m so sorry for your morning sickness, but thrilled God has blessed you with another little baby to love. ❤

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  4. “I would have been so grateful to have had our friends and family there to support me if I had needed them in such a dark hour.” – I totally agree. This is why, even though I have experienced three early (first trimester) miscarriages, I have never waited to announce. It is HARD to grieve the loss of a child and it would be that much harder if we were having to do it alone. That being said, after my first loss, I did begin waiting until I was two full weeks late before testing so that I wouldn’t have to experience the knowledge of super early losses. I am currently expecting our fifth child and feeling so blessed. 🙂

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    1. I am so deeply sorry for the losses you have experienced. How wonderful you were blessed with the support of others, as you needed that to grieve. I am thrilled to hear you have your fifth on the way, and will offer up an Our Father for you and baby now 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to read and share. ❤

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  5. I love your thoughts on this! I had read a similar article from another Catholic mama while trying to get pregnant after my second trimester miscarriage. And it just makes so much sense to me. A life is a life to celebrate and rejoice for regardless of how long they are with us. We had yet to share publicly and with most of our friends that we are expecting our second child when we had the miscarriage at 14 weeks. My biggest regret is that I hadn’t told everyone yet because even weeks later I was still getting second hand questions of I heard you were pregnant from someone so how are you doing or I know you want a large family are you going to get started on that second baby soon. Because of that we announced at 6 weeks with this little baby (a week after I was able to tell my husband and after finally managing to get all of our siblings on the phone). I’m 8 week along now and have had a couple of bleeding scares, but trusting in The Father and praying for His Peace.

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  6. Thank you for posting your story! I had a miscarriage back in August and I announced in my 1st trimester and I was more at peace that I didnt hide it. Even after the loss , it helped me to talk about my baby as a rememberance to his/ her life. A month later my husband and I found out the joyful news that we were expecting again. However this past November I experienced bleeding similar to my miscarriage and I too thought I was loosing my baby. I found out from my ultrasound that I have a subchoronic hematoma as well. I have been anguishing not knowing what my baby’s outcome will be ,but your post has now given me great hope! Thank you and God bless!

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    1. I am sorry for the loss of your baby, Brittany. I’m thrilled to hear you’re expecting again. I know the hematoma is very hard, and thst a drop of blood or discharge is aways so scary. Trust in God and His plans! If you type “surrender” into the search bar on here, you will find a wonderful simple novena to pray that centers around the words, “Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything.” It’s wonderful to pray whenever anxiety is plaguing you. ❤

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