Coming Out of the Pregnancy ClosetMeredith Carroll
It can be kind of a strange thing how to decide to announce when you’re pregnant (which, as it turns out, I am announcing right now). I’m 18 weeks along, which is later than some choose to spill the beans about their little bean in utero. I just learned the hard way — three times — not to do it much sooner.
My daughter is now two and a half and I couldn’t be more pleased to shout from the rooftop that she’s happy, healthy and bratty (the latter isn’t actually much to shout about — at least in a good way — but it somehow seems like a package deal with her). Before her, I was pregnant three times, and each time I couldn’t wait to shout the news from the rooftop, too. But what I found ultimately is that’s it’s easy to tell people you’re pregnant and it’s agony to un-tell them.
I had three miscarriages and the pain of un-telling people that I was no longer pregnant never got an easier. When I hear people announce they are four (!), six, eight, ten weeks pregnant, I have to bite my tongue to stop myself from asking them why they’re telling me. After all, no pregnant woman wants to hear stories of another woman’s miscarriage. But one of the many things I learned is that while they’re more common than I ever knew, they’re also discussed in the open only very rarely.
Announcing a pregnancy isn’t nearly as intimate as talking about a miscarriage. While I did nothing to deserve any of my miscarriages (unless you want to assign blame to the genetic clotting disorder that caused them), talking about losing the pregnancies left me feeling like I was in one of those dreams where you show up to school unprepared for a test and naked at the same time — bewildered, overwhelmed and exposed.
And I’m not someone who likes to share the news of my shortcomings. I never told even my closest friends that I applied early decision to college because I didn’t want anyone asking me if I got in, just in case I didn’t. Besides, it ended up being more fun than I imagined telling people I was accepted for that reason. Surprises can be fun when they’re coupled with shock (“You’re how many weeks along?”)
I have no doubt that some people rightfully seek and find comfort from others during dark times. But now I know from experience that I don’t need my mailman and the cashier at the supermarket offering me pearls of wisdom on how to best see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’d rather confide in a select few. Plus, there are young people in my family to whom I’m close, and I don’t see why anyone younger than high school or college needs to know if a baby died in my stomach. There’s plenty of morbidity and dark lessons awaiting them in life; I’d prefer they don’t come from me.
So here I am at 18 weeks, still squeezing into my non-maternity clothes and wondering if my daughter (No. 2!) will come out with the imprint of a zipper on her forehead because of my refusal to wear appropriate clothes until this announcement was made. Thankfully today (!) I’ll assume the elastic waistband for the duration (and several months postpartum, too, I’m sure) and take a deep breath — because my pants aren’t cutting off my circulation, and because all signs so far are pointing to another healthy baby.
When did you decide to announce your pregnancy?