Why the 12 week pregnancy announcement rule is BS

img_1647

Do you  know what I think? I think the 12 week pregnancy announcement rule is absolute BS.

 

Why? 

 

It gives us a false sense of security that the pregnancy and baby are ‘safe’ after 12 weeks.  We breathe a sigh of relief at 12 weeks and tell everyone and for those of us who experience the worst, we’re struck with those thoughts of ‘but, but, but… it’s not meant to happen now?!’  And we search for answers that – just as they aren’t there before 12 weeks, they aren’t there after either.

 

And I feel like for those women who lose their babies before 12 weeks feel alone because they haven’t shared the news with love ones. They are less likely to share the loss with those who don’t know. It’s very difficult to say “I was pregnant, but now I’m not”

 

It becomes easier to say nothing.   But I don’t know that easier is always what we need.  

 

After we lost Orion I went through a bit of social anxiety.  I avoided social situations – especially with people who knew that we had lost him.  I didn’t want to face the sad look in their eyes and the bumbling conversation that we inevitably had to go through before they felt comfortable that I was ok, and we could move on to other topics.

 

There were a couple of times there where I was really excited about going out, only to back out the last minute because I couldn’t face the reality of those conversations – I preferred to wallow alone.

 

But I don’t think this is the best thing for us either. For a little while, any sort of wallowing is definitely allowed (and intermittent wallowing afterwards is totally acceptable as well).  But I don’t think I really started to feel like I was moving forwards until I could have conversations with those people I loved the most about the worst thing that had every happened to me.  Like in some way I needed to find a way to voice the words in order to process them.  Prior to that I’d wake each morning to the same nightmare as if each night my memory (and body) would forget it had happened.

 

So why the waiting? Why is this an unspoken rule when clearly it’s not really helping anyone?

 

I’ve had countless women reach out to me since we lost Orion.  Many who lost before 12 weeks have said things like “but I was ONLY 7 weeks I wasn’t as far along as you”.

 

As if the number of weeks somehow determines the amount of grief you feel. We don’t do this when we are grieving people at any other stage in life. ‘Oh he was 38, well mine was only 25, I can’t imagine how you feel?!’ So WHY do we do this to women who have lost what is the strongest connection we ever have, between parent and child?

 

Of course, I understand for those who don’t want to tell people too soon. Perhaps they want to hold off the ‘pregnancy inquiry questions’ that inevitably start as soon as you announce.  If it’s for this reason then I couldn’t care if you announced it when you go into labour.

 

But if you are holding back because our society says you shouldn’t announce it publicly until 12 weeks then I think thats rubbish.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that women spend pregnancy being scared that this could happen to them. It’s not like I want everyone to be considering it as a possibility.  That would be like saying that we should ALL spend our days worrying about dying – because it could happen today – we never know.

 

But I do think that the narrative around losing and grieving for our babies needs to be opened up.  Not because it will normalise the loss of a child (because I don’t think that pain will ever be lessoned) but because I think it will help to make our grief more acceptable.  It will give others the chance to offer support, where once they might be completely oblivious to the whole situation.  And it will help us, to help each other heal.

 

Last week I connected with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz to record an episode of her Happy Mama podcast.  I shared my story and my grief.  It is a incredibly emotional conversation (obviously), so whilst I would love for you to listen, perhaps save it for a time when you have a big ol’ cry afterwards.

 

What do you think of the 12 week pregnancy announcement rule? Do you follow it?

 

Just a little FYI, I plan to release a book mid-2017 on healing from loss. If you’d like to be the first to know when this book is available or if you’d like to contribute your story, please add your details here.

 

img_1641

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.