Lyndsey Gilmour on why she won’t be shouting about her pregnancy – apart from, like, in this piece, anyway…
I had the light-box glowing proudly with the news; a photo of my daughter holding a 12 week scan, grinning from ear to ear: we were buzzing. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops: ‘I’m having a baby!’ But something stopped me uploading my pregnancy announcement to Facebook and I couldn’t be sure what.
We’d already told our close friends and family we were expecting again. There was nothing more satisfying than watching their faces beam as it sank in. Let’s face it, with all the awful events in the news recently, moments like these are what keep us going. Those we see less, we called or texted and, by week 16, I was certain the people who needed to know, did. Yet I still didn’t feel the urge to go public. All the more strange for an over-sharing social media addict who’ll post everything from her breakfast to her five-year-old’s first missing tooth.
Often, in times of uncertainty, I consider what Beyonce would do. But since veiling my face and Instagramming my naked belly was definitely not in keeping with the vibes I was feeling, she wasn’t the one with the answers this time.
Instead, I went right back to my childhood to begin to understand my reserve. You see, my mum was my age when she miscarried. Although I was only seven, I vividly remember my grandma’s arms around me, soothing my uncontrollable sobs as she gently explained what had happened. For this reason I left it as long as I possibly could before telling my daughter about our new addition. While miscarriage is not genetic, being 37, as Mum was then, means my pregnancy is classed as ‘high risk’ so there’s a vulnerability attached to this one that I didn’t experience the first time around. If truth be told, I’m terrified of it and it’s always in the back of my mind.
Even more so because, sadly, it’s all around me. Because baby loss is less of a taboo subject than it was thirty years ago when Mum went through it, we talk about it more now — and that’s clearly a good thing. But, because we are more open about it today, I’m acutely aware of the devastating impact it’s had on friends, extended family and colleagues, particularly in the over 35 bracket. And while all signs suggest a healthy pregnancy for me so far (touch wood), I feel sensitive to those still battling grief, struggling with conception or just coming to terms with the fact they might not be parents at all. The sad statement from Charlotte Church’s camp last month didn’t escape me either. After proudly displaying her small bump at Birmingham Pride, I could only imagine the crushing pain of having to publicly explain her loss a couple of week’s later.
So, it’s not that I’m not celebrating my pregnancy; and it’s not that I’m shutting down all conversation online either – I’ve already made passing references on Facebook and Instagram. But as for the jazz-handed, veil-clad reveal? Forget it. There’s nothing wrong with a show-stopping announcement – I’m certainly not criticising anyone who does one, everyone’s circumstances are different, and, by the way, the irony of me talking about it here is not lost on me. It’s just that right now, while I’m feeling super protective of my bump and sensitive to the feelings of others, I’ll leave the veils to Queen Bey and the lightbox displaying my due date in my own front room.