Kat has recently had the pleasure of letting all of her friends and family know that she and her partner are expecting a baby.
The excitement and elation of this proud moment was not taken for granted as Kat is fully aware of how fragile and precious a brand new human life is. Her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and both her and her husband found the experience devastating.
Miscarriage- an experience that’s hard to forget
Miscarriage refers to any pregnancy which is lost in the first 20 weeks. It’s surprisingly common- doctors estimate that 10-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. However the majority of women (50- 75%) experience miscarriage so early in the pregnancy that they are unaware of it. The bleeding occurs around the time the next menstrual period is due, so it just seems like a normal menstrual period.
However Kat was amongst the other 25-50% of women who realise they’re carrying a baby first and then go on to lose the pregnancy.
“When I fell pregnant the first time my partner and I were absolutely over-the-moon,” said Kat.
“We had been trying for quite a few months so we didn’t want to jinx it by telling too many people before we knew it was definitely safe to do so.
“But cruelly, that didn’t work for us and we had the most unfortunate experience of being told that our first pregnancy didn’t make it.”
Kat said she was absolutely devastated when she found out her baby had not made it. But she also felt some relief that the only people who knew she was pregnant were her parents, siblings and in-laws.
“Of course my partner and I were completely gutted,” said Kat.
“After nearly a year of trying to get pregnant, to have a miscarriage was just heart wrenching.
“The thought that we might not ever have a baby had definitely crossed our minds.”
Kat’s resilience to keep news of her first pregnancy in-house provided her with unexpected comfort at a time of great despair.
“I can remember quite clearly, after finding out about the miscarriage, feeling a sense of relief that we didn’t have to go around explaining to people what had happened.
“The thought of going through that is beyond daunting so I was glad that only our close family knew about the pregnancy and we just kept it to ourselves. They were really supportive and comforting during this time.
“I have since told some of my friends that I had a miscarriage but it was after I had dealt with it and grieved in my own time. They were of course really supportive as well but I’m still glad I didn’t have to tell them straight away.”
Moving ahead nearly eight months after the miscarriage, Kat has a sneaking suspicion that she and her husband may have once again created a new life.
“Our reaction to the positive pregnancy test was a little more subdued this time around,” said Kat.
“We were itching to celebrate but at the same time we were more than cautious after what happened last time.
“It was a really strange feeling for me because there was a mixture of sadness from the memory of last time and fear of it happening again, combined with the sheer delight and optimism that everything was going to be great this time.
“I think my partner was pretty much going through the same crazy emotional journey but he always managed to keep himself together.
“There were definitely some moments of doubt and fear in those early weeks which I think is probably normal for anyone who has been through a miscarriage before.”
When to announce pregnancy after miscarriage
“It was during these early weeks of the second pregnancy that my husband and I spoke about who we were going to tell and when we would tell them. This was helpful for both of us as it gave us a sense of control over a situation that was otherwise out of our control.
“We told our parents again, as most people who have been pregnant know it is almost impossible to keep it entirely to yourself and our parents are always super supportive.”
But miscarriage is obviously an emotional experience and losing one pregnancy, makes miscarriage more likely the next time a woman is pregnant. While the average woman has a 15% chance of miscarriage, women like Kat who have already lost a pregnancy have a 25% chance of miscarriage. It usually happens before the beginning of the second trimester (12 weeks pregnant).
So women often choose not to break the news of pregnancy until they’re through the first trimester ‘danger period’. That’s exactly what Kat and her husband did. Erring on the side of caution they decided to wait until they were 100% sure they were out of the danger zone before telling the rest of their family and friends.
“Being 28 I am still fairly young and I have always kept pretty fit and try to eat well which my doctor says are all good qualities for someone who is looking to get pregnant. On top of that my doctor never found anything medically ‘wrong’ with me that could have caused the miscarriage.
“With all that in mind my husband and I decided to wait a little longer than the usual 12 weeks before we started telling people about the baby.
“We figured that extra bit of caution was justified given our history.
“So I was close to 15 weeks when I started telling my friends and work colleagues.
“By this stage in the pregnancy I was feeling pretty confident and the fear of another miscarriage was pretty much non-existent.
Keeping baby under wraps
Kat said that hiding the pregnancy wasn’t the hard part it was maintaining the will power to keep her lips sealed.
“Even at 14 weeks my belly was still pretty flat. I only had a bit of morning sickness- nothing like some of the stories I’ve heard from friends.
“A few friends and workmates said they already had their suspicions and were just waiting for me to break the big news.
“That was probably because they noticed things like me not drinking at sun-downers or going to appointments during the day when I didn’t seem sick rather than noticing any physical signs.”
For Kat and her husband spreading the news of their new baby was a really exciting time. But it meant just that little bit more considering what they had been through to get to that point.
“All the joy and excitement also reinforced the decision we made not to tell people too soon both the first time around and this time.”
“I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I let my close friends in on what was going on but I never feel like I missed out on too much.
“I know what it’s like when you think you’re only telling a couple of friends. Somehow these things have a way of getting around.
“I have heard about a pregnancy from a girlfriend who was supposed to keep it to herself.
“My mum and mother-in-law, sister and sister-in-law were all really supportive and gave me everything I needed emotionally so I can’t really ask for too much more.
“If we decide to have another baby in the future I think I will definitely consider letting a couple of close friends know. I think my husband would like to be able to tell his mates a bit sooner rather than keeping it all secret.”
The road to baby bliss was, to say least, slightly bumpy for Kat and her husband but despite the heartache and disappointment Kat said they are glad they persisted and even more glad they stuck to their guns when it came to letting people know about their baby.
“My advice to any future parents is discuss between yourselves or with family about when and how you want to break the news,” said Kat.
“There are a lot of things you can’t control when you are pregnant but this is one thing you can and if the unthinkable were to happen as it did to my husband and I at least you will be in complete control of who knows those very personal events.”
American Pregnancy Association. Miscarriage. 2011. (cited 28 March 2013). Available from URL Link