Wednesday, May 21, 2008

silent days

I was talking to someone who's eight weeks pregnant and she started one of her sentences with "After the baby's born..." I nodded and smiled and cobbled together some appropriate sequence of words, but what I was really thinking was: at least that's something I don't have to worry about.

Once something has gone terribly wrong, it's impossible to believe that something else won't go terribly wrong. I imagine the missing heartbeat at 10 weeks, the miscarriage at 14 weeks, the fatal genetic diagnosis at 19 weeks, the premature labor at 23 weeks, the cord accident at 34 weeks, the inexplicable stillbirth at 41 weeks. What I can't imagine is that there will be an actual baby -- one that lives more than a few hours or days -- at the end of all of this.

With my last pregnancy, I waited until the end of the first trimester to tell people. But this time, there doesn't seem any point at which it would be safe or right to say anything. I'm sure I can cope with whatever disaster the universe has in store for me. What I really don't want is to have to endure the well-meant words of sympathy and attempts at comfort that people will feel obliged to offer when the worst happens.

It's perfectly reasonable not to tell anyone about this pregnancy, isn't it?

49 comments:

frumiousb said...

Yes, it is. I would completely understand that. Whenever doctors talk to me about statistics and things going well, I laugh. I just assume that some variant of bad will be involved at every step. This may be because at least until now, it sort of has done.

Patti said...

I completely understand. I truly do.

Mrs. Spit said...

yes.

Beruriah said...

In my worldview these days, there is no such thing as reason.

In our first pregnancy, I told people earlier because I needed to - a wedding where I was the matron of honor involved a massage as a gift (not ok for the first trimester) and the champagne toast (need juice) and the keg and all sorts of other things that made me conspicuous. In the second, I waited, because well, some people responded to my mc, with "this is why you don't tell people." Because I guess bad news is a burden on others. With my third, I told because I felt like I would break if something went wrong and no one knew, but I also feared I would just be pathetic if I had yet more bad news in a year. My point is, telling or not telling is all about what YOU think YOU need. I hope, more than I could have imagined possible, that you will be holding a beautiful live full-term baby, but I can more than understand the fears. Only you can decide what is within and for reason for you. And you may change your mind, on any given day.

I'm sorry this is a terribly imprecise comment, but I guess my answer is, yes, it is possible that for you it is reasonable.

Mad said...

Telling the in-flesh people is always hard b/c people like to make pregnancy public domain. I was extremely grateful that hardly anyone local knew about my January pregnancy. The thought of facing the women in the circulation dep't each day if something went wrong was too much for me to bear. When the miscarriage happened I was relieved that I had stayed mum.

So, yes, stay silent for as long as you wish to/need to.

Tash said...

Totally. In fact, totally reasonable to hide the fact until said child (spit, throw salt, wave garlic, sacrifice goat) is in second grade. I'm so with you on this. One of my greatest fears of even trying again is having it succeed and having to deal with people. I'd like to move to the moon.

Amelie said...

Perfectly understandable.

painted maypole said...

i think you can choose who to tell it to. some close friends will help to share the journey, good or bad, but you don't have to tell all the aquaintances in your life.

Which Box said...

Perfectly reasonable. I'm trying to figure it out myself, too, especially since I've been, you know, fired from my job and have to start hunting. I've got maybe a month before it's clear I'm not just fat. Sigh. (Sob?)

So for you, maybe the only tricky part is planning for leave from work. You've probably got until, what, maybe 30-32 weeks before that becomes a real issue.

Do you YOU need to do. Does your husband want to tell people?

slouching mom said...

of course it's reasonable.

it's your call.

K @ ourboxofrain said...

Completely reasonable. And I fully sympathize with the biggest dread deriving from others' attempts at sympathy.

Aunt Becky said...

I think it's completely reasonable. One less thing to worry about, right? The reactions of other people.

Like you, I prefer to live in a state of denial about this sort of stuff.

missedconceptions said...

"Once something has gone terribly wrong, it's impossible to believe that something else won't go terribly wrong." Exactly.

I told people about this pregnancy, because I needed someone (if not me) to believe that everything was going to work out just fine. I also did not want to constantly live in a state of panic and fear. All indications are that everything is fine, better than fine, actually, but I still do not believe 100% and have yet to completely let my guard down.

