The first time I got pregnant, I sailed through the first trimester with very few symptoms and very little trouble hiding my growing belly behind flowy tops and a sturdy desk piled high with manuscripts and granola bar wrappers. At thirteen weeks, after my NT scan said all was well, I took a little printout of an ultrasound image and shared it with a few coworkers (who then took care of making sure everyone else at the company heard the news), and the rest is history–and, as these things go, a largely uneventful history at that.
I had an easy and, dare I say, pleasant pregnancy, and aside from the crushing (or rather, spreading) rib pain there at the end, it was pretty much business as usual for me during all nine months, the only notable changes being extra snacks, extra trips to the bathroom, and extra inches on my waistline (and thigh line and butt line and boob line). This time around I feel a little sick now and then, nothing serious, but I’m really grateful to be working from home simply because the appearance of maternity pants at seven and a half weeks would have given me away before I was ready.
(Before the lucky three-month mark, I decide whom to tell based on whether I’d want to discuss a miscarriage with that person. The Internet? Sure. The guy in marketing I only see every few months? Not so much.)
That first time, before I told my coworkers, I was of course bursting with excitement to share my news, but one thing I was lucky to not be bursting with was “morning” (ha) sickness. I didn’t use any sick days, I didn’t have to run out of any meetings with my hand over my mouth, I didn’t have to invent non-suspicious excuses for why I’d be coming in three hours late every day for two months (or more) straight. One of my coworkers tried that last one–”I’m going to be starting my workdays at noon until February! No reason!”–and we all knew exactly what was up. After that pregnancy (her first) turned into a nine-month bout of hyperemesis gravidarum, it was a no-brainer when, two years later, she didn’t come into the office for months in a row and could only work from home in the afternoons and evenings because she “didn’t feel well in the mornings.” I don’t know if she thought she was fooling anyone, but she wasn’t fooling anyone.
In cases like that, I always wonder why women don’t just say they’re pregnant. Isn’t that easier than inventing a bunch of excuses that most people aren’t going to believe anyway?
Obviously, deciding when and with whom someone shares her pregnancy news is a personal decision and based on a variety of factors (maybe she just doesn’t want to receive unsolicited assvice about guaranteed morning sickness cures?), and yet whenever I hear about women with the persistent and, ahem, “productive” kind of morning sickness, I can’t wrap my mind around keeping the secret for long. I say this, of course, as a person who has only this time around experienced what I’d call moderate and short-lived pregnancy-related queasiness, so I’m honestly wondering how the sick and working-outside-the-home women do it.
How? How do you dooooooo it?
(And please know that you have my deepest, deepest sympathy. I can’t even imagine.)
When did you tell your coworkers you were pregnant? How did you decide when to reveal the news, and was morning sickness a factor? If you had first-trimester symptoms that affected your job, how on earth did you survive the weeks or months before you came out with the truth?