Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The big secret

I'm about 6 weeks pregnant, I think, and have told a lot of people. I told my family immediately. I found out on a Saturday, and told everyone at work on the Monday. I haven't told many friends, just a close few. Any others I'm going to tell as and when I see them. I'll do the big Facebook broadcast once I've had my first scan.

Last time I was pregnant, I was horribly sick - puking most mornings, the works. I came in late, left early and was a fetching shade of green. As a primary school teacher, the majority of my colleagues are women and as such many of them are mothers. Most people suspected I was pregnant and grilled my closest work friends about it (who denied all knowledge, bless 'em). But no-one actually came and spoke to me! Everyone was talking about me, but no-one was talking to me! The stupid thing is, if anybody had approached me and said, "are you pregnant?" I would have answered, "yes, but please keep it to yourself".

I posted here:


about how unfair it is that during the first trimester, the time when you feel the worst and need the most support, you are not supposed to tell anyone. The reasons for this are that something like 95% of miscarriages happen some time in the first 12 weeks. So presumably, you wouldn't want to follow up the exciting announcement of a pregnancy with the sad one of a miscarriage.

Or would you? In a workplace full of women, mothers, children and family problems, my colleagues are a fabulous support network. We see each other through private and professional dramas, and rally round when somone is having a crisis, however large or small. In fact, I think that if I were to suffer a miscarriage - which is not that likely anyway, I'm not in any of the high-risk categories and have already had one straightforward pregnancy - my colleagues would provide me with tremendous support. If I suffered any other sort of loss or bereavement, I would want the support of the people around me. I wouldn't really want to soldier on as if nothing had happened. I wouldn't want it to be a secret. And therefore I can't see any good reason for me keeping early pregnancy a secret.

I'm lucky in that my employer is fully supportive (to the point of over-enthusiastic!) of staff having children. In other workplaces, it might be a good idea to keep it quiet until your maternity arrangments are fully in place, I don't know. But I've told everyone at work so that they know there's a good reason why I might not be keeping up properly, or be rather absent-minded, or be green. I want their support through this, because it's a big upheaval, even second time around. (Mind you, I seem to be getting evening sickness rather than morning sickness this time so maybe it would have been easy to conceal, I don't know!)

I play in a brass band and told one of my friends there, who herself has two children under the age of two, at the same time as another friend. She asked me how far along I was and I told her only a few weeks. "Well that's a bit silly, announcing it this early, isn't it?" she said, all judgemental. "Why?" I asked. "Well, you'd better hope nothing happens," she replied, implying a miscarriage. "But then I'd want people to know that as well," I said.

OK, so this particular friend is a bit like that, a bit judgy and speaks without thinking, but I reckon her comments only demonstrate the prevailing attitude in society. Where does this come from? Why should miscarriage be such a shameful secret? Why should early pregnancy be so embarrassing? Does this date back to a time when reproduction  - and naturally, women's bodies in general - was just so shameful that it wasn't mentioned in public until the physical evidence was unavoidable: i.e. the bump began to show, at the start of the second trimester? Probably.

Ugh, in other news, a friend has just found out she is expecting twins! Please God no! I haven't got room for two more, just one please! It hadn't even occured to me until she told me that of course, she hadn't known either until the scan. And mine is about 6 weeks away! Fingers crossed, just the one baby please!


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