Just last night I was thinking how sad it would be to have all these baby presents around if something goes wrong. Then I started thinking how awful it was to be thinking like that. But how can we not expect the worst when awful things have happened and destroyed our naivety?

Elizabeth said...

I completely understand too. If our surrogate cycle is successful, I'm already imagining waiting as long as possible before I tell anyone. I feel like I need to practice holding my breath since I'll likely be doing a lot of that.

Furrow said...

Yes, it's reasonable, given your experience. And, it's going to quite the grand surprise when you show up at work or at a family gathering with a fully formed, beautiful, squirming baby -- I can't help but see that outcome for you. Just imagine the delicious looks of confusion.

I do have to echo Which Box, though. Does your husband want to keep it a secret? What about your son (assuming he knows)?

G said...

Perfectly reasonable.

Magpie said...

Yes.

But there are the other household members to consider. And the employer, should you plan to take a leave. So at some point, you might have to say something to someone.

DD said...

Girl! We didn't tell anyone until 18 weeks, and even then I felt like I was making assumptions.

And I would like to meet just one person, of perfectly sound mind, that doesn't think that way.

beagle said...

It's perfectly reasonable to do what ever it takes to stay sane.

That's my motto.

Katie said...

I don't think I could tell people either.

LawMommy said...

I will not tell you that it is either perfect or reasonable, but I will tell you that it is okay for you to not tell anyone.

Regardless of the outcome, I believe people will understand your choice not to talk about it...

Gretchen

Awake said...

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But I agree with the previous poster - you gotta do what keeps you sane.

Two things to add though. Be careful telling, if you choose to tell, but still want it to remain under the radar. We told one person. I now believe our entire town knows. Things tend to get out. And secondly, don't rule out complete strangers, people you'll never see again. You can tell them if you're ever feeling the need to just say it out loud.

Kami said...

Since we lost our son everyone we know has been involved from transfers to pregnancies to miscarriages. Well, not exactly involved, but informed if they cared to ask.

I don't mind sharing because I think they should see how hard and ugly it can be. Still, most didn't get it anyway and I still have people refer to this pregnancy as my first.

I am with you on not counting on anything until the real live baby is in your arms - no matter how good the odds might be. I support you in sharing or not sharing as it suits you. Only you know what would work best

Julia said...

Considering how thoroughly I still wrap myself in my shawls, and how much of a face I make every time I realize I have gotten ever so slightly bigger and maybe soon the shawls won't fool even a blind man, you can guess my answer-- it's is more than ok.

And if things actually do work out, and someone decides to throw a fit about you keeping secrets, you are more than welcome to send them my way for a little tongue lashing... I mean gentle re-education.

Lori said...

You have told us- that's enough, I'd say.

You are in a unique position with this pregnancy in that you really can get away with not telling anyone for a very long time- right up until the baby comes home, if you want. I think if I could have done that when I was pregnant with Pumpkin, then I would have. I totally understand.

Aurelia said...

As Lori says, you are in a unique position here, and can hide it as long as you want. So sure, why not, with maybe a few exceptions...

I think that your husband and son may need some support just in case, and they may want to tell a few of their friends, remember, they don't have blogs and you have us! So whoever they tell, they need to know that you don't want it to get spread around.

You might need to tell your employer at some point, as Magpie said, but you could act like it's a tentative adoption to them...people are better about that sometimes in terms of keeping quiet.

Hmmm, you might need to line up a pediatrician ahead of time, or tell your health insurance, or order some stuff, even online, to be delivered after the baby comes home, and it may be that you will have to talk to strangers.

Any chance anyone will see you at doctor's appointments, or wherever with the surrogate? You might want to think about making up an answer you can just blurt out, like "I'm just giving my pregnant friend a ride, see you later!"

I have to admit, I know this isn't the ideal situation for you, but I am a teensy bit jealous that you have the choice of hiding it, and due to my lazy ass stomach muscles, I had no option and no privacy. There are some advantages to surrogacy I guess.

wheelsonthebus said...

My only concern would be that you have support if anything should happen.

