“Announce your pregnancy after 12 weeks.”
Have you ever reflected on what the 12 week rule actually means for women?
As the first 12 weeks are a riskier time for pregnancy loss, this rule means don’t tell anyone you’re pregnant in case the pregnancy doesn’t continue. Which means, don’t tell anyone if you experience pregnancy loss. Keep your grief to yourself.
This is so brutal. Imagine your baby, hopes, and dreams all being crushed in an instant, swimming through your grief, and having to keep it all private? When you’re grieving is when you need the most support.
And if you dare to share to your grief with someone, if you’ve followed (and then broken) the 12 week rule, then you’re in the position of announcing both a pregnancy AND a miscarriage, all at the same time.
I’ll never forget reading a research study where women who had experienced early pregnancy loss wished they had not kept their miscarriage hidden. Sharing opens the door to social support- which is what everyone needs when they’re grieving. Because you haven’t just lost your baby: It’s also your imagined future as a family. Everything changes in an instant.
And yes, some people can respond poorly when you share your grief. (Don’t even get me started on some of the unhelpful things people can say.) Often, unhelpful responses are because people don’t know what to say. However, women don’t risk sharing their grief to hear the ‘right response’ and have their pain fixed; they share for emotional connection. To have someone recognise their pain or loss. And sometimes all this takes is, ‘I’m so sorry to hear that. How are you doing?’
The 12 week rule has a hidden message: Don’t share.
Unhelpful responses from others have a hidden message: Don’t share.
The taboo of pregnancy loss just leaves women isolated and alone in their pain.
And some public figures have dared to lead the way for a lot of women. Think Chrissy Teigen and Meghan Markle.
Sharing with the right people creates support and connection. But, it takes a risk to find the right people.
Sometimes you want to take this risk, and sometimes you won’t.
It can be easier to share if you’ve already smashed through the 12 week rule with trusted people (if this is what you decide is right for you). And hopefully, you get the support you need through your very valid grief.