Content warning: This post discusses miscarriage and will be triggering for some readers.
When I was pregnant for the first time I was over the moon, shoe tapping in the air excited. The moment I saw the two pink lines appear on the test I barely had time to pull my pants up before finding my husband to tell him.
I followed this (very quickly) with a call to my mum to tell her she would soon become a grandmother for the first time. But after this phone call my gut reaction was to stop sharing my pregnancy news. It was only early I thought to myself and you’re supposed to wait 12 weeks, aren’t you?
Why? I didn’t know then. But that’s the way it’s done so I had better remain tight-lipped like all the pregnant women before me. I didn’t want to do the wrong thing and the fact was, it wasn’t like I knew what I was doing; this pregnant thing was all brand new to me.
Note: Upon recent research, this ’12 Week Rule’ began because apparently in the time before pregnancy tests women had to wait to feel the baby move for pregnancy confirmation, which was around the three to four-month time, so around 12 weeks.
So being a stickler for the rules I stopped sharing the news. I instead wrote a countdown in my organiser to tell me when I could tell people, like a pregnancy advent calendar counting down to the big day and instead of presents I could actually share the fact that we were having a baby. Inside I was screaming out my news but outside I carried on (despite first trimester exhaustion, frequent trips to the toilet, fluctuating hormones and just utter excitement) as if everything was normal.
Unfortunately, this date never arrived. One morning I noticed spotting and I had a feeling that something just wasn’t as it should be. After visiting my doctor and having an ultrasound my feeling was confirmed, my baby no longer had a heartbeat and now I had to have a procedure to remove my little Olive (it’s food equivalent size at the time) and I was left to grieve my loss with the support of my husband and my mum.
I told my friends what had happened after the fact but as women who’ve miscarried know the often isolating experience of losing a child, the feeling of uncomfortableness that it seems to bring to others, and the uncertainty of how to respond clearly evident in their comments and actions (often innocently of course) makes sharing the news (especially if they hadn’t known you were pregnant in the first place) quite challenging.