‘i hid my Preg­nancy’

Meet the women who were scared to go pub­lic with their bumps. They tell us why...

Look (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Dis­cov­er­ing you’re hav­ing a baby with your part­ner is up there with the top mile­stones in life, so it should be one of the most amaz­ing, feel­good an­nounce­ments to make. But for some women, it’s one they feel they need to keep to them­selves.

It’s some­thing that the celeb world has brought to our at­ten­tion. Blake Lively kept her first preg­nancy se­cret for four months, while Eva Men­des re­port­edly only told close friends and fam­ily when she was eight months gone. Then there are those Ch­eryl ‘preg­nancy’ ru­mours, where she’s ap­par­ently ac­cepted con­grat­u­la­tions from fans but re­fuses to com­ment her­self. But if you don’t have pa­parazzi fol­low­ing you around, why would you hide your en­tire term?

For Heidi, it was her pre­vi­ous mis­car­riage that weighed heav­ily on her mind when she fell preg­nant again in 2010. ‘I had a lot go­ing on in my life,’ the 31-year-old tells Look. ‘I had a very suc­cess­ful ca­reer, we’d spent less than a year in our new home and I was busy with my five other young chil­dren, all aged un­der nine.’

‘I didn’t feel well from the start and I was wor­ried af­ter hav­ing a mis­car­riage the pre­vi­ous year. I felt like my part­ner Andy was the only one who knew what I was go­ing through, so I de­cided to keep it a se­cret.’ At seven weeks, Heidi was rushed to the Early Preg­nancy As­sess­ment Unit, suf­fer­ing from bleed­ing and stom­ach cramps. Doc­tors in­formed her that she’d been ex­pect­ing twins, but sadly only one foe­tus had sur­vived. ‘I can­not de­scribe how scared I was,’ she tells us. ‘It only re­in­forced my de­ci­sion to keep it quiet. I wore lots of make-up to hide how pale I was due to morn­ing sick­ness. I wore a large win­ter coat to cover the bump, but it was hard to not tell peo­ple I know re­ally well. All I could think was that it was eas­ier than telling peo­ple I’m preg­nant only to have to tell them I’m not soon af­ter.’ Af­ter an eight-month scan, Heidi fi­nally felt ready to re­veal all. ‘Most of my fam­ily were un­der­stand­ing of my de­ci­sion. My mother-in-law was upset that she hadn’t been able to sup­port me through my mis­car­riage fears, but I’m glad we didn’t have to put her through it.’ Heidi’s not alone. De­spite mil­len­ni­als be­ing used to chang­ing tra­di­tions, when it comes to preg­nancy many still wait un­til they’re past the three-month stage be­fore an­nounc­ing their news to the world. The most com­mon rea­son for this is that mis­car­riage poses a threat

to one in five women.

Work is a an­other rea­son why women keep quiet about their im­pend­ing moth­er­hood. For Kate, 31, her ca­reer was the driv­ing force be­hind her de­ci­sion to hide her third preg­nancy from the world. ‘There are 14 months be­tween my sec­ond and third child and I was wor­ried what peo­ple would say about hav­ing one straight af­ter the other,’ she re­veals. ‘I hadn’t been back [at work] long so I didn’t tell them un­til I started to show. I was wor­ried about how they would re­act.

‘I kept it quiet for as long as I could, but when my bump started to show at around five months I had to tell peo­ple. I felt bet­ter telling peo­ple and no one said any­thing neg­a­tive about it. I don’t re­gret keep­ing it a se­cret while I fig­ured out what I wanted to do.’

FYI, the gov­ern­ment says you must tell your em­ployer 15 weeks be­fore the be­gin­ning of the week when your baby is due, es­pe­cially if you want paid time off for an­te­na­tal ap­point­ments.

‘More peo­ple to­day are hold­ing off telling any­one un­til later on in their preg­nancy, par­tic­u­larly those who’ve strug­gled to con­ceive,’ says Dr Venkat at Har­ley Street Fer­til­ity Clinic. ‘An­nounc­ing the news later can cer­tainly help to curb stress and pres­sure from friends and fam­ily. How­ever, it’s also nice to share the good news and get sup­port. I just rec­om­mend that you and your part­ner are on the same page.’

Ex­actly. And maybe re­mem­ber that next time you think you see a baby bump, don’t shout ‘When’s it due?’

My moth­erin-law was upset she hadn’t been able to sup­port me

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