I think the worry continues long after they are born. Yours focuses more on pre-birth for obvious reasons, but the act of worrying and not wanting to jinx things makes perfect, perfect sense.

Amanda said...

Absolutely, it's reasonable. I told my husband if we ever conceived again, I wouldn't tell a soul until after the far-off, highly improbable c-section.

I'm already fat enough to look pregnant at least 83% of the time, and generally people won't ask a fat woman why she's getting fatter.

Not that that's at all applicable here, I'm just saying I understand your predicament. I think you get my point.

LAS said...

Yes, absolutely. I don't think you need to tell anyone.

Angela said...

Perfectly.

Coggy said...

Completely reasonable and what's more it really isn't anybody else's business.

Rachel said...

It looks like I am echoing the crowd, but you don't have to tell anyone until the bay is here.

Betty M said...

You do whatever you have to do. I have never been one for telling unless I had to. I've even managed a miscarriage on a family holiday without breathing a word to anyone else but my husband.

CLC said...

Sounds reasonable to me. It's no one else's business.

Eva said...

Eminently reasonable.

If, at some point, joy overtakes you and you do say something, cut yourself some slack, though.

sweetsalty kate said...

Yes, reasonable... although I second Eva.

Screw the universe. If you feel hopeful - if you're tempted to think about names or feel like getting carried away with friends - just let your heart and head venture there. Maybe just the tip of one toe at first, and I know it's scary. But it's a part of motherhood, and dammit, it just pisses me off that previous shit luck robs us of that joy.

So I have to say: listen to hope if it whispers to you, only because I hope to someday do the same. But we all understand if you stay quiet/

c. said...

I think keeping this to yourself sounds completely reasonable as it really is one of the only things we can control in all of this. I hope, at some point, hope trumps fear. Who knows what you'll want to do then...

Lisa b said...

totally reasonable.
Your secret is safe with me.

m said...

Totally, totally, totally reasonable.
After the first loss I didn't think lightning could strike so badly, so devastatingly - again. But it did. And a third time. Oh yes, and a fourth.

So yes, totally reasonable...

x

Artblog said...

PERFECTLY, even highly recommended.

i told only those who saw for themselves and even then i just nodded!

xxx

thirtysomething said...

Totally reasonable.

But, I second a couple of the previous commenters too...if, perhaps you soon discover a little bit of hope seeping in around the corners, allow yourself to feel it and go with it. You might be surprised at how good it feels to not always assume that the worst is just around the corner.
Of course, your call.
Hugs.

christina(apronstrings) said...

'which box' stole my well thought out comment.
no. but i agree with every word.

at the end of the day most people say dumb things and why must you suffer them?

carole said...

i agree that you get to say what you want, when you want. i would just suggest you start thinking of your witty/snide/snipey comebacks when people start asking you questions or making pointed comments. there is always the choice to stare at them and walk away, but i've been more comfortable when i know ahead of time that that's what i'll do, instead of just doing it because i was totally at a loss for words.

i agree that it's nobody's business and your body is not public domain, but most dopey folks out there don't respond to a pregnant woman in that way. so just be prepared.

--c.

Rosepetal said...

Yes

Dr. Grumbles said...

I completely relate. Telling is like tempting fate.

Ashleigh said...

If it were an option, I would not have told anyone. As it is we still have many friends that don't know. It feels almost like hubris to talk about it.

crunchycarpets said...

I know...
I keep wondering if I DO try again that do I have to tell anyone? Even my mom? Can I not just hide away in my worry and do it alone?

Been going through my mind a lot lately

Anonymous said...

With my pregnancy after IF, I would have been perfectly happy not telling anyone I had a baby until the baby was ex-utero, thriving, and a year old. I couldn't get away with it, of course. I hid it until about 24 weeks.

But you can. I think it's perfectly reasonable to do so. When someone at 5/8/whatever weeks starts buying cribs and talking about when he/she arrives, all I can think is, "Doesn't she realize everything that can go wrong?" Whenever a friend tells me that she's pregnant in the early days, I want to tell her that her secret is safe with me but not to tell anyone else.

thrice said...

Yes. Surrogacy is different than adoption, but most people that I know don't mention adopting until they are holding their baby.