Let's lift the first trimester 'telling taboo' - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

I think this may be the right place to get this off my mind (and it seems the right time for me, now that I am done with fretting over the 1st trimester symptoms): who ever came up with the idea that a pregnant woman shouldn't talk about her pregnancy until the end of the first trimester? I was struck by the pervasiveness and strength of this commonly held opinion: it made that I felt apologetic about telling anyone early (and I had to and wanted to, esp. at work, because of how I felt), because I was violating 'the rule'. My body felt continuously attacked by an alien, someone seemed to blow up some balloons inside me (two in my breasts and one in my belly), I couldn't sleep (from what seemed a physiological rather than psychological cause), and was picky about what to eat and laid off the alcohol. I am aware that it may go wrong, but even then I would have wanted to tell people (fortunately, with 13 weeks I am now out of the danger zone). I would like to advocate lifting the taboo! And changing the (understood) message in those early days from: there will be a child some 8 months from now, to: I am pregnant, my body is running havoc with me and this is stressful. Of course, I am not advocating people should shout it off the roof the first day of a missed period, and I am fully sympathetic to people who want to process the news in privacy for some months. All I would want is to be part of a society where you can mention this when you want to, without having to feel you're violating a code. I am wondering whether anyone feels/ felt the same surprise during the first trimester. And my apologies for the long post!

PS I noticed I ended up telling my parents and people that I have frequent contact with early. People that I see less often, or am primarily in e-mail contact with, I tended to tell later, so that I would not have to make a special effort to alert them if anything went wrong.
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#2 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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You know, with both of my kids, I told everyone who would listen right away. Then I had a m/c at 9 weeks and I really didn't enjoy having to tell everyone that news. I especially don't like being asked about my pregnancy after I m/c. So, with this pregnancy, I've only told people I'm really close to and no one else. I'm not waiting for the 1st tri to end, but to hear the HB. I'm sure they will be about the same time anyway though.

So, for me, it's just easier this way.

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#3 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 01:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am very sorry to hear about your m/c and I fully understand you want to be careful now. My point was that I didn't feel at liberty to talk about it (and I really didn't shout it off the roofs) - sometimes I even got the response 'oh, but it's only 8 weeks, so it doesn't really count yet / best not to count yourself lucky yet'. And for me, too, the heartbeat (via the u/s) was a milestone and changed how I talked about the pregnancy. Wishing you all the best with this pregnancy!
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#4 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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I hear what you're saying, but I have had quite a few close friends who did tell early and then had to share the m/c news. I guess for me, I just would want there to be less of a chance of having to do this, so I've waited to tell people. But it's all a personal choice

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#5 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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But I am talking about the receiving end. Totally fine, of course, if you don't want to talk about it yourself (personally, I do want to share both good and bad news with my closest friends), it's the societal taboo against being told I have an issue with! But maybe this is more an issue in Europe (where I am from and am living now) than the US (where I did live for quite some time) - I wouldn't be surprised about that.
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#6 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 01:57 AM
 
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I actually ended up "telling" when I was only 6 weeks with this little one, because we have an annual new year's eve party at our home with wine parings...and I was drinking sparkling cider. Didn't take a genius to figure out why I was dry on what is normally my one lush night of the year.

But then I had a M/C scare just a few days later that sent me to the ER. I was so upset about maybe losing the baby, but even more tramatized thinking how I would have to tell all my close friends about the M/C when I would rather keep it quiet. Thankfully, baby stuck in spite of all the bleeding/issues I was having and we are expecting next month. I think that I am normally a reserved, quiet, and rather introverted person, and I don't like sharing personal tragedy with people outside of my family.

I do think it is weird if people don't want to HEAR about you being pregnant. But I can totally understand why many women keep it quiet until the most m/c prone part of the pregnancy has passed.

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#7 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 02:03 AM
 
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We ended up telling right away with all three pregnancies. Just our personal preference/decision. I don't begrudge anyone waiting to tell, and I expect that no one begrudges me my exuberance in telling early.

