Shares

I have a real bug up my nose tonight, so bear with me. Who was it that decided that people shouldn’t share the fact that they’re pregnant before they’re 13 weeks?

No, I’m not pregnant. This isn’t my way of telling you.

But seriously? Why do people wait until they’re 13 weeks pregnant, and they’ve had a scan? Why do the books tell us that?

So that if there’s a miscarriage, you don’t have to ‘face’ people? Are you kidding me?  A miscarriage at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 6 months or full term (still birth) is dramatic. It affects every single family differently.  I started bleeding at 3 weeks pregnant. The doctor told me it was fine if I miscarried, at least I know I could fall pregnant. I was devastated. I bled until I was 20 weeks, and then it just went away.  Ameli is the result. But I sat every day for 17 weeks, expecting that to be the day I lost my baby.  It was devastating. Should it happen, no matter when it does, what we need is support.

I told my friends and family straight away. I wanted them to share in our joy. And if I was to lose my baby, I would have wanted them there to carry us through our loss.

Other people are different. Maybe they don’t want to share, and that’s fine, but this whole concept of not saying anything before the end of the first trimester smacks of nothing more than another taboo on women to me.

You’re tired. You’re sick. You’re throwing up. You’re excited/nervous/afraid/or whatever else. But suck it up, do it alone.

Why?  Why not have your friends support you? Why not have people be there for you?

Isn’t it better to have your friends know that you’re pregnant, so they can understand why you don’t want to go out for dinner? Or why you don’t want to have a drink? Or why you’re too tired to dance all night? (Maybe you’re not, maybe it was just me)

No, this 13 weeks thing makes no sense to me. It just seems like the doctor giving you an okay, like you need their permission to call it a real pregnancy, their approval on your having a child. And it seems like a massive filtering system, a socially acceptible and condoned way to keep the taboos of baby loss alive.

Or is it just me?

34 Comments

Why Wait For 13 Weeks?

  1. With my two children I told everyone at about 5 weeks. Having now been through two miscarriages at 6 weeks I wont be telling anyone until I have had a 12 week scan. This is just because the risk of miscarriage will be alot lower then and i will feel happier to share the news.

    1. @Send New Baby Flowers, Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear of your losses. I am sure with that experience, waiting feels like the right thing to do and what you feel about it is really the most important thing. 🙂 Best of luck with the next pregnancy. I hope all the best for you.

  2. I told close family when I got a positive on a home pregnancy test. I told everyone else at 5 weeks when we had our first scan, and we told my husbands family after our 8 week scan because my mil didn’t want anyone to know just in case. This blog is great and exactly how I see things. To me a baby is a baby from conception, it’s devestating no matter when you loose it, and why would I want to hide from others a lost child?

  3. Very much appreciate this post Luschka…

    Our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage right at 13 weeks; we had told everyone and it was awful – I felt embarrassed (as dumb as that is) telling people – like we had failed somehow. And yet, the support I received was so loving and probably just what I needed at the time.

    All the same, we decided to wait to tell people as long as we could the next time we got pregnant (which wasn’t very long – we suck at keeping secrets!).

    I’ve been thinking about it lately as we plan to start trying again in the relatively near future…leaning towards telling people right away and yet afraid. But it’s that stupid feeling of ‘failure’ that holds me back, and that is so wrong! And I think what encourages that is exactly what you’re talking about here – that the pregnancy is not ‘real’ until you’ve passed the ‘safe point’. That message needs to stop.

    At any rate, thank you for this – I will be coming back to this post for sure…

    1. @Kelly, Thanks Kelly. You are so right. I’ve never lost a pregnancy – to my knowledge, although there’ll always be a ‘maybe’ in my mind from a few years back. But anyway, I’ve never lost a baby so I can’t speak from experience, but I know that when I thought I was losing Kyra, having friends around that ‘understood’ why I was not up for visits and so on made all the difference to me.

      I think it’s when I realised that my friends weren’t only my friends in the good news that I really began to appreciate them so much more – and they ALL rallied around and were so amazing when it came to babyshower/birth/newborn stage. I appreciated that.

