Why We Kept My Pregnancy a Secret

If you haven’t heard the news yet and this is your first time hearing it, Surprise! I am, at the time of writing this, pregnant! Or since you’re reading this now (in the future), I’ve already had baby! I will also post a pregnancy and birth blog (or blogs) to let you all know how both went! As well as a blog post on dealing with trauma and being pregnant and what helped me!
This post is just on why we kept it a secret, because I know most people only care about why they weren’t told.

This post is mainly for friends and family, and it’s going to come from a place of total honesty, which can sometimes be read as harsh. Whilst we don’t intend to be intentionally harsh, D and I are both fiercely protective of our family and always will be.

If you’ve just stumbled upon this blog via a google search or deep dive, I still welcome you to read this blog post if you’re questioning whether or not you should keep your pregnancy a secret. Or you’re curious as to why someone would want to keep their pregnancy a secret. This is just my journey and every journey is unique and sacred.

I also want to assure you that this post was written by both of us, not just myself. I know some people might think this blog or this decision was solely my own, but D and I are a team and decisions for our family are made by both of us and after a lot of consideration.

I’m sure the immediate reaction to this news (us keeping it a secret) might be anger, hurt feelings, sadness, etc And I do want to say you are totally allowed to have your feelings, but to remember that neither I nor D, nor anyone in the world, is responsible for how you respond to something. So whilst you’re allowed to be angry at us, we don’t need to know and it’s not our fault that you’re reacting to our happiness in a negative way.
Keeping that in mind (you being allowed to have your feelings and feel them), the same goes for us. We are allowed to have our feelings and emotions and are valid in them and are allowed to respond how we choose to.

With that said, let me start by giving a very broad reason as to why we kept it a secret. This phrase will be of no shock to anyone who knows us and actually listens to us and the way we choose to parent and live our lives.

You are simply not entitled to know. Period.

The only people that needed to know I am/was pregnant or in labour were people I was paying and, to put it extremely bluntly because people do not understand, the person who contributed to making the baby.
Unless I’m paying you for birth services or you were in the bed making the baby, you do not have any type of entitlement to know. Period.

If you don’t know us, that might sound harsh. Maybe even if you do know us it sounds harsh, in which case…You haven’t been listening since our first pregnancy and we have bigger issues.

I will be the first person to say that motherhood and pregnancy and labour needs to be a tribe. We need to support women. We need to be there for women. It takes a village. etc etc
I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Yeah, so why didn’t you tell me?” *angry entitled voice*

What people don’t realize, but they should because I clarify often, is that when I’m saying all of this “find your tribe,” it doesn’t mean find your tribe of literally anyone. It means find your tribe of supportive, positive, you vibe well with them, people.
Sorry to say, the reality of the matter is for some people that isn’t always their immediate family, extended family, long term friends, short term friends, whatever. For some people, that is unfortunately just themselves, their partner, and maybe one or two other people. That’s okay. Your tribe, your support team, is allowed to be as big or small as you want it to be.
The reality of all of this is, in our experience as parents, my experience as a birth worker, and the experience of others I’ve spoken to is that people do not care about the mother. People don’t even care about the baby. They only care about what will make them happy. I’ll explain more on this.

Let me pause some of the realness with some more realness (but “happier”). Keeping this pregnancy a secret has been the literal best decision we could have made for ourselves and our family. People did find out (unexpectedly, which was a slight bummer), but those months where it was just for us to know was wonderful. Even after more people found out it was still good, we just would have preferred it to be an utter and total secret. I always thought not knowing the gender of our babies was the best feeling and surprise and gift, but this… Keeping this just for us, keep this little life sacred and secret and protected from outside influence… Now that is the best feeling and gift and surprise.

(Also, no one should really be that stunned that we didn’t say anything because after A was born we said multiple times we weren’t going to say a thing with future children. To be fair, we did warn you).

So jumping into the deep end of why we didn’t say anything. We’ve skimmed the surface, now let’s suit up and go deep.

