You sit on the loo, pee on a stick, then spend an agonising three minutes staring at the little bar waiting to see if a pink line, a plus sign or the words “PREGNANT” appear. When it does you might (in my case) leap into your husbands arms weeping with joy and share a snotty ecstatic cuddle, or maybe you take a deep breath and try to figure out how or if you’re going to handle this. But whether you’re delighted, nervous, or devastated you then have to decide who, if anyone, you’re going to tell.
Until 12 weeks the pregnancy has a high chance of miscarriage, and everyone advises you to keep it private until your 12 week scan when the pregnancy is confirmed and you are told whether there are any chances of defects, so you can choose whether to continue or terminate the pregnancy. Telling people before this is seen as a risk, should you miscarry or terminate due to defects or because you don’t want to continue the pregnancy, you have to face telling everyone it’s over. Some see it’s a jinx, though personally I don’t subscribe to such superstitious nonsense. If you are going to miscarry you’re going to miscarry, telling people will not cause it, and keeping it secret will not prevent it. We must stop looking for ways to blame ourselves when this happens, nature is cruel, but it is still nature.
I lost my first pregnancy at 10 weeks and endured a traumatic miscarriage, both mentally and physically damaging, and it was a hideous time. Had I had to go through it alone I don’t know how I would have coped. We didn’t tell many people when we got pregnant, we decided we would tell the people we would want to know should something go wrong, and my gosh I am so grateful we did. Don’t get me wrong, telling people was hideous; I cried, they cried, and everyone grieved, but they were there for me, with me through every stage. I needed a lot of time alone with just my husband and people were so respectful, but when I needed to talk or just sit and eat chocolate and cry, my best friends were there right with me, holding my hand through it. It also helped to learn from so many that they too had lost babies, I honestly had no idea how many first pregnancies end in miscarriage and to learn that so many people close to me had experienced it really helped to alleviate any feelings of guilt or shame I had.
The second time around we did the same; we told those who had celebrated with us in the first pregnancy and supported us through the loss. Understandably we were anxious and again having that support and understanding was so wonderful. Building up to the 12 week scan was the most terrifying time, and my gosh did I obsess about it constantly, and my best friend was right there with me letting me do it. Had she not known I’d have gone into a spiral.
Of course, we all know the happy ending and Miss Rose was, and is, complete perfection. And when we went public with the pregnancy after the 12 week scan and shared our news with the rest of the world it was wonderful to celebrate again, but I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with them all first time around.
So if you’re newly pregnant and debating whether to tell nobody or just go ahead and Facebook it, my tip would be to find a happy medium. Dealing with a loss, should such a tragedy strike you, is intensely personal and very hard. Pick the people closest to you, the people you want there for you in times of crisis, and tell them the good news. Hopefully you will never need the support and it will just be a wonderful celebration, but if you do need it, you will be relieved you have it.
My second piece of advice is that if you do miscarry IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. I loved our first baby intensely, and I still do. That baby had a very short but a very important life, and was loved. I looked for ways to blame myself; I had told people, I had danced a lot, I had experienced a moment of blind panic when I wondered if we were ready. But that baby was never meant to be, and had it survived Rose would never have existed. I will never regret losing that baby, as much as it hurt and I still mourn for the loss, because Rose is my daughter and I wouldn’t trade her for the world.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and The Boy (Jonathan McKinney) and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!