Shelley Bridgeman 's Opinion

Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman: When to announce your pregnancy

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Dan and Honor Carter recently revealed they're expecting a baby.Photo / File
Dan and Honor Carter recently revealed they're expecting a baby.Photo / File

"Time to share our exciting news ... I am 21 weeks & we are both very excited," tweeted Honor Carter, as she and her All Black husband notified the world that they are expecting a baby. Announcing a pregnancy when you're over halfway through is just so refreshing in these times of instant gratification and unrestrained social media postings.

Some pregnancies are announced at four weeks which strikes me as far too soon. Twelve weeks is often the point at which people feel comfortable sharing the news. It's said that between 10 and 20 per cent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and the most serious danger point is past by then. Yet other people feel that they would want all their friends and family members to know if they had a lost a baby and so they don't feel the need for discretion.

My own approach was similar to that of the Carters. I was studying journalism in Christchurch when I fell pregnant with my daughter. When I returned to Auckland five months later everyone simply noticed I was pregnant; I didn't have to announce it to many people.

Prior to that I'd had two miscarriages and I remember how hard it was keeping those short pregnancies secret. "You're pregnant, aren't you?" my friends would screech as soon as I turned down a glass of wine. "No, just hung-over," I'd lie. I think we superstitiously felt that announcing our news might have been tempting fate and that the longer we could keep it to ourselves the better the chances of a successful outcome.

At babycenter.com, expectant mothers are classified into five groups based on when they choose to reveal their pregnancy:

* Early birds - tell in those initial few weeks
* First trimester home-stretchers - somewhere in the vicinity of 10 and 12 weeks
* Middle-of-the-roaders - well and truly into the second trimester
* Late Bloomers - in the third trimester
* Mix-it-uppers - those who tell different people at different times. (Wouldn't many of us fall into this category? I'd imagine most women have some sort of hierarchy as to who needs to know the news first: say, partner then family then work colleagues and so on.)

Evidently an associated dilemma is to figure out precisely how you should tell your significant other that you are in the family way. Suggestions catalogued at the Baby Center website include sharing the news in a fortune cookie, putting a dummy on a plate at a restaurant, placing a single bun in the oven, writing "Hi Daddy, I can't wait to meet you!" on your belly, dressing an older child in a "Big Brother" or "Big Sister" shirt - and sending the positive pregnancy test (or a photograph of it) to your partner. If those ideas make you feel a bit queasy then you can always do what I did and say, "Crikey, I think I'm up the duff."

What are your thoughts about announcing pregnancies? Do you think it's best done early or late in the pregnancy? Did you announce your news in an interesting or unusual way?

Shelley Bridgeman

Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman is a truck-driving, supermarket-going, horse-riding mother-of-one who is still married to her first husband. As a Herald online blogger, she specialises in First World Problems and delves fearlessly into the minutiae of daily life. Twice a week, she shares her perspective on a pressing current issue and invites readers to add their ten cents’ worth to the debate.

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