Why I Wanted To Keep My 2nd Pregnancy A Secret
If I could have pulled a Kylie Jenner and kept this pregnancy a secret for nine months, I just might have. But unlike my first pregnancy, physically that was pretty impossible for me this time around. Four years ago I was able to keep things under wraps till I was just over five months pregnant. At 20 weeks I barely showed. My husband and I had agreed that waiting until after second-trimester testing came back was “safe.” We had, of course, told family and friends (by 12 – 13 weeks) but hadn’t done the whole “public” announcement thing yet. We received so much love and genuine well wishes when we finally did share the news. (Anyone remember how our first baby announcement went down?) Naturally, one would assume that we’d be keen to share baby number two with everyone almost immediately. But it actually didn’t feel that way for me.
This time around being pregnant felt different. When we found out we were expecting again I was flooded by a whole new slew of emotions. I couldn’t believe we were about to be bestowed with another blessing. While I was tremendously grateful, I also found myself tremendously scared. More so than when I was pregnant the first time. Was that actually possible? Isn’t the common preconception that mamas-to-be are more relaxed with their second pregnancy? I didn’t feel more relaxed at all and I didn’t know if that was just me being nervous and superstitious (qualities I admittedly have) or if it was a “sign” that something might be wrong.
With my first pregnancy, my midwives (I had a home birth,) were picked out, and I started my prenatal appointments with them immediately. This time rather than getting midwives on board I opted to see my OB/GYN for a second appointment and get an additional ultrasound that I definitely didn’t get with my first child (more on our choice to limit the number of ultrasounds in another post.) I couldn’t shake this feeling of concern. Again I had to ask myself if these feelings were from my contrived paranoia or some intuitional messaging.
Everything about this pregnancy worried me and I needed to get a hold of those feelings before I could field questions like “How many weeks are you?” “Do you know if you’re having a girl or a boy?” And “Do you have names picked out?” On top of that, the energy from certain people around me didn’t feel one hundred percent clean. So I wore big sweaters (the same two black sweaters actually) kept my head down (mostly in the toilet) and kept it moving. We shared our baby news with our parents and one other couple only. I found myself anxiously marking off the days until our family left for holiday. Christmas in New York was surely going to make me feel better. I craved the comfort and trust I could only feel from my family and closest girlfriends.
Hiding this pregnancy got tricky fast though. Once I hit three months my belly popped. I often needed to sit down due to a rush of nausea or run to the bathroom to vomit. There were dizzy spells and sweating spells. There were also many dinners, events and holiday parties, and I found it more and more difficult to hide the fact that I was not drinking. Everyone would surely catch on to that!
I walked in and out of places with speed, nervous that someone might ask me if I was pregnant. I thought for sure one of the other mothers at school would catch on. I did see them every day during pickup and drop off, but no one did, and every day I felt relieved as if I had escaped something. What on earth was wrong with me? Or this pregnancy?
All the tests so far said our baby was healthy and growing “on track” so why was I so nervous? Finally, I sat down and had a real heart to heart with myself. It was then that I had my Aha! Moment.
I realized that there was a certain amount of naïveté surrounding my first pregnancy that was now gone entirely. It dawned on me that my fears with my second pregnancy were not because I’m a superstitious person but because I understood how delicate life was. Over the last four years, since having my daughter, I’ve witnessed friends endure some seriously hard and devastating turn of events. From miscarriages to late terminations due to early detected health issues and even the loss of a baby, two months after being born. Going through my own pregnancy, delivering my baby girl safely at home and being marveled every day by the simplest things she does, gave me a real understanding of how fragile life is. Having a baby is indeed a miracle and I apparently was/am overwhelmed by the fact that our family would be so blessed twice.
I finally decided it was more important to share then to conceal and that if this journey turned out to drastically different than the last, or if we struggled with this pregnancy in ways that we had not before then it would be equally important to tell that story. Not only for us but for other families too.
There are still many people who know us that are confused as to why they heard about this pregnancy later than what’s expected. Or wonder why they found out on Instagram but I can only hope they understand. That’s just when I was ready to share. May we all remember not to take things too personally because someone we know could be fighting a battle… even during the happiest moments.
I’m still nervous about baby number two in a way that I wasn’t when I was pregnant with my first but I’m working on it. I have faith that our journey will lead us to exactly where we are meant to be.
P.S. Because I am superstitious, I shot my first maternity photos (these pics above) in the very same dress I wore at our gender reveal party weeks before delivering my daughter.