I’m Telling

Someone else's baby at 10 weeks that would look pretty much identical to my baby now. Just hang in there, little guy (or gal)!

Someone else’s baby at 10 weeks that would look pretty much identical to my baby now. Just hang in there, little guy (or gal)!

I guess there’s a million different ways one can announce their first pregnancy. I opted for a hiking blog post, why not?

And of course, I feel there needs to be a little follow up on this. You see, I’m only ten weeks along. According to many, it’s not recommended that I share this news until after I’m well into the 2nd trimester (after 12-14 weeks).

I’ve totally blown that. I probably told about 25 people when I first tested positive at five weeks. Since it was mostly family and close friends, everyone reacted with generous excitement. But as I continued to share the news with acquaintances or colleagues at work, I was met with mixed reactions.

“Oh, only x weeks?” someone said. “Well, congratulations…but take it easy, okay?”

To my overly-paranoid mind, this translates to: “You shouldn’t be telling me this because I don’t want to hear about your upcoming miscarriage.”

(For the record, I intellectually understand that this person was just being kind and that my interpretation is a result of my nut-jobbery.)

But I find it particularly aggravating that a miscarriage is something a woman should try to avoid having to share. So it turns out the best way to avoid sharing the news of a miscarriage is to wait to share the news of your pregnancy.

“If I lost my foot,” I explained to Lou one day, “I would want the support of my family and friends through that loss.” After he stopped laughing at my comparison, Lou agreed.

But I think this has deeper roots than just wanting support.

Because every time I deliver the news in this early stage of pregnancy, I feel a bit of shame.

What is that all about?

I’m shooting from the hip here, but I don’t think I’m the only woman who has feelings of shame intertwined with the idea (or the experience) of a miscarriage. And this, I believe, is left over from time periods in cultural history when a miscarriage was interpreted as a total failure. It meant a woman could not fulfill her purpose. And it meant the husband had made a poor investment.

I don’t want to perpetuate a behavior that references this unfortunate history.

So I’m spreading the news about my pregnancy.* And if I have a miscarriage I will be sure to get the word out about that as well. I know there are other women who experience this in silence. And if they can’t lean on family and friends, maybe they’ll quietly find my miscarriage blog and feel some comfort.

(Christ, I feel squeamish about describing that scenario but this whole topic is a superstitious trap so there’s no winning here.)

When contemplating the decision as to whether or not to tell “early”, I’ve often thought of an email exchange I had with a friend a few years ago.

“It’s okay…we’ll catch the next one!” was her response when I congratulated her on a pregnancy. Her polite message revealed that I hadn’t received the news of her miscarriage.

I still admire her for that. She handled it with grace and a positive attitude. She wasn’t ashamed.

Because she (and we) shouldn’t have to be.

*I absolutely respect anyone who makes the decision to wait to share their news. For some, it’s as simple as a matter of personal privacy.

Baby, Baby

By Chalky Lives, Flickr Creative Commons

"No more pitocin!" says this kid.

“We bought it from the original owners,” we like to tell people. “It was built in 1951 by a man named Dude Coffey.”

Dude constructed our house and raised his family here. I didn’t bother to ask the seller for a detailed run-down, but it was clear that Dude’s kids and grandchildren took turns living in this home over the 60 years it belonged to the family. Some of his kids, now in their 50’s and 60’s, still live in the neighborhood.

It feels good in our house. I didn’t even have to do a sage burn when we moved in — which is something I’ve done in almost every apartment or house I’ve ever rented.

On our big moving day, as I scrubbed the walls and lugged boxes, one of the “kids” stopped by. I could overhear her talking to the realtor as they shuffled up the driveway.

“It just feels weird having other people live in our house!” she said.

I rolled my eyes. But, I was happy to know that our new home was always loved.

About a year later, Lou and I watched a documentary titled The Business of Being Born.

The film summarizes the history of childbirth practices in America and encourages women to consider natural labor, at home or in birthing centers with a midwife. Aside from Lou cringing at Ricki Lake’s naked body (she produced the film and shares her own at-home labor with the viewer) we’re happy we watched it. We decided that when we have baby times (whenever that is), a natural birth will be our preferred plan.

Then Lou disappeared outside to mow the front lawn.

As he finished the yard work, a car pulled up to our house.

“Do you live here?” asked the driver. “Mind if I take some pictures of your house? Today’s my daughter’s 18th birthday and she was born in your master bedroom,” he said, pointing to our bedroom window.

I may as well go out and buy the kiddie pool today…there’s no way I can back out of this now.

Pre-Pregnant

Photo by Ryan & Denise photography.

These things outed me as a bad investment to employers.

Have you heard that I’m 30?

Oh, and I’m also married in case you didn’t pick up on that.

But you can just call me “pre-pregnant”.

Because, evidently, that’s how others see me.

I’ve always had an awesome track record when it comes to job interviews. With the exception of one nanny position in college, every job interview I’ve ever attended resulted in an offer.

Until I became pre-pregnant, that is.

Within the last six months, I entertained two opportunities for full-time positions (this required preparation and attendance to six total interviews).  On both occasions, I was assured I was a strong favorite. But both offers went to someone else.

After the second rejection, I spun myself in circles trying to figure out what went wrong. Maybe I should not have worn heels? Did I sound like an arrogant asshole when he asked about leadership? Should I go back to brunette?!

I tried to dismiss the creepy thought that this may be glass-ceiling-related. I didn’t want to be one of those women who blamed her inability to advance her own career on a convenient and external excuse.

A couple weeks ago, I was chatting about job interviews with my in-laws. I cautiously brought up the possibility that being married and 30 might have swayed things.

“It had to be a factor,” said my brother-in-law.

“Did you wear your wedding ring to the interviews?” my sister-in-law asked.

“Yes,” I answered.

They both exploded.

“You NEVER wear your wedding ring to an interview!”

Silly me. I was thinking like a man.

I believed my marital status would legitimize me. I thought my wedding ring would say, “I won’t show up to work in yesterday’s outfit, smelling like booze. I won’t make-out with a coworker after happy hour and throw off the dynamic of the team. And, with the support of a loving husband, you’ll have a confident and eager worker. You can count on me, sir!”

Instead, my wedding ring said, “Hire me, I’ll drain you for maternity leave, and then I’ll quit.”

(I just feel that I need to add that I’m proud to be married and it feels really fucking disgusting to have to deny my marriage for any reason…even one that would have paid me more than 60k per year.)

So, rather than stalling out for the next five years in my career due to my pre-pregnancy, my husband and I decided I should freelance.

It was the right choice. I’m happy.

Because we will cross over into babyland soon (fingers crossed) and, yes, it would have compromised my full-time employment.

On the plus side, I won’t have to shove my head into an office toilet when I’m barfing from morning sickness.

But, shit, it would’ve been nice to decide for myself when my career was to be compromised.