Pregnancy

Why I’m No Longer Sticking to the 12-Week Pregnancy Rule

Guest Post: Rebecca Malpassabout 1 year ago4 min read

When we first started trying for a baby I did what I imagine everyone else does; I began to dream. I dreamt of the way I would surprise my husband. I imagined the way I’d tell my dad; with a set of nesting dolls, one for him, one for me and a tiny little one for the new baby.

12 week rule

But, of course, we’d wait until 12 weeks had passed before telling our family and friends; as that’s what you’re supposed to do, and we wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone.

I never imagined, however, the struggle we would face and that all of those dreams would be taken from us.

After two years of failing to conceive, we began our fertility journey.

Anyone who has experienced needing fertility support will know what an arduous journey it is.

The tests alone require a strength that I never knew existed within me.

We had gotten to the point where we knew what the issue was and were just about to start treatment.

And then we found out that by some miracle, I had fallen pregnant naturally.

We cried. We hugged.

And we began to think about our future, while vowing not to say a word to anyone until the 12 weeks of risk were gone.

But we never made it to 12 weeks.

Losing our miracle

After only a week of knowing, we lost our miracle.

The blind panic that shot through me at the sight of the blood will be with me forever.

As readily as I knew I was pregnant, I knew I was about to lose my baby.

The rest of that day happened in an emotionally painful blur.

Sitting in A&E, waiting for four hours, my heart seemed to crumble more with every passing minute.

When we got home, we were emotionally spent.

Devastated beyond belief and with aching hearts, we knew that we’d need support.

So we decided to tell our family.

It was a quiet and slow announcement. We cried to those closest and grieved openly.

I didn’t want our miracle baby to be a secret, I wanted the world to know about them, to know that they brought us joy, that we loved them and that from the moment we saw the positive, we became parents.

I wanted them to be remembered and I wanted people to understand the pain we were going through.

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Breaking the 12-week rule

Six months passed before we could bring ourselves to carry on with fertility treatment.

It was a long time punctuated with moments of pure grief.

There were moments when I wondered if we’d ever manage to get pregnant again, but we did.

It took treatment to get there but we finally conceived.

Immediately, we both knew we would tell those closest to us straightaway.

It was going to be emotionally draining waiting for that 12-week security blanket to arrive, and we needed the support.

It took a matter of days for us to realize that something else would force us to tell everyone else: hyperemesis gravidarum.

From four weeks I was incredibly unwell and spent a vast majority of time visiting the hospital. It would’ve been impossible to keep to ourselves.

It was at this point that I realized the redundancy of the 12-week rule.

I’m quite an independent person and usually power through difficulties alone, however, no one prepared me for how difficult pregnancy loss would be.

It was hard with support, let alone by yourself. I needed to have people around me to help.

Pregnancy changes us.

We instantly begin to think of the future, to plan, dream and wonder.

We begin to establish a future life for ourselves and we settle into the idea of it all.

When we lose a pregnancy we lose not only the little life that is taken from us, but the future as we hope it will be too. It’s a loss that is felt on such a colossal scale.

When I started to tell other women that I had miscarried they began to tell me about their experiences, the ones they kept secret.

So many little lives unspoken, so much grief unsupported, so many hands not held and comfort not given.

It breaks my heart that these women had to endure the pain of loss alone.

And that is why I am no longer sticking to the 12-week rule.

We shouldn’t have to suffer in silence, our grief is valid, as are our journeys to it.

The life of the babies lost are just as important as those who live.

In loving memory of our March Miracle. X

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