It's a common custom in the United States to wait until a pregnancy is 12 weeks along before publicly announcing it. The reasoning behind this is because people want to wait until they're past the largest risk for miscarriage before they tell everyone that they're having a baby.
But I decided to say "fuck that" and talk about pregnancy before I even conceived. I was open on social media about the fact that my husband and I were trying to conceive.
You never see anyone openly talk about that, do you? So I decided I was going to. Because it took us several months, and I wanted to document that.
For many people, it takes even longer than that.
But because you're not supposed to talk about the fact that you're trying to conceive -- because what if you can't? -- it ends up feeling really lonely and isolating for people who find it taking six, nine, 12, 18 months.
When no one talks about the fact that they're having trouble conceiving, it's easy to feel like you're the only one who is.
So I talked about it. And then when I did conceive, I talked about that, too. The American Pregnancy Association estimates that 10-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, with the majority of miscarriages occurring in the first trimester of pregnancy.
What this means is that miscarriage is an incredibly common reproductive experience. But because it's so rarely talked about because no one wants to announce their pregnancy in case of a miscarriage, it can feel very lonely and isolating for people who do have one.
I've never had a miscarriage, but I do know that if I have one, I want the support of my networks to get me through it.
For me, that network is online. I want my network to know what I'm going through, how I'm feeling, how I'm doing.
But they can't know if I don't share it.
I want to demystify the first trimester of pregnancy. When people wait until the second trimester to start talking about being pregnant, it makes the first trimester an enigma. It makes it seem like the first trimester is a time when everything is normal, just like it would be if you weren't gestating a baby (since you're not showing yet).
But the first trimester is not normal.
The first trimester is hell.
The first trimester is vomiting in trash cans, falling asleep sitting up, sore breasts, perpetual nausea, hella strong food aversions, extreme mood swings, and crying because your partner ate your taco, all while not looking or feeling pregnant.
The first trimester is feeling like absolute crap, while having to go about your life like nothing is going on, just in case you tell someone you're pregnant and then lose the baby.
But I don't want to walk around like everything is fine when I feel like I'm going to pass out all the time. As a woman, I have to smile and nod all the fucking time, I'm expected to put on my big girl panties and deal with shit, and I can never let on how I'm feeling.
I'm supposed to make pregnancy look magical and miraculous, I'm supposed to carry a fetus with my toddler on my hip with poise and grace, because this is my biological destiny.
And you know, fuck that.
I want to end the culture of fear and paranoia that surrounds pregnancy. I want to make it OK to talk about our reproductive experiences for what they are.
I want people to know that yes, it's normal to miscarry (even though it is devastating and sucky), but that you didn't do anything wrong: up to 1 in 4 pregnancies end that way.
I want people to know that yes, the first trimester is really, really hard and you don't have to pretend nothing has changed when everything has changed.
Because this culture of silence isn't doing us any favors. It's just serving to further isolate us, to not trust our bodies, to disbelieve our realities, and to doubt our experiences.
So I'm going to share my reality, in the hope it helps someone else. And that means talking about my pregnancy before it's "OK" to.