The decision to announce your pregnancy early is complex

Amidst the news of Britney Spears’ miscarriage, I am saddened. Because I shared in her joy when I saw her early pregnancy announcement, and now I share in her grief after suffering a miscarriage. 

Reading her statement of “Perhaps we should have waited until we were further along…,” my thoughts are this: No. She did it the way that felt right for her. She wanted to share the news. The idea of loss didn’t stop her, and I find that courageous.

I am reminded of how I handled the announcement of my own pregnancy. Without even knowing, I gave in to the silent culture of waiting until I was “in the clear” to share with my family and friends—that being past the first trimester of my pregnancy. 

Three long, lonely and mind-racking months.

I vividly remember having a conversation with my husband about how we were going to share our news. He was overseas for a deployment and during one of our phone calls, we both agreed to wait until I was out of the first trimester and in the second (the socially agreed-upon “safe zone” for your pregnancy). “That way, if anything happens, we wouldn’t have gotten our family and friends excited for nothing.”

I didn’t understand what I was saying then. But now, I realize that I was feeding into the social norm of the need to wait to announce your pregnancy. The weight and sadness of my statement hit me: Getting our family and friends excited for nothing. 

That’s when I realized that I needed to change my perception around pregnancy announcements. 

Related: These powerful photos are changing the way we talk about pregnancy + infant loss

Pregnancy is a vulnerable journey. The truth is, no one knows what is going to happen.

Because even if you announce when you first find out and your pregnancy ends in loss, you sharing with others was NOT for nothing. It was to share the thrill and the excitement with your loved ones. It was with hope that you would carry full term. It was with the desire to have a community cover you and support you. 

I wish I had shared the news with my close circle sooner. Because while I was bubbling with excitement, I was also dealing with the most debilitating fear and anxiety I had ever experienced.

Pregnancy is a vulnerable journey. The truth is, no one knows what is going to happen. But that shouldn’t keep you from sharing. Because the more people you let in, the more people you have to cover and support you… no matter what the outcome is.

I’ve seen so many women around me experience miscarriages: my mother, my sister, close friends. And though I have not experienced one, that doesn’t mean that I don’t share sympathy for those who have. And that doesn’t mean that I never will. I have seen women show an unspeakable grace and vulnerability through their loss, such as Britney Spears, and that has shaped my perception of how we as a society need to change how we handle pregnancy announcements and pregnancy loss.

We’ve created this culture around waiting to share pregnancy news—in case of loss—which has taken the initial joy out of the news and makes those first few months scary and disheartening for women.

Related: What to say when your friend has a miscarriage

You don’t have to go through pregnancy alone. You don’t have to go through a miscarriage alone.

I know that loss is a wound that never truly closes. But it is also something women shouldn’t carry alone. A village starts being built before a child is born. And so why not gather that village around you to be your support no matter what happens?

In Britney’s pregnancy announcement, she made the bold decision to share her joy with the world. When I see other women around me announce early on, I smile now. I no longer question why they shared at four weeks or six weeks. I celebrate their excitement with them. I join their community and extend myself as part of their support system, no matter what the outcome ends up being. Because that’s what we need to do. Wrap ourselves around each other—through joy and through grief. 

The decision of when, how and with whom to share your pregnancy isn’t society’s. It shouldn’t be dictated by Googling “How early is too early to announce my pregnancy?” It is your decision. And yours alone.

You don’t have to go through pregnancy alone. You don’t have to go through a miscarriage alone.

So if you decide to wait until after you’re out of the first trimester, I respect your decision. There are many reasons you may want to wait.

But if you decide to share the news early on, I respect your decision also. Because there are many reasons you may not want to wait.

And if like Britney, you too, decide to keep trying after loss, I support you.

It is your journey. It is your decision. I respect that. And others should, too.

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Today’s Parent is Canada’s #1 source for parenting content that informs, inspires and builds a sense of community. We help parents celebrate the happy chaos that comes with having a family and remind them that they are not alone. If you’re trying to conceive, pregnant or have children from newborn to ages 9+, you’ll get insightful information for all ages and stages on discipline, health, behaviour, education, plus easy and nutritious recipes and so much more.

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