December 23, 2019
There’s nothing quite like the prospect of bringing new life into the world.
My Friends Keep Announcing My Pregnancy News To People We Know
Whether you’re a mum or a dad, or indeed a mum- or dad-to-be about to become parents for the first time, it’s an exciting and overwhelming time. Once you have got your own heads around what you’ve got yourself into, you’ll be bursting to share your news with the rest of the world.
Unless, of course, someone else gets there first.
In my case, it all started when I discovered I was pregnant with my third child. After getting over the initial shock, I started to become excited about the newest addition to our family – but like many people I wanted to get through those first ten or 12 weeks and have my scan before telling family and friends.
When the day of the scan finally arrived I drove off to the hospital in eager anticipation of seeing my little baby for the first time. Not only did I get to see my baby on screen but the sonographer discovered something else: there were two in there. Twins. Double the shock, double the surprise – and double the news.Everybody was so happy for us and I was really enjoying seeing their reactions... and then it happened.This colossal plot twist took a few days to sink in, but soon my husband and I couldn’t wait to tell our loved ones. The response was incredible – everybody was so happy for us and I was really enjoying seeing their reactions, including our friends. They all love our two daughters so much and spoil them all the time, so I knew how amazed they’d all be to discover that we now have another two kids on the way.
But then it happened – I began to discover some were giving away my baby news before I had the chance to. I come from a small town I’ve lived in my whole life, and it is a very tight-knit community where everybody knows each other so the news began to spread, quickly. I’ve grown up with friends that I’ve gone all the way through school with, women who now just like me have their own families, homes and work minutes’ walk from each other.
I only began to understand what was happening one day at the school gates, waiting to collect my five-year-old from school. We always run into others mums and dads and of course we generally say hi and have a chat with each other while we are waiting for the kids to come running to us. But this time, it was one of the other mums who running up to me with a huge smile on her face.
“Congratulations! I heard your lovely news!”
I looked at her, puzzled. It was easy to figure out what she was congratulating me on, but what I couldn’t understand how she already knew.“Jenny told me yesterday in the supermarket. I’m so pleased for you!”
Naturally, I smiled back and thanked her – but inside my mind was racing. Why did she do that?That was my news to tell, I remember thinking. Why would my friend announce my pregnancy news on my behalf like that? If it had been my husband who’d let her in our secret, of course I could have understood – but it wasn’t. I walked home with my daughter that day feeling slightly robbed of my opportunity to share my joyous news. But more than anything else, I was disappointed in my friends.
That would only compound just days later, when another friend texted me, saying: “OMG congratulations, I just heard from Lisa that you’re expecting twins!”These two little babies, so deeply rooted inside of me, were beginning to belong to everyone else.When it happened the first time I was alarmed. But the second time? Okay, now I was annoyed. Even though these are some of the people I am closest to in the world, I felt like this was a total betrayal of my privacy. I realised that no matter how close we are, pregnancy is still a deeply private matter to those going through it. But for some people, it seems they regard it more as public property.All of a sudden it was starting to feel like these two little babies, so deeply rooted inside of me, were beginning to belong to everyone else.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful to have such a close group of friends and I understand how excited they are for me – but at the end of the day this is my pregnancy, and these are my children. The unintentional result of this good-natured over-enthusiasm is that I now feel like I’m in a race against them to get my news out there before someone else does it for me.
My husband could see that this was starting to stress me out – being pregnant with twins, I didn’t need any more of that – and advised that maybe I should go and talk to the people in question, and simply explain how I was feeling. He was definitely surprised at what had been happening but it was obvious that I was the one who was most upset about this. He hadn’t experienced any of this with his friends in the way that I did – maybe because men, though they love becoming dads, just don’t get as consumed by the experience of pregnancy in the same way that women do. Maybe it is because I am the one who is carrying our children that I feel it such an invasion of my privacy.What I am sure of, having sat and given it a lot of thought, is that despite being deeply upset, I’ve decided to keep my feelings to myself. Although completely lacking in tact, I know my friends didn’t mean me any real harm here. I simply don’t want to lose friendships over it. I do wish, though, that they would have appreciate more the difference between when a piece of news is theirs to share and when something is personal.
Has it left me more guarded about who I share my news with in the future? Yes, probably. While carrying a baby (or babies plural, in my case) is wonderful and brings great joy being able to share this experience with the rest of the world, it doesn’t change the fact that pregnancy is still a personal issue. 
And though there are some people out there who will inevitably forget this and cause some upset along the way, right now there are more pressing matters at hand – like the fact that there are currently two little babies on the way who undoubtedly will give me far bigger things to worry about in the not-so-distant future.
Tracey Carr is a writer and work-at-home mum
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