I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but William and Kate had a baby this week. I know, I know, this is shocking news. I’m not sure how they hid her baby bump this whole time, with all of the normal media attention and all. But my inside sources say that a royal baby has been born.
Ha! I don’t think there’s a person in their country or ours who didn’t know that a little bundle of royalty was on his way. We knew as soon as Kate found herself hospitalized for dehydration associated with hyperemesis gravidarum at seven weeks into the pregnancy. She had probably only found out that she was pregnant three weeks or so before the world did.
We see many celebrities who are “outed” as pregnant before they can announce it themselves. Usually when someone like Jessica Simpson or Drew Barrymore declares they are expecting it is old news.
They have little control over the timing of her pregnancy announcement, but most of us do. Here are the most common times to announce that you have a bun in the oven.
The Most Common Times to Announce Your Pregnancy
Before the pee dries on the stick.
Some people choose to announce their pregnancy the moment they see those two important pink lines. Some choose to only tell a select few at first, but I’ve seen some pregnancy announcements on Facebook as early as 6 weeks into the journey. I have to say that I cringe a bit when I do. More on that later.
When saying “Ciao!” to the first trimester.
Many couples choose to wait until the first trimester has passed before updating their status with, “We’re Prego!” Not only are most moms-to-be done losing their lunch (and breakfast, and dinner) daily, but the risk of miscarriage lowers significantly. Ten to twenty-five percent of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 80% of those happen in the first trimester. If the worst happens, it is hard to announce your pregnancy one week and then have to follow-up the second week with bad news. But some people feel that they would rather have more people know so they have plenty of support should the worst happen.
Post in-utero photo shoot.
Nearly every pregnant woman has a 20-week ultrasound to check the baby’s growth, health status, and to see if it’ll flash a little something so that you can start planning the gender reveal. This timing makes for an easy announcement (“It’s a GIRL!!!”) and still gives enough time for people to get excited about your growing belly. Also, by this time there is a greatly decreased chance of losing the baby. In fact, your cutie-pie fetus is only four weeks away from being viable (having a chance of surviving should she be born). And if there is any kind of problem diagnosed in the ultrasound, you have time to process that information before telling your friends.
After it’s all done.
Some couples skip the pregnancy announcement entirely and let people know after the baby has made her arrival. In fact, this happened in the celebrity world when Jimmy Fallon’s wife gave birth before the public even knew they were expecting. I’ve also had a few friends take this approach. The couple tells only few important folks before the due date, like the grandparents, a few close friends, and their boss. But we less-important folk find out with a baby announcement card, phone call, or Facebook status after the fact. It makes it easy for the couple to keep away from prying questions and unwanted advice, but it may make people feel out of the loop.
Why I Think It’s Best To Wait
I have some strong opinions on the subject of when to tell people about a pregnancy. They have nothing to do with research and everything to do with personal experience. To explain, let me tell you about my first pregnancy four years ago.
Moments after we discovered we were pregnant for the first time, we began telling family. We were beyond excited. We had been trying for a while with no luck. But we were suddenly pregnant and over the moon about it.
After a couple of blissful weeks, I began bleeding. Panicked and crying, I called the doctor and was sent to the ER. An ultrasound tech took me into a darkened room and began searching for signs of life. She paused. Looked at me and then again at the screen.
“I have to talk with the doctor,” she said suddenly, and left. I felt like I was going to throw up. What was taking her so long to get back? Why did she leave so suddenly? What was going on?
The tech came back with the doctor. We were not having a miscarriage, the doctor explained. However, a previously undiagnosed large fibroid tumor was attached to the outside of my uterus. But the embryo (it wasn’t even a fetus yet) was safe.
A few days later, my doctors, an amazing team who work with high-risk mothers, arrived at the conclusion that the tumor would most likely just be uncomfortable throughout the pregnancy. (Their words. I would have gone with “really freaking painful”.) But it would not much change the course of the pregnancy, they said. Other than having regular ultrasounds and a planned c-section, that is. So, when 12 weeks rolled around, we began telling everyone about the pregnancy, including making a Facebook announcement. The baby preparations were in high gear. My hubby’s office was moved upstairs to make room for the nursery. We chose paint colors, folded baby clothes, and read all the books about baby necessities. My frequent doctor appointments were uneventful. Besides the frequent discomfort, life was grand.
But the doctors were wrong. On the day I reached the 20 week mark, I felt a little sick at bedtime. I hardly slept that night, feeling too uncomfortable. When I woke up I felt really sick and in pain. The pregnancy had been painful in general, so I sent my worried hubby off to work and cuddled up on the couch to rest. I started feeling worse, but I told myself that I probably had a stomach bug or something. Then I started feeling that I couldn’t keep still or I would be sick. The moment I knew something was really wrong was when I almost passed out from the pain. My hubby picked me up and we drove to the hospital.
Little did I know, I was in labor. As they pumped me with medications to stop it, I kept dilating. They couldn’t figure out why I was in labor or why the drugs weren’t working. Then my water broke. Suddenly my white blood cell count was skyrocketing. Not only was I in labor, but I had some sort of infection. When there was no more use trying to stop the inevitable, I delivered our son. He was four weeks too premature to even have a chance at survival. They wrapped him in a blanket and I held our tiny boy tightly. It was the worst day of my life.
What followed was difficult too. Because we had told so many people that we were pregnant, we had to now tell them that we weren’t. When I was released from the hospital, we had to make calls, send emails, and even make a Facebook announcement about what happened. While I wanted to crawl into a hole and scream, I instead had to rehash the story over and over. Some people misread the posted Facebook note and sent their congratulations. Everyone was supportive, but it was too public for such a personal moment. It was awful, awful, awful.
For our next two pregnancies, we were tight-lipped until that 20-week ultrasound. We knew what could happen. And that’s why whenever I see those announcements before even the 12-week mark I shudder just a bit.
Of course, most couples remain blissfully ignorant of the dark possibilities as their pregnancies and births go by without a hitch. But for those who know the other side, we wait.