Our pregnancy announcing experience with A was awful. What was supposed to be a joyous and supportive occasion turned out to be the exact opposite and was one of the main influences as to why we didn’t say a word. With A we waited until 6 months to announce. I made the cutest Harry Potter inspired baby announcements myself. It was precious and we were excited. We had been trying for about a year and we were pumped.
And then it all went downhill. Like I said, D and I are fiercely protective parents and people in general. We knew before we got pregnant that we would never post our child publicly on social media. Him being in IT and me just being conscious and aware of the horrors of the world we knew how easy it was to find out information from social media and to use that to harm children.
When we announced our pregnancy, we had the plan of having a private Facebook group and Instagram where family only could follow and keep track with us and the fam. I don’t think either one of us were even fully comfortable with that, but we were compromising our beliefs and comforts to make our family happy.
And then a family member/family members challenged our protectiveness and provoked the mama and papa bear. If you know anything about wildlife it’s that you never provoke a mama around her babies. A nice gentle mama provoked will utterly destroy you.

For those of you that don’t know we had made it absolutely clear that no one was to post our child’s face on social media. We didn’t mind if they posted about her, but again D being IT and me being aware of the dangers, we asked that they didn’t post any PII (Personally Identifiable Information) as well. We also asked very clearly not to text or call asking if I was in labour or if the baby had arrived and that we would announce it when we were ready.
We had family, and friends, outright refuse to follow our wishes as parents and completely ignore our requests.
People said they’d post her pictures if they wanted to because they were [insert family relation here] and they didn’t have to listen to our rules.
A day after my traumatic labour I had people texting me saying, “Well I guess you had the baby since you’re not responding to my texts.” A day or two after coming home from what almost killed me (my labour), we had family calling and texting “did you have the baby? When can we see her? When do we get pictures?”

Literally ignoring all of our requests.
-Please don’t post our child on social media
-Please don’t call or text
-Please wait for us to announce

My incredible husband made it very clear to these people that they absolutely didn’t have to abide by our requests, they absolutely didn’t have to respect us as parents. That was their choice, and it was our choice to protect our family and cut them from our lives. And so we did. There are people in our family/lives who have decided their wants are more important than knowing our children and have never seen A or asked about her once. And we’re okay with that.

Because we also had people ignoring our requests of “don’t ask if the baby is here, let us announce in our own time,” people didn’t get pictures for months. And we were okay with that as well. Respect the parents. It’s not hard. If you desperately want a picture and mom and dad say “okay so please don’t ask us if we’ve had baby,” then don’t ask if they’ve had baby. There was more on this as well, keep reading.

This entire announcing process is probably one of the strongest reasons why we chose not to announce second baby. A lot of family and friends don’t respect us as parents, everyone is more concerned about their wants and desires. People are selfish, and that’s okay, but that means we’re going to be fiercely selfish with our babies.
I made it no secret that my labour with A was literally life threatening. The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. for 2018 was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and I was moments away from being part of that statistic. I made that clear, yet I’ve only had one family member discuss that with me. And that family member is the only person who continues to reach out and try to keep in contact whilst having an insanely crazy schedule and living on the other side of the world. They were also the only people (that we weren’t paying) who helped when A was born.
No one else. No one asked how I was, no one asked how the baby was. She’s three now and still no one has ever asked.
All questions were:
-Is the baby born?
-Is it a boy or girl?
-When can I see them?
-What’s their name?
-Can you send me a pic?
-Can I get a picture?
-Can I get more pictures?
-Why haven’t you responded?
-Why haven’t I seen her?
-I’ve never seen her.
-Why do other people get to see her and I don’t?
-Are you ashamed of her?
-Is there something wrong with her face?
-Why don’t you post her?
-Why can’t I post about her?
-Why are you mad that I posted about where you live?
-What do you mean I can’t make copies of her pictures and send them out to people?

