why we announced our pregnancy at five weeks

This first trimester has hit me hard. Really hard. I am exhausted all of the time and the (very short) list of foods that don’t make me sick changes every 24 hours. When you pair that with an upper respiratory infection in an asthmatic body, you end up with a very miserable Rachel on your hands. I was barely able to leave the bed for almost a week, which at least meant a lot of cuddles with the pups. Andrew has been an absolute saint this entire time. Whether it is eating his especially aromatic dinner downstairs away from me, making a grocery store trip the day after the Atlanta Snowpocalypse, or running the bath at 3am because I can’t sleep, he’s all too willing to do whatever it takes to make me feel the slightest bit better. He says that since it is my responsibility to carry our baby, his responsibility is to care for me. God bless that guy, for real. We have our 8 week appointment in a couple of days and we are both SO excited.

Benji

Since announcing the pregnancy two and a half weeks ago, I’ve been asked many times why we made it public as early as five weeks. Those are the words they say but those aren’t the words they mean. I am being asked about the possibility of miscarriage, but much like a jinx no one wants to say the word. If you don’t mind, I’m going to say the word. As the great Hermione Granger/J.K. Rowling once said, “Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself.”

Am I afraid of the possibility of miscarrying our child? Of course I am. Do I think waiting to tell my world what’s going on until the magical 12 week period will decide whether or not I have a miscarriage? No. The fact is there is no safe period when it comes to pregnancy. Or parenthood for that matter. There is no time when you can safely put away your worries because you’ve crossed into an anti-risk barrier. The chance of losing your baby becomes smaller as you pass into each week of pregnancy, but it never goes away. I could miscarry tomorrow. I could miscarry two weeks from now. I could have a healthy pregnancy that ends in a stillbirth. My baby could be rushed off to NICU and not survive the night. We could bring home our child and have them for three weeks before they leave this earth. Or maybe nothing goes wrong during the pregnancy or birth and I get to say goodbye to my children at the end of my life instead of theirs.

All of these things have happened to mothers and it had nothing to do with when they announced their pregnancies. And furthermore, there was nothing they could do to prepare for that horrifying moment.

Robin

The why’s and the how’s that go into deciding when to spread the word are different for every parent. And what works for me might not work for somebody else (this applies to every single parenting decision ever, by the way). For me, it came down to wanting to celebrate our baby’s life, no matter how long or short of a life God has in store for them. This little one has a presence on this earth right now, not just at 12 weeks, and certainly not just after they are born. They exist right now. They are alive right now. And that is a wonderful and scary and exciting thing that I wanted to be known and cherished.

Some people are fairly private and would want to face a miscarriage in the intimacy of their own home rather than out in the world. In my journey of trying to live my life more wholeheartedly rather than dull the extremes of happy and sad for a more “manageable” lukewarm medium, I knew I did not want to experience that pain inside of my heart only. This baby is already so loved by so many and I knew I would need their grief alongside my own. I also hope that I am able to take the challenges presented to me and use my experience to speak out for others, whatever those experiences may be. I think mothers are expected to keep quiet about miscarriage, although I’m not entirely certain why. Is it an uncomfortable inconvenience to know about another’s pain? Is it seen as a failure on the mother’s part? Either way, I decided I did not want to keep quiet. And I’m also not going to spend the days I have with our baby worrying more than I need to.

Whether it is before or after their birth, if we lose our baby it will be the hardest and worst moment of my life thus far. But, it will not be a secret. And I will not be alone.

Pups

10 thoughts on “why we announced our pregnancy at five weeks

  1. This is so brave of you and I really applaud you for coming out and saying all of it. Really, why are we SO afraid of the “m” word? Like you said, it can happen before 12 weeks, after 12 weeks, after birth (God forbid of course!)…but still, you’re certainly not “jinxing” something you have no control over regardless.

    Anyway, it is wonderful news and I am super happy for you–congratulations and I hope you feel better really soon!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m feeling a bit better each day :)

      That’s exactly what I wanted to get across. I understand the fear, but we can’t let it control us and we shouldn’t feel shamed into silence about it! I hate that it is such an important issue that affects parents everywhere and yet we’re not supposed to talk about it.

  2. “what works for me might not work for somebody else (this applies to every single parenting decision ever, by the way.”

    Praise you for saying this. Many soon-to-be moms rely so much on the decisions other people have made and apply them to their own lives. This is YOUR baby, not anyone else’s. (Well, except Andy. lol) Round of applause to you for not doing every-single-thing that Pinterest or a Facebook article tells you to do as a parent. I think the best parents figure it out as they go, not rely so heavily on “what did everyone else do, I have to do what they did.”

    Love reading your thoughts! :)

    1. Thanks Nikki! Funny how easy it is to forget that people did all the different things people in their twenties do without the aid of the internet, and pretty much made it through just fine. Technology can be useful for sure (it’s how we’re communicating right now! haha) but it can also be crippling. I’m envious that our parents didn’t have a million different Buzzfeed lists trying to explain life and give “guidance”

  3. I loved reading your thoughts on this. You beautifully expressed your feelings on a subject that so many women enduring new pregnancies view as unspeakable. The fear of malidiction, when you’re excited, can be a terrible thing but it’s beautiful you didn’t let it scare you out of sharing your little blessing! Still so happy for you two (:

  4. I always announced early, the first time because circumstance sort of required me to, but the second and third time because, like you, i was so excited and i wanted to share my joy. And if i had needed to, i would have wanted people to share my pain with me to, because i am not a private person.
    sounds like you are ready for the inevitable, well-meaning, questioning of every single parenting decision you will ever make. And the less mainstream the decision, the more you’ll hear about it. i just sounded way too cynical. Ignore that.

    1. Haha! I’d like to think I’m ready for 1000 unwanted opinions about our less than mainstream decisions but honestly it is a bit daunting to think about. I think I get preemptively defensive which does nothing but increase my stress haha

  5. I can totally relate! My very first pregnancy, we told close family and friends right away (at 5 weeks)- unfortunately, I miscarried at 7 weeks. But I didn’t regret telling people. I was pretty devastated, and I had plenty of people to turn to for support because I had shared our news so early. Fast forward 7 years, and we now have 3 healthy little boys. I sometimes wonder about that first babe, but I never regret the experience because I do believe it all works out for the best. Congratulations to you! I hope you feel better soon!

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