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#8 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 02:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EllisH View Post
it's the societal taboo against being told I have an issue with!
I have never encountered this! If anyone made you feel badly about your early news, they are entirely missing the point. I'm almost not sure there even IS a societal taboo, but it might pertain more to location, as you said.

I would say the strongest way to combat a societal taboo such is that one is to not apologize. If you allow people to think that it is "wrong," they will continue to assume so. Haha, I was so grumpy in that first trimester if anyone would have even TRIED to make me feel bad about telling them I was pregnant, I would have immediately told them I didn't have time or energy for their outdated view.

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#9 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 02:06 AM
 
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PS - I don't think the OP is denying anyone's right to privacy, I think she is just remarking that there is perceived backlash should someone choose to be open about it.

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#10 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 02:10 AM
 
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#11 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 04:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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PS - I don't think the OP is denying anyone's right to privacy, I think she is just remarking that there is perceived backlash should someone choose to be open about it.
Exactly! My point is precisely about being able to be free to do what you want - tell or not tell. And I would also like to draw attention to the fact that there are multiple 'messages' to tell so early on, not just the rosy one.
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#12 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 06:16 AM
 
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I don't find that a problem exists, honestly. Early loss is very common, and any raised eyebrows over people immediately announcing pregnancy is nothing but a normal reaction to that.

I'm another that has had a first trimester miscarriage, very shortly after having announced the pregnancy. I wish I hadn't announced it.

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#13 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 08:11 AM
 
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I'm with you, Ellis. I'm only 5 weeks and I started telling people last week. Except I felt like I always had to say, "I now it's really early, but..."

I'll support anyone's right to privacy, but I don't know why so many people want to keep m/c a secret. That's why so many women who have a m/c feel so alone. They don't realize how common it is because so many women don't talk about it.

My 1st pg ended with a missed m/c at 8 1/2 weeks. I hadn't told anyone. I ended up missing a week of work and somehow everyone found out why. I did appreciate the support.

My next pg resulted in ds1 being stillborn at 38 weeks. "Waiting to tell" did no good. I still had a loss.

We were going to tell about ds2 as soon as a heartbeat was confirmed. Then a few days later I had lots of bleeding. We postponed a trip back home to visit my mom by a couple of days so I could get in and get another u/s. When we saw that he was okay, I happily announced the pg to family and friends.

We've ttc for 3 1/2 years. I want to celebrate EVERY SECOND of this pg. There are so many people who have been supporting us along the way that are THRILLED to hear the news. They are the same people who would support us through a loss.

I think people know me well enough to know that when I announce a pg I'm not saying, "I'm so excited that we're having a baby in March!!!" and helping me pick out a color for the nursery. When I announce a pg I'm saying, "On THIS day I have a beautiful new life growing inside me and I want to celebrate it with you." I have no idea if that babe will be with me for 6 weeks or 38 weeks, or a lifetime. I will celebrate every day we are given.

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#14 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 08:21 AM
 
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I think people know me well enough to know that when I announce a pg I'm not saying, "I'm so excited that we're having a baby in March!!!" and helping me pick out a color for the nursery. When I announce a pg I'm saying, "On THIS day I have a beautiful new life growing inside me and I want to celebrate it with you." I have no idea if that babe will be with me for 6 weeks or 38 weeks, or a lifetime. I will celebrate every day we are given.


I agree! I think it's silly that in general you HAVE to wait to tell or you're nuts. I mean, it's really a personal preference b/c some women are private, but that aside, why is it wrong to want to celebrate the life thats growing inside TODAY?

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#15 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Babycakes, trini: Both of you voice just what I meant to say: something is happening to me now, life is growing inside me, I don't know how it will go, but I want to share with you.
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#16 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 08:55 AM
 
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I told everyone right away with ds - pretty much shouted it from the rooftops! And I didn't experience any backlash, people were excited and so sweet about it!

