I wrote this post one year ago, shortly after finding out I was pregnant, for my old blog.
Last week, I “came out as pregnant” on Facebook (when you’re queer, every big tell feels like “coming out” after awhile). Since then, the most common question I’ve received is “how far along are you?” It’s a question that makes sense! Some people have seemed surprised at how early I’m sharing information abou my pregnancy, and a few even seem concerned. I can only assume that those who are concerned are assuming I hadn’t thought through my decision to share at this time, and are wondering if I’ll regret it.
In case you aren’t aware, there is a bit of a tradition of waiting until around the end of the first trimester to “go public” with a pregnancy. The main reason cited for this is miscarriage – the odds of miscarriage are higher in the first trimester than they are later on, and many people feel that they wouldn’t want to announce a pregnancy to later have to “unannounce” it, or else they think if they do miscarry, they’d rather greive privately with only their partner(/s) or immediate family for support.
While I definitely support other parents’ decisions, my wife and I found that we felt differently. One of the best things about planned pregnancies (and the majority of queer pregnancies are planned) is that you have ample time to talk about, read about, and think about, various issues BEFORE you need to make a decision. My wife and I started talking about the “when do we tell” issue long before we were even trying to get pregnant, so our decision to share early definitely was not a spontaneous one. Here are a few of the reasons you are learning about this now, rather than later.
1. I can’t keep a secret, and I don’t want to.
I’m a sharer, sometimes even an over-sharer. For some people, keeping certain matters private makes them feel more secure. For me, I feel safest when I am being open and honest about as much as possible. It’s just the way I’m wired. I want to talk about my experiences, feelings, thoughts, etcetera, in order to fully process what is happening in my life. Pregnancy is a huge thing to happen to me, keepin it under wraps for THREE MONTHS felt contrary to my nature in basically every way.
2. Avoiding the guessing game.
Because my wife and I lead fairly open lives, a larger than average (I think, I don’t actually know what average is) number of people knew we were trying to get pregnant. That number was probably even higher because being a couple comprised of two women meant there was literally more to talk about – and more opportunities to divulge.
Because no one in our relationship has sperm, we had to decide how to get it, and what we wanted our of a sperm donor, and how and where we wanted to inseminate. For a long time, these conversations and decisions WERE the big thing going on in our lives, and it was helpful to talk to friends, family, and community members about it.
Because so many folks I. Our immediate community knew about our plans, hiding the pregnancy felt sort of silly. I knew that at least some people would be watching me for signs of early pregnancy and asking questions like “how are you doing?” with a little more earnestness than usual… So rather than be the object of speculation, we just decided to be open.
3. The very reason so many families decide to wait to share.
A shocking amount of pregnancies (one in three or one in four, depending on whose numbers you go with) end in miscarriage. It’s even more if you consider all of the women who miscarry before they miss their period and confirm that they are pregnant. The vast majority of women with children have had at least one miscarriage in their life. Most miscarriages are unavoidable and unpreventable.
And yet, many people report feeling isolated, ashamed, and even guilty, after a miscarriage. Why? I think a least part of the reason is that we are suffering in silence when we could be sharing the load, and receiving information and reassurance from others.
For myself, I knew that I would want community support if that happened to me. And it would be harder to reach out and get the support I needed if nobody knew I was pregnant.
4. Actually, I already had one miscarriage, and I don’t want to go through that without community support AGAIN.
After our first insemination, I experienced many early pregnancy symptoms, and after awhile I knew that I was certainly pregnant. That pregnancy ended before it was able to be confirmed by a test.
I’m still processing how to talk about what happened to me… I’ve written about it but I’m not sure how to share, because it was so early, and since the pregnancy had not been confirmed, even when I chose to talk with friends about it, it was difficult to know quite what to tell them.
It was lonesome. The experience just confirmed what I already felt: that when I did have a confirmed pregnancy, I wanted to share – and therefore reach out for support – immediately.
5. This is about my comfort level, not yours.
Many people worry that talking about a miscarriage will make others uncomfortable or be difficult for them to handle. Some people feel that it is more respectful of their friends/family to not “get their hopes up before the pregnancy looks like a sure thing.
I don’t agree. I think people can handle it. And if they do have trouble handling it, I don’t think it is my responsibility, as a pregnant woman, to protect them from their own feelings on the issue. We don’t ask people going through cancer, or grief due to the loss of a loved one, OR SO MANY OTHER THINGS, to keep quiet about it, even though those those things may sometimes be difficult to hear about. Ultimately, my family had to make the decision that made the most sense for US.
6. Early pregnancy is HARD.
I’m less that five weeks pregnant. Already I am exhausted, I’m nauseous a lot of the time, and I’m having frequent/constant heartburn. I literally do not understand how I could expect myself to pretend that everything is normal while my body is going through the largest upheaval I have ever experienced. Plus, I may sometimes need help doing things that I previously took pride in doing myself. It is so much easier to navigate all of that while being honest.
7. We’re excited. We’re so excited. We’re not going to try or pretend to be less excited. Why should we?