We didn’t want to deal with any of that again, and let me tell you… It has been a breath of fresh air. Though, the people that do/did know about pregnancy 2 still seemed to have the same questions as last time and that was frustrating. I’ve only had a few people ask how I’m doing, and now how the baby is, etc. That’s it. It’s like pulling teeth to get people to care about mom and baby vs what their end goal is.

Going back to the tribe aspect…Why would we want that type of person in our tribe? If you’re not going to ask how mom and baby are, how are you going to be supportive? You can’t.

Here’s another heads up in cased you missed the one after A, if we have more children, we will be keeping it a secret. You will not know. ☺️

I encourage others to do the same. Protect your peace, protect your space, protect your sanity, protect that little soul growing inside of you.

No one needed to know, point blank. No one listened to our wishes or cared about anything more than their gain with A, so why would we want to go through that again?

Reason number 2– unsolicited advice.
Lordy Lordy. The amount of times people offer unsolicited advice to pregnant moms (or moms in general) is appalling. One of my favourite quotes is “giving information implies trust, giving advice implies lack of trust.” This is an incredible feat to accomplish, but I think everyone needs to strive to learn how to give information versus giving advice. Thankfully, it’s one of the things I was taught when obtaining my certifications and I urge everyone to learn the difference and how to offer information.
I got so much unsolicited advice with A. So much. I also got so many horror stories, another thing I think we need to pull away from.
I had so many people telling me, “oh don’t do that you could hurt the baby/yourself.” Things like yoga, yes really. Things like working out, or if you know me, dance.
I had people telling me not to do things in dance class because it made them uncomfortable.

So now with this pregnancy, as a vegan still dancing mama, I sure as heck did not want the unsolicited advice or opinions of, “you can’t be pregnant and vegan.” “You can’t dance, especially en pointe whilst you’re pregnant.”

Being vegan, first off is 100% safe and healthy, if not healthier than being omni. And being a pregnant woman who is, again, fiercely protective, I know my limits. I know when to hold back if something feels unsafe. So, if I felt at any time that me dancing was unsafe, I would stop. I don’t need Overprotective Olivia telling me to stop something because she feels uncomfortable.

Another thing is that I’m a birth worker. I know you might have 5 kids Overprotective Olivia, but this is my job. It’s my job to know what is safe and what isn’t safe for a pregnant person.

With A I danced up until I was unfortunately induced and I had 0 issues. I danced in a recital with her at 4 months pregnant. I was on our company’s competition dance team. I played co-ed soccer when I was pregnant with her until I was 5 months pregnant. I’m not one to stop doing something I enjoy just because I’m pregnant.
With this pregnancy I, again, danced in a recital multiple months pregnant and as of writing this on my arbitrary EDD I’m still dancing.

As of writing this section (a week or two later from the previous), I’m currently snuggling with baby and here’s another piece of unsolicited nonsense I didn’t want to get— “you can’t go that long past your due date! That’s not safe!”

Me getting maternity pics past my “due date”

Another reason we kept it a secret: trauma. (and this is your trigger warning. I don’t go into detail, but certain words/medical terms are mentioned).

As stated before my labour with A, my becoming a mama the first time was incredibly traumatizing. It was incredibly life altering, terrifying, horrible, unexpected, etc etc. List every negative word you can here.
When I found out I was pregnant this time, fear immediately set in. PTSD immediately set in. Dissociation immediately set in.
I knew this pregnancy would be different in terms of what I expected. I knew my chances of having preeclampsia and cholestasis were higher simply because I had, had them before. I didn’t realize how traumatizing that simple fact was. I didn’t realize that fear would paralyze me. And it did to be honest.

I also knew that I wanted a home birth. My heart, my soul, every fiber of my being is called to have a homebirth. Some mamas feel called to have elective C-sections, every atom in my body is called to have a homebirth. I knew saying that to people would elicit shock and judgement. Even after my very traumatizing and unsafe experience with my past midwives and attempted homebirth (well it wasn’t even attempted), I knew homebirth was the safest option for a healthy low risk pregnancy. I knew professional midwifery care vs nurse midwifery care was what I desperately wanted. And I knew saying this after my traumatic life threatening first birth would have people scratching their heads saying, “Really? You’re really going to do that again? Really? Are you that dumb?”