I started to do the same thing last Nov/December - found out we were pregnant and told most of our good friends, pretty much everyone but work. Then I m/c'd - and that did very much change my perspective on the whole telling early thing. It was HARD.

So this time I told a few close friends right away, and shared the news with a few more after we saw the heartbeat. But I didn't shout from the rooftops until I was 13weeks. Just personal comfort level after having such a recent m/c.

But I certainly understand what you are saying, and I think people should feel free to share whenever THEY are comfortable! I've never experienced the negative comments or backlash you've talked about here, and in fact know many people (some not even good friends, just Moms at ds's school, etc) that tell early. I've never seen anything but support and excitement for them, and that's how it should be. I'm sorry you experienced some negative comments - and CONGRATS!!!

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#17 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 09:18 AM
 
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I told everyone right away both times. The only person who gave me a hard time was my old boss the first time. I told her at 6 weeks and I was showing already! I figured if I was showing I needed to tell. I was also eating like a pig. She said something about I wasn't supposed to tell until 12 weeks, and she waited until 16. But I was showing! I mean enough people were starting to ask and gossip already. I was using a belly band. She is the only one I encountered that was rude, and she was a rude person overall. No one else has said anything.

This time I am almost 14 weeks and not really showing, still in my normal clothes and I have had people ask me if I was really 14 weeks. Ha and this baby is measuring big, too.

I will say I am a little uncomfortable because DH has a family friend the same age as me, and his mom told us she was pregnant, and she was due at the same time as me. We were waiting to tell, but since his mom told us about that, we told her about us. DH friend ended up with a miscarriage. So I do wish I had waited a bit so because I feel like it was something we were supposed to share and I feel a little strange being around her now.

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#18 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 09:28 AM
 
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Babycakes, trini: Both of you voice just what I meant to say: something is happening to me now, life is growing inside me, I don't know how it will go, but I want to share with you.
We have had two losses in over two years of trying and are still trying for our first. It was VERY hard to be struggling "alone" with my losses, and it is also very hard to be struggling "alone" with infertility, too. HOWEVER, the number of unbelievable insensitive comments I've received over the past two years from people who know about our struggles as well as people who don't, I personally feel rather selective about who I let into my raw circle of feelings. When we ever get pregnant again, believe me, my husband, my family, my closest friends and I will cherish and love that baby from the moment of conception, but I have no need for anyone else to be adding their hurtful "helpful" comments to our journey. My experience has been that many people will just say something catchy or trite that makes THEM feel better in the face of your pain, but often leaves you feeling worse. It's not that they're trying to be mean, it's just that they dont' know what to say. I don't need to tell those people; the people I would tell are the ones that I would truly want to celebrate with and the ones I would truly want to lean on if something went wrong again.

I agree with whoever said that raised eyebrows probably simply come from people who know how heartbreakingly common loss is. You may want to consider that maybe that person is suffering right now, wanting what you have. However, I think that the more people you share with about pregnancy, the more likely you are just to get obnoxious comments, no matter how far along you are. Please forgive me for sounding jaded, but that's been my experience.

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#19 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 09:42 AM
 
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I found that attitude with my inlaws. There is no discussing pregnancy at any time. They do not even have baby showers because it would be too hard for grieving parents to have to see baby things in their house. Hmm? Odds are so much higher that parents will have a child who might appreciate some diapers and clothes.
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#20 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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I hear what you're saying, but I have had quite a few close friends who did tell early and then had to share the m/c news. I guess for me, I just would want there to be less of a chance of having to do this, so I've waited to tell people. But it's all a personal choice
But see, i'm the oppostite. I had a m/c at 12.5 weeks and i was SO VERY glad that i told people because the support i received was AMAZING! It was such a hard thing to go through and if i had to just sweep it under the rug and act like everything was fine I would proabably be in a mental institution. My boss gave me a week off from work (paid), families from the school I teach at brought me flowers and soups and cassaroles and cards with sympathy.

