1/7/11 - Oh, The Secrets We Keep

Written on January 7, 2011

There's a funny thing I never knew about secrets - it's impossible for most people to keep them.  Actually I probably did know it, but since I tend to be the one that people tell secrets to while I keep mine to myself, I haven't really been the victim of secret sharing before.

We found out about this pregnancy on December 22nd, literally one day before hitting the road for our holiday travels, which starting with a skiing trip.  I have been known to enjoy an alcoholic beverage every now and then (Oh, have I mentioned that already? Oops.) particularly during the holidays when spirits are high and particularly when with family (not because I can't tolerate them but because that's just what we do! It's fun!)  I'm not so much of a drinker that people give me a funny look the first time that I decline a drink - in fact, I figured I could decline a few times before it became really obvious.  But I wasn't really in the mood for lying and I knew with DH's siblings it would be even harder, particularly since in lieu of gifts for them this year we were participating in a beer swap.

So we told our families right away.  And we asked them to keep it a secret.  We thought that was a simple enough request, but now we know better, and I want to pass this new found knowledge on to you.

First, know that if you tell your family that you're pregnant, they are going to tell other people.  It's inevitable.  Even if they agree not to tell anyone.  They will.  They'll say something like, "Well, don't tell anyone because it's still a secret but I wanted to let you know... "  They'll think that by saying, "Don't tell anyone" that they've covered their bases, but there's a domino effect here.  Those people will then go to someone else and tell them, with the clause "But don't tell anyone."  You see how this works? 

Secondly, even if they have the best intentions, sometimes things just slip.  They may offhandedly mention to someone how so-and-so couldn't drink over the holidays, and when questioned as to "why" they may not be quick enough to think of a good cover-up and then suddenly the secret it out. 

Know this though, your family's failure to keep your secret is only because they're excited for you, and because they love you.  When deciding whether or not to tell your family early on, you need to decide how prepared you are mentally for the fact that the information is going to be shared, whether you like it or not. 

Most people don't share news of pregnancies early on because of the high risk of miscarrying in those early weeks.  That was certainly our rational.  If something happened we didn't want to have to go through the pain of breaking the bad news to others.  The nice thing (if you can call this a nice thing), is that if you tell your family and they tell others, then it's on them to break the bad news if bad news happens.  And if they are willing to do that, then great.  But it can also lead to some uncomfortable moments if - a few weeks down the line - you run into someone that you didn't even know knew about your pregnancy, and they say something like "congratulations!" because they figured that the good news was out.  If the good news went from being bad news, that's hard enough to share, but add to that all of a sudden you have to deal with the fact that your secret was out, and it's just that much worse. 

So, my final point is simply this - if you decide to tell anyone when you find out that you're pregnant, make sure that you're mentally prepared for the fact that some people just can't keep secrets.  If you're going to get mad at them for leaking your secret, then just don't tell them.  Don't put them in that position.  In those early days, it's hard to not shout it to the world, and you feel like you're just exploding with news and you can't think about anything else.  But once you get past that, I found that it's actually quite easy to pretend that nothing really changed, and writing about my feelings and experiences on this blog (in draft form, of course) let me get my thoughts and emotions out there without being public about it initially.  And it was a great way to record this exciting time and be able to share it all with you retrospectively without any risk of hurt or disappointment. 

So think twice before sharing secrets.  And if someone does decide to confide in you, for the love of god please do not tell anyone else, ok?  Thanks.


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