I first knew I was pregnant because of my dog. He’d always been a mild-mannered, loving pup, but suddenly he became protective. He would growl at the postman and wouldn’t let me leave the house without a security detail. Weird, huh. It was another week before my period was late and I realised why he’d been acting so weird.
We were over the moon and started planning right away. I got the whole gamut of symptoms: all-day sickness, constant need to wee, the exciting new ability to fall asleep halfway through my mid-morning meeting. But I knew we couldn’t tell anyone yet.
You see, we weren’t allowed. It was still “too early”.
Twelve weeks. That’s how long you wait. Preferably till after the nuchal scan, when you’ve got the all-clear.
But being unable to acknowledge it felt like it wasn’t really happening. I was lying to people I cared about. It was a life-changing event, and I had to pretend to everyone that my life wasn’t about to change. For three whole months.
1. You’re excited. Why hide it?
I was growing a human inside me. I was bursting with excitement – I wanted to share our news. But I felt like people would think I was stupid if I announced it too early. Stupid, and naïve.
The dog certinaly knew what was up. Image: supplied.
The judgement is real. I’ve judged women myself, before I’d ever been pregnant myself. “Don’t they know the risks?” I thought. But of course they do. Every pregnant woman is aware of the risks. We’re all up all night Googling the risks, reading forum after forum of other women’s experiences. (Or was that just me?) It’s just that if everything goes OK, you’ll have a baby at the end of it! And that’s pretty damn exciting.
2. People can’t offer help if they don’t know you need it.
Pregnancy symptoms are often worst in the first trimester – particularly those symptoms which might interfere with your ability to operate heavy machinery. If you could tell your boss, your pilates instructor, your friends – they’d be a lot more sympathetic when you piked on another class, or fell asleep at your desk while stuffing your face with carbs.
With my first pregnancy, my job saw me travelling all over the country. It was fast-paced agency work, and it was our busiest time of year. At ten weeks, I memorably travelled to five cities in five days. At the end of the week, I arrived at the check-in desk with one minute’s wriggle room and collapsed at the counter in tears. “I woke up in Sydney! I got caught in traffic! I had to run all the way here! And I’m pregnant!” I wailed to the bemused flight attendant.
When to tell the boss you’re pregnant and what are your rights. (Post continues after audio.)