When Can I Announce My Pregnancy?
Deciding When To Announce Your Pregnancy
Deciding when to tell people you are pregnant is a very personal decision and although there seem to be unwritten rules out there, every situation is different and it is entirely up to you when you tell people and who you tell.
Obviously there will be different sets of people that you will likely tell at different stages depending on how close you are to them and perhaps also depending on their personal circumstances.
I have some quite strong views on this for me personally and having been pregnant and had a miscarriage I believe I told the right people, albeit I missed a couple that I did not get a chance to tell until it was too late.
Factors in Your Decision
The common feeling is that you should not tell people that you are pregnant until you have passed the 'critical' early stages and are 12 weeks pregnant and in fact have had your 12 week (or NT) scan. But you have to ask yourself why this is. Is this because you do not want people to know if you have a miscarriage? It seems the way that we have been brought up to pander to people's sensibilities that they may not know how to react if they find out that it has all gone wrong and you need their support.
Yes, this may be true for people that you do not know very well but if you have close friends then would you not want their support if things did go wrong? Do you really not want your close friends to know that you are suffering both physically and emotionally? For me, and this is just a personal view, I feel that not telling people until 12 weeks in case of miscarriage just perpetuates the taboo that is miscarriage. People do not want to talk about it because they don't know how to react and the more that we keep miscarriages under wraps the less people will realise what others go through and find out how to support them.
For me I knew that the chances of miscarriage were high due to my age and I did have in particular a certain friend that I told (mostly because I had to due to circumstances) who assumed that I would tell no-one until I was 12 weeks pregnant. I felt that opinion made me feel guilty when I did tell people which I shouldn't have had to feel at all.
Another factor in the people I did not tell was that they had no idea that I was trying to get pregnant and if it did not work then i still did not want them to know that was the case in case I continued to try as I felt it was none of their business.
Sharing the Joy
However, although there were people that I was not going to tell until I was 12 weeks (just because I was not that close to them or maybe I did not see them that much so it would not matter if I told them), I felt like I wanted to tell people of my pregnancy and share my joy. I wanted that moment with them when they were happy for me and excited like I was. if it was all going to go wrong later then at least we both shared that excitement for a little while.
I did have a family member that I really wanted to tell but I just did not get the opportunity because I could not speak to them on their own. I only got the chance of telling them after I had miscarried at almost 9 weeks. It was disappointing to have to tell them about the pregnancy and the miscarriage in one go - I would have liked to have told them about the pregnancy first so that they could have had a few weeks of hope and joy.
When People Don't Tell
I have a friend who I feel I am very close to but who lives a long way away and we only generally see each other every 5 years and tend to email most of the time. When I told her I was trying to get pregnant she told me that she had had a miscarriage at 11 weeks a few years before. To be honest I felt slightly sad that she had not told me at the time - after all we were pretty close and although not geographically we always chatted about everything.
So I guess you need to think about how people would feel if you didn't tell them.
But Use Tact
If you know friends that are having problems with fertility and maybe they have been through or are going through IVF then this is a difficult situation to be in and you have to think through carefully how and if to tell them.
If, let's say, you have got pregnant really easily in the first few months this may be quite upsetting to them when they have been trying for years. But only you will know (hopefully) how they react and can act accordingly. I have a friend who has been trying to have a baby for 4 years and has gone through IVF but was genuinely pleased when I got pregnant and she was one of the first people I told. Others, however, may react differently, and I know people who have cut off friendships because a friend got pregnant very easily and they could not handle it.
Telling After 12 Weeks
It is much less likely that anything will go wrong after you have reached 12 weeks and seen the baby on a scan with a heartbeat, so this is still likely to be a point where you tell 'the rest of the world'. Once the knowledge is out there you will have to deal with answering questions from everyone so you need to be prepared for this.
A friend of mine was told by her OB not to tell people until after her 12 week scan. I personally think she should not have done that and it is the choice of the person themselves when they tell people, particularly as this lady had had a great scan at around 8-9 weeks and the chances of a miscarriage after seeing the heatbeat at that stage are 2-3%.
© 2012 Jackie Grant