When to share your baby news? We’ve put together a list of reasons why you might tell people before the 12-week mark and a few reasons why you might choose to wait.
Finding out you’re pregnant is a big moment in anyone’s life. Whether it’s a surprise or a long time coming, most of us are itching to tell people. Whilst many women know they are pregnant as soon as they miss a period, typically a lot of mums choose to wait until the all-important 12-week mark, when test have confirmed things are OK and the chance of miscarriage is much lower before telling people beyond their partner and maybe parents. Those of us that have been through it, know that can feel like the longest 12 weeks ever.
The first trimester is often filled with a roller coaster of emotions, hormones, and pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, sickness and exhaustion. Yet many mums deal with them alone, or with just their partner, rather than sharing with those around them.
But why when we probably need each other more than ever, do we feel we have to keep such huge news to ourselves? Almost as if we’ll jinx ourselves if we dare share! So if you’re still unsure whether to share more widely at the earlier stages, here are a few things to consider.
Why you might choose to announce your pregnancy after 12 weeks:
It might feel safer to wait
When we asked the mums in our Natally Active Mums Facebook Group, the majority said they waited until 12 weeks due to experiencing previous miscarriages or being worried they'd miscarry. As one mum said, “I knew a few friends that had experienced miscarriages before so I just wanted to be sure all was well before I allowed myself to get too excited and tell friends and family”.
Based on the sad fact that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, usually before 12 weeks, this is understandable. That said, this “rule” seems to be grounded on the premise that you wouldn’t want anyone to know you had experienced a miscarriage? It could be argued that this is when you’d need your friends and family the most? But equally it could mean having to tell a lot more people some difficult news should the worst happen too.
Enjoying that initial excitement in secret
Pregnancy is an exciting thing to get to share with the ones you love but it does tend to invite prying eyes and a lot of very personal questions. Were you trying? What kind of birthing plan will you be doing? Do you plan to breastfeed? If you only found out about your pregnancy last week, you might not be ready to be bombarded with such questions.
Those 12 weeks will be great for you to sit and figure out how you want to journey through pregnancy and what kind of mother you want to be. It also allows you to just sit and enjoy your news to yourself and your partner until you are ready to share it.
Not having to explain details to everyone if the pregnancy doesn't work out
If you are nervous about miscarriage, the thought of having to tell a lot of people if the pregnancy didn’t work out, is not a pleasant one. Natal Active Founder Claire regretted an early Facebook announcement with her 3rd baby. “I had had the 12 week scan and it was all fine, but as we were travelling to New Zealand for 2 months the next day I announced the pregnancy on Facebook before getting the blood results. While we were away we got the very worrying news that the baby was at very high risk of a chromosomal abnormality.
"I had to come back late into my pregnancy for an amniocentesis with all the risk that brought let alone the concern over my baby being unwell. In that period I wished I’d kept it to myself and my closest friends rather than having to potentially face another Facebook announcement to people that aren’t really in my life any more to say things had gone wrong. Luckily all was OK but it made a stressful situation worse.”
Why you might want to tell people before 12 weeks:
You won't have to pretend you aren’t pregnant
A lot of effort goes into pretending you aren’t pregnant whether it is hiding a bump or making excuses as to why you can’t join in having cocktails, or why you always seem to be sick. You don’t have to waste energy playing pretend if people already know your situation.
We caught up with Natal Active ambassador Hollie Grant, Founder of The Bump Plan as she recently announced her pregnancy news at 6 weeks on social media. When we asked her why, here’s what she had to say:
“It felt really naughty admitting I was pregnant pre-12 weeks, but for so many reasons it was the right choice. Firstly, I was struggling to hide my bump (and my sickness) from clients whom I 100% trusted with the news anyway. Secondly, we had the opportunity to tell our family in person at 6 weeks (they live so far away normally) and we didn't want to miss that, and lastly because of my role at The Bump Plan I am often the 1st person most women tell, so it all felt totally right to announce it early. And I'm so glad we did!! It was like a weight off my shoulders and we haven't regretted it once."
Sharing that initial excitement
With such momentous news, especially if you’ve been trying for a while, this can potentially be a very difficult secret to keep. Naturally, you are probably going to want to tell all of your loved ones and It might be hard to resist that urge. It just probably is not worth the stress of trying to keep it a secret.
Having support if you’re having a tough time
You may feel horrendously sick, or bone-achingly tired. Maybe you are hormonal and just want to kill your other half or anxious about everything that pregnancy and a new baby will bring. If a wider circle of supportive friends know early they can support you - be it helping with existing children, or calming those nerves.
Having a friend onside if doesn’t work out
Whilst many women choose to wait to share their news for fear of miscarriage, having a support system around you immediately can really help if the worst does happen.
One mum explained in the Facebook group that “after suffering 4 miscarriages I needed the support. You don’t start a new job and not tell people in case you fail your probation, why the same with pregnancy? Failing to talk about it makes it taboo”.
Similarly Natal Active Founder Claire was glad of the support of friends that she had told when she suffered a miscarriage with her second pregnancy at 7 weeks. “I was devastated and the fact that my friends shared in my disappointment and sadness really helped me get through those early days when I just needed another mum that ‘got’ it. It would have been much harder had they not known about it before the miscarriage happend.”
It is so important in those early days to have both mental and physical support, and telling people early is a great way to create that network.
The reality is that there are no rules as to when you announce your pregnancy. Some women wait until they’re 20 weeks, some women don’t share their news publicly at all and others barely wait for the pregnancy test to dry - and all of these are OK! Don’t let social norms dictate when you should tell people.There is no right time, there is no perfect week. Just the idea alone that there is a right time can cause anxiety, pressure and worry. Instead go with your gut, or your baby bump, whichever compels you to share your news first :-)