Finding out you’re pregnant for the first time is one of the most momentous experiences of a woman’s life. Whether elated or riddled with anxiety, a common reaction for many new moms is to tell someone. We pick up the phone, bust out of the bathroom or, like in my case, rush into your co-worker’s office to scream at the top of your lungs. But, while some find out as early as 6 weeks, societal norms prevent us from freely announcing a pregnancy until after the ceremonial 12-week mark.
While I understand the medical risks a pregnancy must hurdle and the curbing of these risks once past the first trimester, I still think there are benefits to announcing your pregnancy before 12 weeks. In the four years since my daughter was born, the impact of social media on our lives exploded. Even with its rising prevalence, when I think of announcing a pregnancy I’m not referring to posting your 7 week bump on your Facebook wall or sending a Tweet to your favorite baby gear manufacturer. I can see how the negatives of publishing your brand new pregnancy on social media could outweigh the positives. But when it comes to family and friends, a support network of people you rely on and the people who lift you up when life kicks you down, waiting to announce your pregnancy can be worse than just sharing the beautiful news.
While at a playdate, a (not so close) friend shared with me that she was 7 weeks pregnant. And it got me thinking: is it really that bad to announce your pregnancy before the ceremonial 12/13-week mark? Here are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t wait to announce your pregnancy…
First Trimester Could Kind of Suck
After my friend shared the news of her third pregnancy with me, my mind automatically recalled the many draining days that fill the first trimester. We aren’t Best Friends Forever, so it’s not likely that I’ll be called on to help clean her house or fill her fridge with food. But by announcing her pregnancy to me early on, I can certainly text her on my way to the park and offer to take her boys along with me. I can offer easy playdates at my home that allow her to relax on the couch while the new pregnancy zaps her energy. If I didn’t know, I couldn’t offer to help during these few weeks that have potential to really kind of suck.
Secrets Suck, Too
I am firmly in the Secrets Suck camp. From potentially damaging family secrets to planning me a surprise party, I pretty much hate secrets. I also love to share with those I love most. So, it’s no surprise that within the first 4 minutes of finding out I was pregnant, I: Called my husband and left him a message, texted my best friend a photo of the pee stick, ran into my co-workers office to scream, called my mom and hung up after she didn’t pick up, screamed again while texting my best friend back, then finally calmed down after picking up my freaking-out husband’s phone call. All while on hold with my OBGYN. Crazy indeed, but those 4 minutes were some of the happiest of my life and I wouldn’t change them for the world.
You Begin to Create a Support Network
As far as steadfast rules about when you should announce your pregnancy, I don’t believe that a woman should feel guilty for telling people whom she trusts and wants to include in her support network. While I told close friends and family almost immediately, I waited to announce my first pregnancy on social media until almost 20 weeks. At 10 weeks, however, I began to reach out to moms I knew and respected for their parenting values or baby gear knowledge. Two women in particular come to mind that I haven’t seen in close to 10 years, but were incredible supports to me as I planned my baby registry and navigated early pregnancy. You decide who you want to tell, and when.
When the Unspeakable Happens
Announcing your pregnancy can be done in stages and at a pace you are most comfortable with. One the my biggest reasons for announcing my pregnancy early to close friends is that if the unspeakable were to occur, I would need their love and support. I am a strong, capable woman but enduring conflicts with a pregnancy would be beyond the scope of my individual strength. I love my friends and would need their support in dealing with a loss or struggle. While risks of miscarriage lessen significantly as you enter the second trimester, losing a child at any point during pregnancy is difficult to endure—let alone without a support network that is aware of your struggle.