Before I was pregnant, I thought of myself as something of a “tough girl.” I sat through many piercing and tattoo appointments without a complaint, I would routinely go out for my daily run in pouring rain, and I didn’t even cry when (spoiler alert) Bambi’s mom died. But those first few months of pregnancy were marked by an intense feeling of vulnerability that was entirely foreign to me.
We had been trying to get pregnant for over a year, so when I finally saw that second pink line, it almost seemed too tenuous and fragile to believe. And really, I didn’t believe it. I continued to compulsively test every day just for the reassurance of seeing that line get darker. I panicked over every twinge, every symptom I had, and every symptom I didn’t have.
So when it came time to start telling people I was pregnant, I was anxious about the idea of telling the world when it still felt so unsure. I’ve seen a lot of debate about when and how to announce a pregnancy. Some sources are adamant about waiting until the first trimester is over and the risk of miscarriage drops off, or at least until you’ve seen baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound. Others say to announce as soon as you feel like it; miscarriage happens more than most people realize, and we can help remove the stigma by being more open about pregnancy loss.
I certainly agree with the importance of eliminating stigma about pregnancy loss, but I didn’t feel like I could share my news just yet. We told our close family and a few friends, and then held off until I was safely in the second trimester.
That decision was largely influenced by the role social media plays in my life. I knew that once I started to tell my friends, the chances were higher that the news would leak to casual acquaintances, and then on Facebook, and from there all the way to that couple I met at a bar on St. Patrick’s Day four years ago and haven’t spoken with since. While I would feel comfortable sharing the trauma of a miscarriage with my friends, I’m not so sure about the entirety of my friend’s list.
If I’m being completely honest, part of my hesitancy to share also came from a less-rational concern that I would jinx it if I talked about it too soon. And aside from that, if the news went out on Facebook before I was ready, I would have felt robbed of something most of us secretly crave when we share on social media: the sweet influx of comments and likes.
Now that I’m late in the third trimester, I’m feeling a little less vulnerable, and a little more like my “tough girl” self (despite a heightened susceptibility to crying if the cat chooses my husband’s lap over mine). So if anybody steals my Facebook thunder when baby is born, they’d better watch out.
Erin Bowling holds a master’s degree in Folklore, blogs casually and can bake a wicked batch of cookies.
The views expressed in this guest blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization.