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You see two lines. You have a bun (or two) in the oven…now what? If you are popular Australian blogger Sophie Cachia, aka The Young Mummy, you now tell everyone — as in, everyone, the whole internet — even if you are just nine weeks into your pregnancy.
Unusual? Yes. Pregnant women are often advised to wait until they pass the 12-week mark, when the risk of miscarriage drops sharply, to announce their pregnancies to the world. But Cachia and moms like her are challenging that conventional wisdom.
In her post for Australian website Mamamia, Cachia wrote, “Am I apparently in the clear and past the sacred 12-week mark? No.” She then went on to explain that although “societal norms prevent us from freely announcing pregnancy until after the 12-week mark,” she felt it was important to her to share the news early.
“Can’t we as women have control over our bodies and thus make our own decisions?” she wrote. "One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage… I think it’s a huge problem that society makes some women feel like they have to keep their pregnancies and their miscarriages hidden away.”
Cachia’s announcement created a small firestorm among her readers, some of whom thought she was announcing her pregnancy too early. But Cachia, who is 25 and also has a 2-year-old son, told TODAY Parents that she doesn’t have much choice but to tell people early. “With my son, I didn’t officially announce it until the 12 weeks, but the majority of people around us — friends and family — knew at about eight weeks because I just show so early so it was impossible to hide,” she said. “I was also horrifically sick, which doesn’t make it easy when you’ve got to work or see friends.”
Many couples do choose to announce a pregnancy before the traditional 12-week mark, for a variety of reasons. “I told at about four weeks with all three of my children,” Lynn Christopher of Longwood, Florida, told TODAY Parents. “I couldn’t keep it in.”
“Both of my babies were IVF, so my family and close friends know we were going through it,” said Jennifer Wharton of Los Angeles, California.
Susanne Kerns of Austin, Texas, told TODAY Parents she announced her pregnancy early because she had already suffered through multiple chemical pregnancies.“I got to the point where I needed the support, not to mention the childcare for my daughter while I went in for a zillion ultrasounds," she said. Carson Sanderson, a mother of four in Seattle, Washington, had a similar reason: “It was really hard telling people after a miscarriage because they just couldn't really support you the same way as if they'd shared in your joy first,” she said.
But other women say they announced early and regretted it. Central Washington mom Jessica Cobb said that she shared before 12 weeks, “which really sucked when sharing super early also meant sharing about our losses a few weeks after.” Brett Ross, a mother of six in Seattle, Washington, told TODAY Parents she announced her first two pregnancies before 12 weeks. “I was naive about miscarriages,” she said. “So when I miscarried my second at 12 weeks, it was uncomfortable to tell people I lost the baby. Learned to keep it in,” she said.
Yahoo! senior news writer Lisa Belkin, a mother of two grown sons, feels differently about her experiences. With her first pregnancy, she waited to tell everyone. “Second time, I realized that some of my stress and exhaustion was coming from the effort needed to pretend I wasn’t exhausted, so I went ahead and told pretty much anyone,” she told TODAY Parents. “Also, I figured that a miscarriage is not a secret; it's a fact of my life that I would also want people to know should I go through it.”
But still, Belkin said, “There is a big difference between telling the world you are about to shift identities from non-parent to parent and telling them that you about to become a parent again. So I would still keep it to myself the first time out because it is somehow more private and personal.”
The decision to share the news of a pregnancy is in fact, “incredibly personal,” said TODAY Tastemaker and pediatrician Dr. Deborah Gilboa. “About half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage — many before the woman even misses her first menstrual period — and 80 percent of those happen in the first trimester, so many women decide not to tell their larger circles until after that riskier time ends.”
But nothing about announcing a pregnancy is “dangerous,” Gilboa stressed. “I recommend that parents only tell those people about the pregnancy in the first trimester that they'd be comfortable talking to if the pregnancy is lost. That means if you don't mind announcing a miscarriage on Facebook, it's completely fine to tell the social media world about your brand new conception,” she said.
“Young Mummy” blogger Cachia agrees. “I didn’t make the decision to tell the world I’m pregnant out of stupidity,” she wrote in her blog for Mamamia. “I have had a child before. I am well aware of the risks, and I know it’s simply not the norm (to announce a pregnancy to the world before 12 weeks). But who gets to decide the norm for me?”