  4. I actually completely agree that miscarriage is taboo. I don’t know why it is such a point of shame for society. Perhaps women are just tired of being blamed for it? I know that with both of my pregnancies we told family as soon as we had the positive test results. The first pregnancy resulted in a wonderful boy, and the second, I miscarried at 12 weeks. Even some members of our loving and caring families, with good intention said “maybe you were too stressed” or “maybe you lifted too many boxes during the move.” It was ignorant comments like that that made me wish we hadn’t told anyone. I was in such a vulnerable place, that all I actually wanted, and the only person that I felt understood my loss, was my husband. It was our hopes and dreams. It was our next child. Boxes and stress don’t lose babies! It was simply compounded hurt, and it made, of course what I wondered if it was my fault, really feel like my fault. It sucked, and it made me feel worse.

    I guess you can argue that if we openly discussed it more, we could educate society about pregnancy and miscarriage, but people believe what works for them. Great discussion and posting though! 🙂

    1. @A, what a poigniant point. Well meaning people aren’t always nice, are they. Like the doctor who told me it was fine if I miscarried. I’d been off the pill for five, FIVE, years. Miscarriage wasn’t FINE by me. It still aches in me when I think of those words.

      Glad you enjoyed the discussion. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us.

  5. I can see both sides. I’m very private and had a miscarriage at 8 weeks and didn’t want to talk about it-I couldn’t even really “talk” about it-more like babble incoherently while crying. And there are very few people I’m comfortable seeing me like that.
    On the other hand, I got fired from my job during my first pregnancy for failing to perform a task while I was in the bathroom puking from morning sickness. I worked retail and didn’t get the breaks I was supposed to, and was supposed to handle dangerous cleaning chemicals regularly. Telling everyone I was pregnant earlier would’ve made it much easier to insist upon actually getting my breaks, to avoid the chemicals, and to not be penalized for being off puking (and in case anyone is worried, I did challenge the firing and ended up getting paid unemployment because it was determined they’d fired me without cause. So I got paid to relax the rest of my pregnancy since I was un-hirable with that on my record)

    1. @L, What a drama! I’m glad you got it sorted out. It’s so hard to prove things when it comes to pregnancy and employment, isn’t it!

      I can see both sides too. My problem is with the books saying not to, and society saying not to, and I think that could lead to extreme isolation when things do go wrong.

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  6. When I was pregnant I felt this way exactly. But not sure how I’ll feel next time. But I’m not going to wait a specific amount of time. I’ll tell people when I feel like it.

  7. I totally agree with your post. I can understand not shouting it from the roof tops before 13 weeks (I did however!!!) but the level of secrecy, lying about why your not drinking etc just confuddles me.

    I have had two miscarriages, and these were before I’d had my scans, and I hadn’t told anyone. I found it worse trying to explain why I was so miserable, it would have been better if people had known I was pregnant, and then had lost my babies.

    My son was born at 27 weeks gestation. Although he is fine, there are never any guarantees in life. To each one’s own I guess, but like you, I don’t really get the whole 13 weeks thing.

  8. I waited until the first scan before telling family, though my best friend and my mum knew (I accidentally let slip that I’d gone off coffee lol and the cat was out of the bag).

    I’ve known a few people who had missed miscarriages and didn’t know until that first scan. I also know two people who discovered their babies had severe birth defects at that same scan. That’s the reason I chose to wait – I’d hate to have to inform my loved ones that I’d lost the baby.

    I do agree that loss of a baby should not be swept under the carpet. But how that loss is dealt with and who should be aware of it with is a very personal decision. Had I lost my baby, I wouldn’t have wanted to talk about it with people other than my hubby for some time. Not telling them them before the scan would have given me the time and space I’d have needed to get my own emotions sorted if the scan revealed the worst.

    1. @Becky, I guess it comes down to how you handle tragedy. I can’t internalise it or I’d go depressed in a bad way. Other people can’t bare other people knowing. It is personal. Which is still why I don’t think people should be ‘told’ to not say anything till 13 weeks! Guess it’s the same thing, said two ways?

  9. Looking back, the first 13 weeks of my pregnancy were the worst ever. I was tired, sick and hated my ever-expanding body. And the worst thing of all? Not being able to share these feelings with other people and having to put a brave face on it all. Every day I rushed to the toilets to throw up at work and I had to do it quietly so colleagues wouldn’t hear. The most ironic thing of all was that once I “announced” my pregnancy at 13 weeks no one was surprised at all. Turns out they’d all thought I was pregnant anyway.

    1. thanks Molly. that kind of makes my point, really. It’s so isolating, when really you didn’t need the stress and could probably have used the support!

