In North America, it appears that pregnancies for women don’t actually start until the second trimester. For those first 12 elusive weeks, women keep their new pregnancies (along with their excitement, fears, exhaustion, nausea, and possible bad news) a secret from most of the people they know. It’s not uncommon for the “official pregnancy announcement” to come with the requisite 12-week ultrasound picture along with a smiling and beaming mom-to-be, or maybe an older sibling wearing a new “Big Brother/Sister” t-shirt bough solely for the occasion. Does this mean that the pregnancy didn’t really exist before that?
Obviously not. But it does mean that the pregnancy would have never existed if it never made it to that announcement.
“Don’t tell anyone about your pregnancy until 12 weeks, just incase you have a miscarriage. Wait until it’s for sure.”
So for 2 months women hide their pregnancies and they don’t let themselves get too excited because it might not actually last. And then, the roughly 20% of women who do have a miscarriage have to suffer their loss in silence and solitude. How horrible that they lost their pregnancy… It never happens to anyone else… What did I do wrong… Why is this happening get to me???
And what about the time before the pregnancy happens: the period of trying? No one is ever officially trying, are they? After all, it might take too long to conceive, or you might get pregnant and then have to lie about it for the first 12 weeks… Just to be safe.
Why is such a beautiful, exciting, nervous, and life changing time in a woman’s life such a stressful secret? Why have we done this to ourselves?
I won’t lie, I’ve fallen victim to this emotional trap twice before. And let me say that I’m lucky it’s only been twice – since I do have two kids. The questions about baby number three has always been presented. However, when it wasn’t in the plans, it was easy to vehemently deny that such a thing was ever going to happen. Now that it IS in the works, I find myself falling into the old habit of saying “oh, I’m not sure,” or “we’ll see,” instead of coming out honestly and saying, “actually we’re trying for baby #3 right now!”
And so, it is this point that brings me to the central idea of this post: This time it will be different – I will speak about the unspeakable, in an attempt to bring down the illusion that getting (and staying) pregnant in the early moments is something that must remain a secret. I’ve been lucky in the past, and I may get lucky again with an easy conception and a (somewhat) textbook first trimester. Or, it might take me 2, 4, 8, or more months to get pregnant… And I might be that one woman in five who loses the pregnancy before it’s time to officially announce. Regardless, it won’t change the truth. Rather, it will be my way of breaking down the stigma – of being vulnerable and saying, “this is my life, and it’s not perfect, and that’s okay.”
It might seems like a strange stance to take, but why shouldn’t I take it? Because people might talk?
Did you hear that Genny is pregnant? She’s not even 3 months, she better be careful because she might lose it…
And what if that does happen? Then I’ll have to somehow face the fact that everyone who knew, now knows that I miscarried and they’ll feel sorry for me? Why shouldn’t they – miscarriages are hard and sad and they deserve some sympathy. And the same goes for infertility.
So while I don’t plan to broadcast my efforts, successes, or failures from the highest mountain I can find, I will make a concerted effort to not hide them or keep them a secret. They will just be… Just like everything else about my life. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
So with that long prelude, I guess it’s official: I am “trying” to get pregnant. I’m not really trying as hard as I did before, with basal body temperature and dedicated ovulation tracking. But I am using the same program I did before to help with tracking my cycles. I don’t actually know when my LMP was… But I did have some significant bleeding starting 2 days after I had my iud removed. However, that was earlier than I would have expected. So this is where I stand… And I’m going to be out of town, without husband, for the next week. Sigh.