When I first realized I might be having a baby early next year, I immediately began to hope the cold weather would arrive in time for me to hide a bulge under sweaters and sweatshirts. My plan was to maybe admit it around Christmas or just show up with a baby. But Aaron was going crazy not telling people. And then I was starting to go crazy with Aaron going crazy. So my plan was foiled and the secret is obviously out.
Since “going public” a few folks have asked me why I wait a while to let people know when I’m expecting. I like these people, they are my friends who help me know what everybody is thinking. And I do know that I am probably a tad crazy when it comes to keeping things quiet.
Parenthood is one of those divergent experiences that even if you are doing exactly the same thing as someone else, say having a baby, what’s best for you and someone else can be completely different. I respect that. But I think it’s a lot more understood why people want to let everyone know asap. So I thought I would put out an explanation on the pleasures of waiting a bit.
The Bliss of Denial
If you wait to tell everyone, you don’t have to think about being pregnant as much. When people talk to me about being pregnant, it reminds me that I’m pregnant. If nobody knows I’m pregnant, nobody talks to me about it and I can forget about it for days. I’m so good at denial that even when I’m puking all day long I blame the leftovers I ate for lunch or my typically weak stomach. Pretending I’m not sick, helps me act less sick, which helps me get more done, which makes me happy. Weird and dishonest, yes, but effective for me.
Less Wait in the Long Run
When people talk to you about being pregnant they usually ask how far along you are. This reminds you just how pregnant you are or discouragingly how far you still have to go. When you have to remember every day that you have 280 days to go, 279 days to go, 278 days to go it’s like rolling a string of ones on a board game. Forgetting about it is like getting double sixes, when you do check you jump way ahead and can feel accomplished. Waiting a while to tell people, helps the time pass a lot faster.
Pregnancy Puts You in the Limelight
Speaking of watching, I don’t like being watched. I don’t like people looking at me or talking to me or touching me. I am at heart a very happy wallflower, a would be hermit. Ironic I know, since I have a blog. Being pregnant is like walking around with a dog. It gives everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, an easy way to talk to you. You hear the same jokes and they get old so why not put them off for a bit? When you get really big, it can feel like a never ending freak show with all the staring.
When a baby is actually born, the experience is pretty life consuming. All those personal interests are eclipsed by the immediate demands of a very needy new baby. It’s an incredible experience to have a small being hovering on the edge of life and completely dependent on your actions for survival. Some of my deepest feelings of love have come in the early days and weeks of my children’s lives, what I think of as “the bonding days.” But that doesn’t make me stop enjoying all the other stuff I usually like to think about, talk about, and do. When I’m pregnant I don’t always want to talk and think about being pregnant. It’s like being on a very long international flight. It’s a miraculous experience and the view is spectacular, but you still want to bring along some reading material.
The Real Reason
Everything I wrote above are the side perks. The Real Reason I wait to tell people is habit. Before we had R, I had been pregnant a few times. I’m actually very good at getting pregnant. I’m not so good at staying pregnant. After being pregnant three or four times, and not staying pregnant I became very accustomed to not thinking about it too much.
In my experience it was much harder to loose “a baby” who would be born such and such a month and maybe have blue eyes but maybe green and wouldn’t it be nice if it was a girl, but a boy could be fun etc. etc. than being maybe pregnant and then not pregnant.
A few years ago, I was hanging out with some friends and the topic of “when to tell” came up. A friend had tried to wait for the third month mark but given up at 2 and a half. She said she felt like if she did miscarry, she’d rather have people know and be there to support her rather than suffering alone. I had recently miscarried, again, after a period of time when most people would have told. But I had to nod in agreement. I completely agree that for a lot of people having a network of supportive friends and relations at your side would be a great comfort.
But for some people, some things hurt so much you don’t want to think about them. And you don’t want people reminding you how much you hurt, even if you love them and they are wonderful. Again, I realize this is probably not as healthy or whatever. The great god of modern psychology is probably tsk, tsking me but I’m okay with that.
So why wait? Waiting makes it easier and safer to hope.