I also do not believe there is a magic time to tell. Most peopel will say 12 weeks. Well if i had told at 12 and lost it a few days later, i think that would have been harder/worse. People had already been routing for me and excited about the pregnancy and they felt a sense of loss too and were able to make me feel better about it. There sympathy was heart felt.

This time around I told people at 6 weeks and i'm happy I did. Some people even said "wow i'm suprised you told so early" and i just don't really get why? I mean, (as horrible as it is) some people will lose their baby at 20 weeks or 30 weeks or when it is born. but they are all babies just the same no matter when/if you lose them so I think they should all be celebrated and all be shown sympathy when needed.

Does that make sense???

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#21 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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But see, i'm the oppostite. I had a m/c at 12.5 weeks and i was SO VERY glad that i told people because the support i received was AMAZING! It was such a hard thing to go through and if i had to just sweep it under the rug and act like everything was fine I would proabably be in a mental institution. My boss gave me a week off from work (paid), families from the school I teach at brought me flowers and soups and cassaroles and cards with sympathy.

I also do not believe there is a magic time to tell. Most peopel will say 12 weeks. Well if i had told at 12 and lost it a few days later, i think that would have been harder/worse. People had already been routing for me and excited about the pregnancy and they felt a sense of loss too and were able to make me feel better about it. There sympathy was heart felt.

This time around I told people at 6 weeks and i'm happy I did. Some people even said "wow i'm suprised you told so early" and i just don't really get why? I mean, (as horrible as it is) some people will lose their baby at 20 weeks or 30 weeks or when it is born. but they are all babies just the same no matter when/if you lose them so I think they should all be celebrated and all be shown sympathy when needed.

Does that make sense???


I had a miscarriage at 14 weeks with my first and I still tell everyone the minute I get a positive test.
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#22 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 10:49 AM
 
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I actually usually have an opposite feeling to the OP when I'm pregnant...I feel like we're made to feel bad for waiting so long to tell people! Maybe it's just a location thing, but around here I feel like it's much more common for people to share the news right away than to wait until the end of 1st tri. We're dealing with this a little right now...I am 10 wks pregnant with our 2nd baby...we just figured we'd wait until we first hear the heartbeat at 12wks, but meanwhile 2 of DH's cousins have announced that they're pregnant right after they found out and nobody's batted an eye about it! And when we were first pregnant with DS, another of DH's cousin's started telling people right away that she was pregnant and nobody thought twice about it either! DH really wants to start telling people since we heard a heartbeat yesterday at an unexpected u/s, but I still feel like we might as well wait another week and a half for the 12 wk appt. It's not that I have an issue with telling people about a m/c, but it does stink having to call a whole list of close family and friends with bad news; and what's worse is having to deal with people who had heard through the grapevine you were pregnant but hadn't yet heard about the loss, so you're left having to share your bad news with someone on the street that you barely know...I realize this is probably just a small town thing, but it happened several times to us when we lost our first pregnancy (we had told everyone around 8 wks the first time around). So, when we were pregnant with DS we didn't tell anybody except my twin sis and a couple close friends until we had the 12 wk u/s done and heard the heartbeat. And we plan to do the same with this one.

I think it's unfortunate that there are people that would make anyone feel bad for telling about a pregnancy, whether it's "too soon" or "too late" ...it's a very personal decision and it really depends on what they've experienced, IMO.

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#23 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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I don't wait until the second trimester. I couldn't if I wanted to - I am showing by then. But my main reason is this: If I were to miscarry, it would break my heart that only my husband and I ever knew that our baby existed. I see that other people have mentioned that, too. I was so sad when no one knew about my miscarried twin and I felt a lot better when I told people about him or her several months later. I feel like every little person deserves their mark on the world, even if it's a very small mark.