    2. @Molly, Oh Molly! That’s almost sad! That’s exactly what I mean about support though – I think it’s a joke, really. Personal preference and all, but I don’t think it should be the ‘taught’ thing, myself!

  10. Well… I’ve had three miscarriages. The most recent at 14 weeks. I don’t ever “feel” safe.

    I also hate hate hate being laid up bleeding, crying, not sure whether to mourn or not yet, waiting for an emergancy scan, and telling people who ask, “well, I’m pregnant, but I’m probably losing the baby again”. The worst miscarriage by far (physically and emotionally) was the one that was secret, because nobody knew we were expecting yet.

    I agree with you totally, it’s a way of calling early losses illegitamate. It’s a way of keeping baby loss out of the public eye as much as possible. Some people may feel that is right for them. But it’s still a veil of secrecy that I can’t accept for myself.

    This pregnancy, everyone knew early. Actually, more than support, I crave celebration. I *need* that time of joy and sharing and excitement. My pregnancies are miserable, here I am sitting with hyperemesis AGAIN for baby number four (fifteen weeks pregnant today!), and my record for carrying to live birth is 50/50 (yes, that makes this pregnancy number 7).

    I’ll take the joy, so that the struggle at least has something good to carry me through, otherwise I’d be in real danger of forgetting that an actual real baby is in this with me.

    1. @Sarah Clark, Oh, I’m so sorry Sarah. I can’t imagine what that’s like.

      I love the way you wrote that ‘a veil of secrecy I can’t accept for myself’.

      I am so happy and excited for you, and I am so incredibly sorry that you have HG again though. It’s terrifying to me!

      Thanks for commenting, and I’m very happy for/with you!

  11. I agree with you, and we told people pretty early with our first pregnancy.

    If we have another, though, we will wait until we know how many babies there are before telling people. Because I know my pregnant self will only be able to suffer through “are you sure it’s not twins again?” a couple of times before I completely lose it.

  12. You know, I hadn’t thought about this at all. A really thought-provoking post, as usual. I am a private person and would have kept my pregnancies to myself and my OH for months, especially given the reaction from my employer to my announcement(i.e. no pay rise).

    1. @Sandy Calico, Thanks Sandy 🙂 Glad you liked the post (assuming thought-provoking is a positive thing 😉 )

      It’s so tricky with employers, isn’t it. Mine didn’t give me the fixed term contract I was promised in the job I was already doing, but it was because someone else (who didn’t have my experience, and ended up lasting three months) answered the interview questions better. Right.

      But how do you prove it? You just can’t.

      Thanks for commenting!

  13. I tell most people when I’ve got a pregnancy test result (having lost 4 babies I know you need people to know) – I normally know when I’ve conceived, so tell a few select individuals at that point so they can support me if I loose the baby before my period was due.

  14. Some people are private. I knew that I didn’t even want to talk to my mother about it if I did miscarry, so I waited. The chance of miscarriage does go down a lot after that 13 weeks. Obviously everyone isn’t so private but I wouldn’t want to talk to anyone other than my husband about my first trimester puking or anxiety either.

    I get your point but everyone doesn’t want attention and support that early on. Even with my planned pregnancy I found it beneficial to wrap my head around it first and announce when I was feeling well all around.

    1. @Janine @ Alternative Housewife, Interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

      I guess you’re right, if you’re a private person, it makes sense. For me, I was so sick, I couldn’t keep even water down for 20 weeks, so having people know WHY I didn’t turn up for a party, or left a meeting early or was generally weak and looking gaunt was a lot easier than what people might have assumed themselves.

    2. @Janine @ Alternative Housewife, Agreed – I know people are different. My BFF didn’t even tell ME till she was 13 weeks (I was away, so didn’t see her). I get that some people don’t want to say anything, I just wonder why people are often told not to. In fact, when I told one of my best friends at 6 weeks, she told me not to tell anyone else, ‘in case’. But it was too late :p

  15. I’d tell a few close people earlier, but I think I’d wait for a scan before going too public. I know someone who went for a scan only to find she didn’t seem to have been pregnant at all. If the scan was before 12 weeks then great I’d tell people earlier.

    1. @Erica, That’s interesting. I wonder how she ‘thought’ she was? Perhaps she had an early miscarriage? I guess since i had my first scan at 3 weeks already (due to bleeding) I ‘knew’ from early on, so I see your point. Thanks for sharing!

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