A few months after we got married in March 2020 I started to experience pregnancy symptoms. My husband, Jordan and I were elated. Our engagement was just shy of a year because when you know, you know and we were keen to start a family after we got married.
I remember being so shell shocked and scared that I only told my best friend at the time. Her negative response to our news, and problematic behaviour that followed when the pregnancy resulted in a chemical pregnancy was shocking and put us off telling anyone else what we were going through.
We continued life as normal, whatever that was now, and supported each other through this time, albeit suffering in silence. It rocked us to our core, but ultimately brought us closer.
When we eventually did talk to our loved ones around six months later about what we had experienced they pulled us in close and offered nothing but love and support. It showed us that the people we really needed were there all along, we just needed to look.
The next few years we struggled to conceive and after numerous tests discovered that I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which is thought to affect 1 in 10 women in the UK. PCOS presents a few issues for me like difficulty getting pregnant as a result of irregular ovulation or no ovulation at all, and a heightened risk of miscarriage.
Jordan and I always knew that we would be parents at some point, just not the path we would take to get there. So when we fell pregnant in October 2022, it was a complete shock. We were presented with a complex decision, one I’m sure every expectant parent experiences, when should we tell people? What if we lost the baby?
It’s a very personal choice, and one that is as unique as the pregnancy itself. In short, there is no right or wrong way to go about it.
Societal norms would say to wait until the 12 week scan at three months to tell people because that’s when the risk of miscarriage lessens. The mothers of the 80s and 90s didn’t have the technology and early scans that we are so familiar with today, so many only told their partner and waited until three months into the pregnancy to tell other people.
But all this led me to think, do we really want to go through this alone again? The answer from us both was a unanimous no. We wanted, we needed, the support.
I found inspiration online of couples saying that after the loss of a baby, and a rainbow baby on the way, they wanted the support more than ever. Because ultimately, whatever the outcome, they need people by their side.
For us, not telling close friends and family would have been sparing their feelings while choosing to ignore our own. And with such a strong support network around us it felt like the right decision for us. I couldn’t bear the thought of waiting to tell people, and then suffering a loss only to be met with comments like “I didn’t know you were pregnant” and having to respond with “well I’m not anymore.” That felt too heavy for me. Our rainbow baby had fought to be here, and so we wanted to support that in any way we could.
There will be people I’m sure who would rather not be told about a pregnancy early on in case a couple suffers a loss, and while I understand those feelings, that may be when they need your support the most.
I spoke with parents and parents-to-be on Twitter to get their views on when it was best to tell people their pregnancy news for this article. Most told people around the three month mark, with a notable trend of telling close friends and family first. However some who decided to go with the traditional three months regretted it after the fact in case they had needed support before that point, whereas others regretted breaking the news too early.
Jordan and I told our close friends and family within the first few weeks of seeing those two coloured lines on the pregnancy test. After experiencing spotting I feared the worst, but a scan at six weeks helped to alleviate any concerns. We got to see our baby for the first time and luckily everything was fine. The cause of the bleeding was likely due to implantation when the fertilised egg attached to the lining of the uterus we were told.
Just before the three month mark, on Christmas Day we decided to tell our wonderful nieces that they were going to be cousins in July. It was such a special moment and one I will remember fondly forever.
I’ve moved jobs since 2020 and now work for a remote-first company so I could have easily hidden my pregnancy for a while, but with our in person office Christmas party looming I decided to tell my boss at two months pregnant in case I had an issue with the pregnancy. I trust Darren implicitly, he’s a father of two and so he just gets it.
I appreciate this may not be the case for many women, with data from the charity Pregnant Then Screwed, founded by Joeli Brearley, stating that 54,000 women a year lose their job simply for getting pregnant. In fact, 390,000 working mums are experiencing negative and potentially discriminatory treatment at work every year.
With my risk of miscarriage higher than normal we made the decision as a couple to wait until the 12 week scan, which ended up being done in the 14th week, to announce the pregnancy on social media.
However, it was important to us to let our loved ones that had lost children or were trying to conceive know first. I’ve experienced firsthand how hard it can be when you’re struggling to conceive and it feels like everywhere you look there’s an ad for baby formula and nappies, or another pregnancy announcement on social media. As much as you are happy for other people, it can also floor you. So we researched the best ways to tell those people, to help give them space to absorb the news, with no pressure to pretend to be elated or to respond.
And so, with a lush baby announcement template from Etsy and what we wanted to say prepared, we pressed ‘post’ in unison on social media with bated breath. Again, we were met with nothing but love.
Our baby remains happy and healthy and so we’re continuing the wild ride of pregnancy with strong wills and soft hearts, and everything crossed that we get to meet our little one in July.
I can’t say for certain that we would have told people as early as we did if we hadn’t experienced a loss before because I think it’s so ingrained in us to keep it quiet for three months, but I’m glad we made the decision we did.
Fertility and pregnancy are fiercely personal and each person’s journey is different, so if keeping pregnancy news private is what you decide to do, let it be because that’s what you’re comfortable with and not because that’s what you feel you need to do. I hope you make the choice that feels right for you.
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