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#24 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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I have the opposite problem. In fact, I don't even think there is a societal taboo on telling early, it seems to me the taboo is telling "late" or after the first trimester. Every single person whose ever told me they were pregnant told me when they were in the first trimester. I waited until the second tri with both pregnancies to tell people and I'm one of the only people I've ever known who has done that. With my first pregnancy I got many comments from people about having waited so long, and why did keep it a secret from everyone. I got many people expressing great surprise that I was even able to not tell anyone, as if it would be impossible for them to do the same. Many people almost seemed like they felt betrayed by our not telling and didn't let us forget it for a long time. This time wasn't so bad because I guess people realize that this is just how long it takes us to tell people, but last time we really felt that people were upset by it.
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#25 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 01:06 PM
 
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TBH the only people I have ever seen not comfortable with an early announcement (being on the receiving end of it... and that includes ME) are people who have had that loss and have had to tell people about it and really are mostly just hoping the announcer does not have to go through the same.

Because it really sucks to have to tell everyone your good news turned tragic.

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#26 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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I've never observed a taboo around here against makign it public early. Personally, I'm very introverted about things and I need the time by myself to cope and come to grips with a m/c. It aggravates me to have people expressing sympathy, especially when they are doing so in trite and ultimately hurtful ways (as a pp mentioned). I keep my pregnacnies quiet (only telling family and a few very close friends) until I'm comfortable with sharing the news.

otoh, I have a friend who is an extreme extrovert. She needs to tell people immediately and needs the support of those people in coping with both the sypmtoms of pregnancy (which she gets hit hard with in the first trimester) and with the losses she has had. But, I've never observed a difference in how people recieve the timing of our news (and, this is the second time in a row we've been pregnant at the same time so I've had a chance to observe reactions to both sides).

ETA: I've also never kept myself quiet about my m/c. I just needed time and space to come to some sort of terms before I was able to deal with other people. But I hope that speaking about it clearly now allows the space for other women to be honest about their grief, either as a healed/healing wound or as one that is pretty raw still.

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#27 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 03:15 PM
 
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we had our second m/c back in 2007, and i ended up needing to tell people about it to get the support i needed. i absolutely hated that i was only sharing the bad news, and had kept the good news to myself. it's so sad that m/c is such a taboo topic, and one that women are expected to endure alone. when i got pregnant with my son, i told the people i knew i would want support from should things go badly right away. this way i was able to share good news instead of only bad. i did the same thing with my current pregnancy...i told the people close to me that i knew i would want to gather around me if things went awry. that might seem like i'm framing the telling in a negative way, but there are definitely people you don't want to have to untell and early pregnancy really is a tentative time. i totally agree with Maeryn...and have been one to give a sideways glance at someone telling really early, but it's just that i'm so desperately hoping that they don't have to go through the untelling.
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#28 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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If there were any rules against telling early I broke them all. The cat was out of the bag at 3w3d!! I couldn't go a single day without telling absolutely everyone.

This Mommy and Military Daddy are loving their son.
DS born Dec 2010 Pregnant with #2, having another !
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#29 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trini View Post

I'll support anyone's right to privacy, but I don't know why so many people want to keep m/c a secret. That's why so many women who have a m/c feel so alone. They don't realize how common it is because so many women don't talk about it.
I am one of those people who have had a m/c after telling everyone early. I think the nature of a m/c is that you feel alone no matter what - it is your grief after all. And sadly, most people have no clue how to respond to women in this situation. So the impact of the insensitive remarks far outweighs the support. I never want to go through the pain of that again.
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#30 of 43 Old 07-09-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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I've never experienced people having weird reactions to being told about early pregnancy (not my pregnancy, but hearing about others). I would never say anything negative to another person about a pregnancy. I've never heard people say anything other than congratulations.

BUT....

...it is an absolutely horrible experience to tell people (no matter how few or how many) that you are pregnant, and then have to tell them, just several weeks later, that you aren't anymore.
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