As you might have gathered from my last blog post, I HATED having to hide the fact that I was pregnant for the entire first trimester. HATED IT. While I didn’t feel ready to announce it to everyone (for various reasons), I also hated having to hide things. Because I am not a ‘hider’. I am a sharer. Big on openness and honesty. At least that’s when my soul is the happiest.
It got difficult when I started to show. Even though I’m sure I just looked like I had a severe case of the muffin top (probably kind of still do), I felt incredibly self conscious and would take ages trying to figure out how to disguise my emerging bump. Big scarves. Hoodies that have great front pockets you can put your hands in on cold days. A big puffer jacket. At one point, I literally wore a big camouflage button up shirt which is pretty hilarious now that I think about it.
I was working through a lot of things.
I felt confused. I had survivor’s guilt. Something I did not really see coming. I had bonded with a bunch of amazing women in a private Facebook support group. Women who had been in similar situations to myself – desperate to grow their families but struggling. We had been able to vent to each other and feel safe with each other – no fear of being misunderstood or judged. You felt less alone in there.
I realised that by being pregnant, I was possibly no longer a sufferer of secondary infertility and while it’s something to feel absolutely stoked about, it brought me sadness that now I was set apart from these amazing, tough women. That they couldn’t feel the joy I was feeling. Not yet.
It really gave me an identity crisis, truth be known. Now I’m just another happy pregnant woman and it takes a bit of getting used to! I could still strongly identify with those who would feel sad seeing my bump. Hearing my news. I felt like I would walk around forever feeling guilty that I might be unknowingly hurting someone’s feelings. Because I knew how it felt.
In the end, I realised that I couldn’t hide any longer. That I should celebrate. That I need to for the sake of my mental health. That I never begrudged anyone who was pregnant while I was struggling. I just kept to myself because it was my issue, not theirs. I had to assume that someone who was suffering would probably feel/do the same. If the time came to make a happy announcement, I would not be afraid to document my pregnancy and to share the great news. I would understand if anyone needed to unfollow me or mute anything on the topic, but I couldn’t deny myself my own joy. What would be the point in waiting so long for this moment if I sabotaged it for myself? That would serve nobody. I was so grateful. AM so grateful. To act ungrateful out of some weird guilt would be stupid.
We had planned on not telling anyone until after my 12 week screening. We then wanted to tell the Little Mister, followed closely by our families. We wanted him to be the first to know.
Of course, things don’t always go to plan. When I had my bleeding/spotting scares, I had to call my mum to help me take care of the Little Mister so I could have extra tests. She was able to guess but her and my dad were awesome and not only kept it to themselves, but held back from congratulating us because they knew how I felt. I didn’t want that moment just yet – especially when I was so worried. Not long after that, we let our siblings and my parents in law know because fair’s fair. Everyone was instructed to not let on to the Little Mister. Once he knew, the whole world would!
When the day of my 12 week ultrasound arrived, I was a big ball of nerves. I knew that with that would come the news about whether we were at high risk of having a child with Down Syndrome or other abnormalities. I was so stressed about it. Even though the odds should have been low for us, I was still feeling panicky. Partly because of hormones making me anxious and partly because we’d just come from a fertility clinic where a lot of the patients are older and considered higher risk – it had been drummed into me somehow. Not to mention I was still trying to get past the whole “we can’t ever be that lucky” mentality.
The scan went well. The sonographer was lovely. We saw the baby moving a lot (A LOT!) and all the measurements looked good. It was fantastic to share that with Mr Unprepared who had been unable to see some of my more recent scans in person.
Afterwards, I was still a bit wound up and tense. I wanted my phone call. The phone call where the sonographer makes calculations based on the scan results and the blood test results and tells you if everything’s fine.
We were waiting in the school car park to pick the Little Mister up from school when the call came. It was amazing when she told us everything was looking fantastic. I could physically feel a weight lift off my shoulders. It was amazing. I finally felt actual, unrestrained joy.
When we got home, we told the Little Mister by presenting him with a T-shirt that said “Big Brother” in trendy font (as you do these days haha). He took an agonisingly long time to open his gift but his reaction when he realised what it all meant (with a little help sounding out the words) was so priceless. He was overjoyed. He had wanted a sibling for so, so long. He had even invented an imaginary brother and sister for at least the previous year (much to my horror and guilt)!
After that, we told our closest friends via message. It might have been nice to be able to do it in person, but we felt like we had waited so long and we couldn’t possibly cover enough ground. You have to understand my level of desperation at being able to live out of the shadows for the first time in a very very long time. I just wanted the news out there. Not just to be able to share the joy with so many amazing people who had supported us through the tough times and cheered us on, but to be able to live my life without being frustrated, secretive, paranoid or anxious. Finally.
Then came the public announcement…
Not the most artistic thing you’ve ever seen – I couldn’t get the colours right haha. But it made the right impact! Making social media announcements isn’t for everyone, but for us it worked. It got the message out there to as many people as possible. I knew now that I could live my life out in the open and it was a really important step in the healing/moving forward process for me. There was no going back. I had to make that clear to myself. This was real. Now everyone knew. Best get used to it and have some damn fun!
All of the overjoyed comments, the people who had goosebumps, sweaty eye balls and who had confessed to dancing in their kitchens at our news made us feel so amazingly loved and supported. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.