Something that’s been playing on my mind since having Leo is the question of why we wait until 12 weeks to tell people that we’re pregnant?
For decades, women have been told to wait until the end of the first trimester before announcing their news. After thirteen weeks, the chances of miscarriage decrease dramatically so by waiting, you’re more likely to avoid the awkwardness that would come from having to inform everyone that you are “no longer pregnant” if you lose the baby.
I get it, I really do.
But the 12 week rule is a norm that feels like it’s been imposed on us by a society that’s not willing to accept that pregnancy and having kids isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. 1 in 4 women will suffer a miscarriage and 90% of them will take place in the first trimester. So by telling women to wait until the 12 week mark, we’re basically saying:
“Please don’t tell us because there’s a 1 in 4 chance that you’re going to have a miscarriage and that would be super awkward. Please only tell us if you’re one of the 75% that gets lucky.”
I’m not saying that we need to tell the world as soon as we’ve peed on a stick. Since miscarriage is common, telling everyone you know and then UN-telling them would be difficult and upsetting. But admitting it to your closest friends and co-workers when you want to celebrate, and more than ever need their understanding and support? That shouldn’t be a taboo!
And newsflash: there is no “safe” zone. Not 12 weeks, not 30 weeks, not 40 weeks, not 1 year, not even adulthood. There are no guarantees in parenting, just an increase in the probability that your child will outlive you as time ticks on. Parenting is risky and it’s hard. I think that we can all agree on the fact that being a parent stretches and tests you in ways that you can’t prepare for and whatever stage of parenting you’re in it’s incredibly important to have a solid support network around you.
So WHY is society robbing women of that support in the first 12 weeks of their parenting journey? One that so often ends in heartache and leaves parents suffering in silence. Please can someone explain that to me?
If you’re truly a private person then of course I respect that and each to their own, but recently I’ve asked a couple of friends “why did / would you hide your pregnancy until 12 weeks?” and the answers I’ve been given were either:
Because you’re meant to
To wait until it’s safe
Well peeps, I’m afraid neither of those are good reasons and I think it’s time we all stood up to society and called it’s bluff so that we can get the support we need. No more pretending we’re on antibiotics and telling porky pies about stomach bugs at work. Pregnancy is a major deal and miscarriage is not something we should have to hide. Having a baby is an AMAZING but complicated process filled with trials and tribulations, and it’s one we really need to start being less secretive about.
At the end of the day, how and when you share pregnancy news is a personal decision. If you want to tell at six weeks, tell. If you want to tell at 20 weeks, tell. Whatever feels right for you, should be right. Not what society says is right.