I was in the salon, getting my braids done when two beautiful ladies walked in, all chatty and giggly. The salon was a bit busy, so they had to wait their turn, which wasn’t a problem for them, as they had lots to gist about. Now, I am usually a bubbly, cheerful person, but in the salon, I take on an alter ego of someone who is reserved and very quiet. A lot of gossip happens in the salon, sisters, and I like to pay attention, observe and learn. From the mirror in front of me, I saw one of the ladies show the other lady a picture from her phone, and said “Ijeoma, does not look pregnant oh. Is she not supposed to be five months gone by now?”, the other lady replied “Hmmmn, so you didn’t hear that she had a miscarriage?” The first lady let out a surprised scream, before asking “When? How did you know? What happened?” ”I think when she was eight weeks or nine weeks, can’t say exactly. It was Judith that told me, so I don’t know much of the details,” her friend replied. Amidst the other lady’ s sympathetic “Ehhyya, poor girl”, another lady who was getting a pedicure interjected, saying “So she told you guys she was pregnant, and didn’t tell anyone when she lost the baby”. I had to stop her right there, I could not help myself, so I muttered “Ma, having a miscarriage is not good news that people go around sharing. She is probably still grieving.”
The pedicure lady gave me a “how-dare-you-confront-me” look and said “Then maybe she should have kept the pregnancy news to herself in the first place.” Knowing a problematic busybody when I see one, I tried to ignore her, and focus on my business in the salon oh, but in my head, I had a lot to say. News of miscarriages always touch a raw nerve with me, and I really had a hard time holding my tongue. The most unbelievable part came when one of the ladies agreed with the woman getting the pedicure, and said “You are right, Ma. She told her friends pregnancy news too early. Maybe if she had waited for people to notice on their own, she would not have the embarrassment now. I am sure people would be asking a lot of questions already. She was excited nah! I don’t blame her please. How was she to know that she was going to lose the pregnancy?” The other lady said. The owner of the salon then added her own bit “That’s why I always hid my pregnancy until like seven months, because you never know who is happy for you. Maybe someone she told about the pregnancy wasn’t happy and did juju for her.” Tongue in check again, I quietly started playing candy crush on my phone. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my husband all the ridiculous things I heard that day.
My husband trivialized the matter when I attempting venting on him, with Women are their own worst enemies kind of statement. My opportunity to vent came some days later when my sister-in-law came visiting. After narrating what happened at the salon, adding my personal vex with the lady getting the pedicure, who was so insensitive, Nonye was like “Really though, she probably should have waited a bit before announcing her news. Truly, no-one knows who is looking out for your downfall.” This came as a surprise to me. When I found out I was pregnant, I told immediately oh! I was too happy to not tell my loved ones. My mother tried advising me to keep it hush until I was long gone, and I sort of did. I did not tell my classmates and people that were not in my circle. I also did not post anything about it on social media, or give a testimony just yet in church. Not because, I was scared of anyone trying something funny, or scared of having a miscarriage, I am just a private person like that. But some of my friends who were apparently more excited than I, told other people I was pregnant, and some with eagle eyes figured it out themselves from my first trimester blues.
I think it is quite a dilemma deciding when to share your joyful news, because when you are happy, the tendency is to want everyone to know. If you had quite a wait before getting the BFP, and if a lot of people knew what you went through, there is a tendency to want to tell them that the journey is over, and that a pregnancy journey has begun. The advantage of telling early on is that close friends and relatives get to share in your excitement. They can scream for joy, dance and sing with you and of course be at your beck and call when the cravings come. I was still in school in my first trimester, and God bless my friends that went to great lengths to get me roasted plantain, suya, chicken and chips, akara or butter whenever the cravings hit me. My roommate also understood when I begged her to spray her perfume in the toilet, and not in the room, because of my nausea. My friends also helped me with notes and assignments when I was too tired to show up in class. It can be really exhausting to make excuses for refusing a glass of champagne, explaining continuous fatigue and morning sickness. At the workplace, the sooner people know you are pregnant, the quicker they can understand your morning sickness and not assume that you are a lazy and incompetent.
Finally the way I saw it, even if I had miscarried that pregnancy, I sure was going to need the support. Experience had taught me that we could all do with some shoulders to lean on. I can be melancholic at times, and sobbing alone was sure to get me in a state of depression. My friends that been with me through my TTC journey were sure to hold me, and coo and cuddle me, if anything had gone wrong. Another reason I told early on, was that I did have supportive friends during my journey and I could imagine how disappointed they would have felt if they found out on their own that I was pregnant, or if I told them when I was long gone. I was happy that they felt privileged to share my pregnancy journey with me and our friendship grew thicker as a result. What is a relationship without trust? My two cents? If you do not trust that your friend is going to be genuinely happy for you, then you probably should be done with that friendship in the first place.
Most women do their Big Tell after the first trimester, and this is because the risk of miscarriage drastically drops between the tenth and twelfth weeks. There are black or white lines to this, and it’s very okay if you choose to wait longer before telling. It’s your body, your pregnancy, your journey; you should go through every phase at your own comfort, not feeling forced to make public what you would rather keep private. Women with previous losses are more likely to wait longer than women who are pregnant for the first time, and this is so understandable. Once bitten, twice shy, right? Another great reason some of us wait to share is because we want to limit the amount of unsolicited advice and tips we get. I however think the best approach is to tell different people at different times. The ones who matter can be informed early on, while the rest of your world can be informed much later. This cushions negative comments in event of a miscarriage, but still allows you share your excitement with those who matter.
Like almost all pregnancy matters; different approaches work best for different people. Discuss with your partner what option you both prefer and go with the flow. Your happiness is really what matters.
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here.