The rule is you wait until after the first trimester to share your pregnancy news. After 13 weeks, it is “safe to make the announcement” and accept the congratulations and well-wishes.
News Flash! There is no safe zone. Certainly, the majority of miscarriages take place in the first trimester, but that doesn’t mean that when you reach 13-weeks gestation that you magically enter into a promise that you get to complete your pregnancy and bring your baby home.
We lost James at 17 weeks. We lost him on the very same day that we went public with our pregnancy. We accepted congratulations and condolences, simultaneously. We were well past the first trimester—we should have been safe to share our news. My OB even made the statement, “We just don’t see many miscarriages this late,” as though trying to understand himself. And what about the parents who lose their babies at 24 or 30 weeks, or at birth? They should have been safe, too.
Pregnancy… birth… life… love… all come with risk. Losing James did not hurt more because people knew we were pregnant or because we had to tell them of our loss. It hurt because we lost our son. We lost a child we hoped, prayed and dreamed for.
Because people knew, we had support, understanding, and love, rather than grieving alone. My regrets with James center around the lateness in the celebration. I was 16 weeks before I took the first belly pic; 17 weeks before I told work. I was busy with Connie and other life duties… I wish I would have paused more often and reflected on my child during those 17 weeks I had with him.
So when we became pregnant again, I decided I didn’t want to wait for some false safety net to share our news. I wanted to exhibit my excitement and rejoice in pregnancy. I wanted those that cared about us to target prayers and positive thoughts on the life I was carrying, that it be strong and lively. And I wanted our loved ones to celebrate with us.
At six and seven weeks we told family and close friends. At eight weeks our Christmas cards were hitting the mail which contained the news of a baby due to arrive in the summer. On Christmas day, one day shy of nine weeks, we experienced loss, disappointment, and heartache. Another miscarriage.
I could tell that some felt I shouldn’t have put it on our card, that I must regret doing so since we lost yet again with the reveal of our pregnancy. I shared my news ‘too early’.
Once again, having people know, especially over the holiday, was more of a blessing than a regret. I did not have to cover up my broken heart during family gatherings. I had empathy, and many needed hugs. As it was with James, I am glad for the support and that I don’t mourn alone. I’m glad that I made this life known–our baby was worth celebrating.