Carrie Bickmore “I was relieved I hadn’t told many people I was pregnant.”
Twelve weeks. The magic number at which society has decided it is appropriate to announce your pregnancy. It is not a number that someone just pulled out of a hat, it’s a number based partly p y on evidence and partly on social cial convention. But it’s a number that hat divides opinion.
There’s been een a real push lately for women to o announce their pregnancies earlier so there isn’t such a taboo around miscarriage.
Research shows up to one in five women who know they are pregnant will ll miscarry before 20 weeks, most ost in the first 12 weeks. They ey say the rate is probably higher gher than that too, because a lot t of women have early miscarriages rriages before they even know they hey are pregnant.
Watching g a doctor search for a heartbeat at or seeing that first drop of blood is nothing short of gut-wrenching. wrenching. But while miscarrying rrying seems to be an experience erience that is physically similar milar for many women, it’s emotionally different for all of us.
For some it happens during a pregnancy gnancy they’d been waiting years for, for others it’s a slight detour ur in the road of an otherwise wise successful child-rearing g journey. Then there are those for which it’s repetitive and devastating, with no reward at the end. I know women who rarely speak of their loss and others who will happily chat to the butcher about it. There is no formula or rulebook for grief. g I do believe we need to rem remove the stigma around miscarriage fo for the sake of both women and men, but I know both times I miscarried, I was w so relieved I hadn’t told man many people I was pregnant. I was str struggling to get my head around w what had happened and was not in i the mood to talk about it. I can’t imagine how I would have cop coped seeing the sad look in peopl people’s faces or answering all the q questions: “How’s bub coming a along?”; “Have you got a bum bump yet?” I needed time to adju adjust. My mind raced. Gu Guess I won’t need to turn the office into a baby’s room. room What if I never get pregnant pregn again? We can go on h holiday at the end of the y year now. I wonder if it’s s something that I ate? We s should be grateful we are already parents to a he healthy child. I really lik liked Harry as a name. Wh Why is her baby growin growing just fine? Why me? me Maybe it was stre stress… and the list goes on.
I can understand the push for early announcements. There’s a strange sense of comfort when you hear of another woman’s struggles, and of course there are many benefits of having wider support during those first months. The sickness and exhaustion can be debilitating and certainly led me to wish I had confided in more people. But there are other things to process in those early months. Is the baby healthy? How will the other kids feel? Will it impact on my work? What does it mean for us financially as a family? Sometimes you need time to process.
All women benefit from hearing other women’s stories of miscarriage. We need to share more, but in our own time. If you wanna sing it from the rooftop the moment you see that gorgeous little blue line, that’s OK. But there is nothing wrong with keeping your news close until you know things are likely to be OK. Carrie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm weeknights on Network Ten, and Carrie & Tommy, 3pm weekdays on the Hit Network.
“Both times I miscarried, I was relieved I hadn’t told many people I was pregnant”