3 Reasons Why We’re Ignoring the 12-Week Rule
Should you wait until you’re past your first trimester to announce your pregnancy? Or should you let everyone know as soon as you find out? I’ve done both–here’s why I chose to announce my pregnancy “early” with my second baby.
My husband recently started his computer science PhD program at NC State, so this month saw us moving to Raleigh for the next few years. On top of the excitement of moving into a third-floor apartment we’d leased sight-unseen, we got a big surprise… We found out that we are having our second baby!
Even though we’d been hoping for another little one (and I was impatiently testing basically every month), it was a bit of a surprise to find out I was pregnant this cycle. With the stress of the move and not much fertile-quality cervical fluid, I wasn’t even sure I’d ovulated.
But shortly after we got here, I started feeling a little “off” and figured it wouldn’t hurt to test… I was sure I must be imagining it when the test turned positive!
So it’s kind of been a crazy few weeks. I’ve been working on finding a new midwife in a new state and figuring out everything that goes along with that, plus getting everything unpacked and put away and figuring out our new life here.
I am 6 weeks pregnant now, and if you’re familiar at all with the pregnancy “rules,” you know that many people wait until the “safe” zone—12 weeks—before they announce their pregnancies. At this point in the pregnancy, the likelihood of miscarriage drops significantly.
Many people prefer not to have to tell people if they lose a pregnancy. If that’s you, then waiting is a good option. But that’s not what I’ve chosen to do this time.
Why I’m breaking the rules
So why am I ignoring the 12-week “rule” and announcing my pregnancy early?
1. I’m announcing my pregnancy now because I believe in the power of prayer and positivity.
By announcing my pregnancy now, I’m letting the people who pray and care about us pray for our baby—for its safety and protection.
I’m also making a statement of faith. I am choosing a positive outlook and saying that I believe that this baby will make it. I am choosing to speak words of life over my child.
I believe there is so much power in our words and what we choose to believe. And we experience so much more joy when we choose positivity. Even if what you hope for doesn’t happen–even if the worst happens–when you’ve allowed yourself to rejoice in and expect the good beforehand, your life will be better for that joy you experienced.
Recently I read (I wish I could remember where!) that not allowing ourselves to be excited about a potentially positive outcome robs us of joy even when the best happens. So you might think you’re setting yourself up not to be disappointed, but in reality you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed either way.
I experienced the consequences of not-enough-joy with my first child. Because we’d had several miscarriages, I was afraid to rejoice in my pregnancy. I was afraid to become too attached to him.
And it took me a long time to bond with him, even after he was born. I felt more like I was in shock than rejoicing at this new life. I believe that my fear of celebrating him was (among many other things) part of what caused me to experience what I suspect was undiagnosed postpartum depression.
2. I hate the stigma that’s attached to miscarriage.
We had three miscarriages before our son was born, and after each one, I felt like it was my fault somehow. What should I have done differently? Did I cause this?
Was I even meant to be a mother?
These feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty can make it hard to connect with other people when you experience a loss. If it’s your fault, why would you tell anyone?
But we need other people most in those times of loss. Talking about it is one of the keys for managing grief.
And so I want other women to know that it’s not your fault. I want you to know that it’s OK to reach out when you’re hurting.
You can do what you can, but in the end, it’s not entirely in your hands, and you don’t need to be afraid to tell people if you have a loss.
Of course, you don’t have to tell anyone if you experience a miscarriage. I personally feel there’s a loss of community when we don’t share the hard things, but my goal is only that you not be afraid to reach out if you feel you need or want to.
3. I’m announcing my pregnancy now because I believe in community.
When we had our first miscarriage, we found out I was pregnant in early November. We were planning to wait to tell our parents when they came to visit us at Thanksgiving.
We were looking forward to telling them in person.
Unfortunately, I ended up miscarrying very, very shortly after I found out. It was heartbreaking that our parents never got to share with us the joy of discovering that there was a new life, that we had a baby coming. All they got to share with us was the sorrow of the loss.
To me that was just tragic.
So we decided from then on that the people that we loved and cared about and that we knew loved and cared about us would know almost as soon as we did.
We wanted their prayers; we wanted their support if something happened; and we wanted them to be able to share in ALL aspects—both the joy and in the sorrow if we did experience another loss.
So I announce my pregnancy now so that those who love us can share in our joy. We pray it will be all joy, but if there is sorrow, we know the people we love will carry us through the loss as well.
When should you announce your pregnancy?
Ultimately the decision of when to announce a pregnancy belongs to you and your partner. Maybe you prefer not to tell anyone if the pregnancy ends for any reason.
But if you’re like me and you believe in the power of prayer and positivity, you want to change the conversation about pregnancy loss, and you believe in your community with other human beings, then you just might want to ignore the 12-week-rule and announce your pregnancy now.
What do you think? Would you rather wait or tell people as soon as you can?
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