Sam and I had always thought the “12 week rule” was stupid.
You know the one I mean.
The one where you can’t tell anyone you’re pregnant until after the first 12 weeks.
We talked about it well before we decided to try having kids ourselves. We could never really get our heads around why this rule even exists.
I did a quick google earlier today to see if I could get to the bottom of how this crazy rule came about, but there isn’t really a lot of info out there as to why society has decided to dictate this rule to us.
It seems there are a combination of things that have built up over time to make this more of a “societal expectation” than anything else, including:
1. Modern Medicine
Although ultrasound technology was invented somewhere around the 1950’s, ultrasounds didn’t really become the “norm” during pregnancy until about the 1970’s.
So, people often didn’t tell anyone about their pregnancies until they felt the baby move for the first time… that was, until first trimester scan’s became a “thing” and people got into the trend of holding off announcing their pregnancy until they had their first scan, at about 12 weeks along.
Unfortunately to about 1 in 4 people.
You know what that means? You probably won’t have one.
But even so, if you did have one… why should you keep a secret?
If you lost someone who was close to you… would you keep that a secret?
Of course you wouldn’t!
Having a miscarriage is no different. It’s a difficult and an emotional time. You’re upset, but you find the courage to tell your family and friends (as you do with any other loss you experience in your life) and they care and they comfort you and they call to check on how you were doing, and they understand when you’re not feeling up to going anywhere, doing anything or seeing anyone.
Just on that point, even if you do share your news at 12 weeks, it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly and miraculously exempt from experiencing a miscarriage… they can happen after 12 weeks too.
There is no shame in miscarriage and no-one should be made to feel that there is.
This is a really controversial one. It’s pretty common place to have tests these days to see if a developing foetus has any abnormalities.
And… I know people don’t like to talk about it, but in this situation couples will be faced with a choice as to whether or not to continue with the pregnancy, especially if they know there is a chance that their pregnancy may not go full term anyway.
I’m sure having to make the decision on whether to proceed or not would be a difficult one.
It’s an issue I’ve thought about a lot and I’m also conscious that it could be one that Sam and I might have to make at some stage… but it’s not one I’m going to think too hard about unless I really have to.
Again, it’s not an issue that should have a stigma attached to it. No-one causes their baby to have an abnormality, sometimes they just happen.
4. “It’s not safe”
I keep seeing this statement everywhere, and I struggle to understand what it means.
“It’s not safe to announce your pregnancy until after 12 weeks”.
Not safe for whom exactly??
I didn’t realise there was a little imaginary bomb that went off inside your uterus the second you told someone you’re pregnant before the 12 week mark.
Personally, I think this is the biggest reason why people choose not to announce their pregnancy, and the crux of all the other point’s I’ve raised above.
I think people are more concerned about the judgement of others than anything else.
The judgement you may receive from others seems to be varied and widespread…
You’re too young, too old, already got 4 kids, you didn’t plan it… and the list goes on
You may even be concerned about the judgement you could receive from having a miscarriage, which is ridiculous and outdated given that it’s almost impossible to MAKE yourself have a miscarriage (and just for the record, miscarriages aren’t caused by things like stress, heavy lifting, or anything the pregnant lady does or doesn’t do, despite common misconceptions!).
And last but not least… the judgement for telling anyone you were pregnant before the feared 12 weeks in the first place.
Remember, in this current day and age, it’s always OK for people to ask when you’re having kids, why you haven’t had them yet, or speculate on whether you might in the early stages of pregnancy, but it’s never OK to announce your pregnancy “early”.
Which is pretty much why we decided to boycott the 12 week rule.
People will ask anyway, we don’t see the sense in keeping it a secret, it’s hard to keep the secret (especially when you’re exhausted, constantly feeling sick and everyone’s giving you a special kind of look when you turn down a glass of wine) and from our experience with our past 2 miscarriages, people go out of their way to be caring and compassionate if the worst happens (and a lot of people are willing to open up and share similar experiences if they know what you’re going through).
So, the main argument for waiting the 12 weeks, from what I understand is the old “well… we’ve always done it this way”.
Feeling the need to keep quiet about your pregnancy, I believe, achieves nothing other than to increase the shame and stigma associated with a loss if you are unfortunate enough to experience one.
The more I learn about it, the more I find the 12 week rule ridiculous, outdated and unnecessary.
I’m not saying that everyone should share their news before 12 weeks, I’m saying that there shouldn’t be a rule AGAINST sharing your news before 12 weeks.
Since it’s only society forcing us to feel as though we’re doing something wrong if we do choose to share, I say screw that and do what ever you feel comfortable doing.
As always… feel free to share your thoughts below 🙂