I didn’t want to deal with it. I dealt enough with people’s opinions. I needed support this time more than ever.

Like I said my PTSD hit full force. There were days where I would be so scared and anxious of having Pree/Cholestasis again that I would just sob. I remember texting my midwife one day asking if she could call me because I was in literal tears with fear and couldn’t stop being scared of having a repeat of my first labour.

It was hard enough dealing with the trauma and the flashbacks on my own and with my support team. I didn’t want to deal with other people’s comments.

My mental health was and is and will always be more important than other people’s illusion of entitlement.

This post wasn’t necessary. Again, no one is entitled to know anything about our lives. This was just our way of compromising and heading off the confusion we would have gotten and an easy way of just sending a link when people came to us with “well why didn’t you tell me?”
Well because you’re not entitled to know, but here’s a blog post to answer more in depth.

Common questions:
-If you don’t tell anyone, how do you do baby showers?
We don’t. We didn’t with A, we didn’t with baby 2, we won’t with future babies (if any). The reason is because we’ve had maybe a handful of friends actually buy what was on our registry and what we asked for. Other’s just bought whatever they felt like buying. Which for some people works, for us it does not. We have things on our registry or birthday wishlists for a reason. We love getting gifts for the kiddo(s), but again people have issues sticking to what we ask. Again, that’s okay, but we make it clear that things will be donated to a child in need.

-Your family has a right to know, how can you not tell your family?
No one has the right to know, and this logic is so entitled, self righteous, and predatory. I, the birthing person, have a right to know. My husband, who helped make the baby, has a right to know. My midwife, doula, and birth photographer have a right to know. That’s it. That’s the end of the list. Period. End of Story. No one asks to know when the baby is being conceived or how that experience was, or if they can get pictures, so no one should ask when the birthing person is pregnant or in labour. You do not have the right to anyone else’s life or happiness. Period.

-You’re just being selfish.
I am! I very much am. And I’m very happy with that choice. My husband is very happy with that choice. My supportive friends are very much happy with that choice. Yes, I/we are being selfish. If you’re going to get angry at me for keeping my happiness and sanity sacred, maybe take a second to figure out why me protecting my happiness angers you. Why someone being happy makes you mad.

-How can you have a support system if you don’t tell anyone?
Like I said, a support system, a tribe, is people you trust whole heartedly. People who fill your heart and soul with love and happiness. People who care about you as well as baby. People who want to help you versus just being in it for the pics or info. I had a wonderful support system this time around, which was even more important to me this time than with A because of past trauma. We also don’t live near anyone who other’s would consider the normal support system. We don’t have any family here. You get to choose your tribe, your support system. Just because someone is blood, or you’ve known them forever, does not automatically mean they’re in your tribe. Family and friends can be toxic, heck even strangers can be toxic. As a pregnant person carrying a vulnerable little soul, it is your job to keep that toxicity out.

Now that baby is here, I’m still beyond happy about our decision. This new season of life has been so relaxing recharging from birth, working thru postpartum emotions, sleepless nights, a series of newborn/new mama challenges, and not dealing with texts or messages asking hundreds of questions! I almost dont want to announce baby at all because it has been such a beautiful blessing just having a few people “in the know.” And because we got similar questions with A, *no, we are not and never will be ashamed of our kids. That is not why we don’t post their faces, it’s not why we keep them secret. If you are the type of person to think we’re ashamed of our kids, please remove yourself from our lives. We’re incredibly proud of both kiddos and love them beyond words and are fiercely protective of both.*

Thank you for taking the time to read all of this! Below I will link the other three correlating blogs when they’re posted! If you can’t click them, that just means I haven’t posted them!

My Second Pregnancy Journey
My Birth Story
Dealing With Past Trauma During Pregnancy

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