The following was syndicated from Medium for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at TheForum@Fatherly.com.
Recently I was sitting in my living room, watching the epic game 7 between the Cubs and Indians. It was a normal night that was about to take a very special turn…
A few hours earlier (and really for a few days), my fiancé Miki kept telling me that her nipples hurt. I laughed, jokingly telling her that she was pregnant. She smiled back, “Nooo, I’m always a few days late.”
Miki and I have been together for a little over 5 years now, we got engaged in August and 2 months back, we made a conscious decision to start trying to have a child. We got on a vitamin regimen, stopped drinking, and ramped up the meditation. We were settling in for what seemed like it was going to be a long journey.
I suggested that we get a pregnancy test, she agreed, and we jaunted over to the Rite Aid down the street for the 7th inning stretch.
After Rajai Davis hit a bomb in the 8th and tied it up, I was glued to the game and not noticing much else.
Then, out of nowhere, Miki walked over to me and put these on my chest.
WHATTTT!? We danced around the house, cried a little, and quite frankly were both in shock that it happened so quickly. Cheers all around.
Let’s Tell Everybody!
After settling in, we both had the same reaction, let’s call everyone!
We wanted to share this epic moment with the people we love and then we slowed down.
“Hold on … are we supposed to wait?”
At this point, Miki was about 4 weeks pregnant and we did some googling on the “right time to tell people.” The top articles focused on waiting to share news of a pregnancy until the end of the first trimester, which is about 10–12 weeks in. After that timeframe, the rate of miscarriage drops dramatically.
Something felt weird, my internal dialogue was saying “there is a chance that we could lose the baby, so let’s delay our celebration to spare our friends and family of the outside chance that they could share in our discomfort and grieving?”
As I thought more about it, I came back to one of the universal truths that I’ve come to realize about friendship.
Sharing “fun” experiences with our community is important, but it is during times of struggle, challenge and grieving that we have the greatest opportunity to support and connect deeper with the people we care about.
If we didn’t tell our friends about this miracle because of the chance for loss, we would be denying them the opportunity to fully be there for us.
Contrary to the top results in google, I think it would be selfish of us not to tell people.
The Pregnancy Taboo We Don’t Talk About
Miki took off for work the next day, happy as a clam and started calling everyone.
Around mid-day, I chatted with one of my friends Jeffrey, who is a few months away from having a child with his wife. He pointed out something else that I hadn’t thought about.
Our culture doesn’t allow for an open dialogue around miscarriage and it leads to isolation and an unfair shame being placed on women.
It feels eerily similar to the menstruation taboo that Miki has been tackling with THINX.
Statistically speaking, 1 in 5 recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. There should not be a stigma around something that so many humans experience.
Miscarriage is not a failure on the mother’s part, it is not her body malfunctioning, it is simply nature doing it’s thing and the more we talk about it as such, the more capable we’ll be of supporting women and their partners.
On top of that, many women still feel the need to hide their pregnancy news at work. We live in a society where tens of thousands of women will be fired because they become pregnant. Even more are made redundant when they return. These are the types of inequalities that we need to talk about and question, rather than avoid.
The Golden Rule
This is a dynamic issue and not a single answer will fit all situations.
I was simply compelled to shed light on a moving experience that most humans will share with me at some point.
For those who might be in the midst of pregnancy or on the way there…I think the golden rule is always a great barometer for an important decision like this.
If one of your friends or family members was dealing with a miscarriage, would you want to be left in the dark, or would you want to know about it so you could provide them with the love and emotional support that could help them work through it?
For me, the answer is obvious.
Andrew Horn is the founder of www.tribute.co.