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The Real Reason the First Trimester Sucks

The first rule of first trimester is: Don’t talk about first trimester.

That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. Pregnant women aren’t supposed to breathe a word about their early pregnancies to anyone but their doctors and maybe their partners (but only if they can be trusted). It’s because we’ve been told that we’re not supposed to mention early pregnancy for fear of something going awry and having to suffer what I guess what used to be the embarrassment or shame of a miscarriage. I also think, on a more superficial level, pregnant women are just supposed to keep their pregnancies under wraps until they’re a third in to keep everyone from having to hear about the pregnancy for a full damn nine months—who wants to hear about that?

RELATED: Why Early Pregnancy Should Not Be a Secret

But really, what’s the point of keeping an early pregnancy secret (unless you’re truly a private person)? First of all, a pregnant woman’s close friends and family already know she’s pregnant and have to pretend she’s not—there’s the sudden excuses of not drinking, or giving up our afternoon coffee run, or not being able to stay out past 9:30 p.m. It’s more a charade than anything else, where the friends pretend they don’t know the woman is pregnant and the woman pretends she’s not pregnant and everybody just acts cute and coy and is ultimately annoyed and people have to pretend that they’re surprised by the announcement.

As a big-mouth type, I can’t imagine suffering in silence through one of the most difficult experiences a woman can go through. Where do you get catharsis, or advice on what to do to ease the physical pain, the funny animal GIFs to lighten your spirit?

One of the reasons why we should end the secrecy of the first trimester (again, only for those who aren’t avowed private types) is that the first trimester sucks so bad. There’s the morning sickness, the newly sensitive gag reflex (I’m well into my second trimester and sometimes just brushing my teeth gives me the dry heaves), the exhaustion, the achy breasts—not to mention the fear and excitement and everything. The ultimate punishment is not being supposed to talk about this, with close friends, with family, with work. My first pregnancy I blabbed to my family practically the moment the pee dried on the pregnancy test but this time around I waited until the second trimester so I could tell all the grandparents at once and it was torture. I hated not being able to tell my mother about the pain of the genetic testing process, of not being able to ask for extra help while we were moving, of not being able to explain why having a sinus infection was so much worse than usual.

On top of that, women who have had miscarriages should be able to talk about them, if they want to. As a big-mouth type, I can’t imagine suffering in silence through one of the most difficult experiences a woman can go through. Where do you get catharsis, or advice on what to do to ease the physical pain, the funny animal GIFs to lighten your spirit? I had a friend who had a miscarriage last year who told me that what really bugged her about the experience was that she and her husband would have to start the process of trying all over again. She was being semi-facetious, but I had never thought of that perspective before. I was glad she told me.

RELATED: How to Talk About Your Miscarriage

I keep alluding to private people in this piece, because clearly, I don’t know what it’s like to be one. I’m a talker and a sharer and it’s what helps me sort through issues and figure out how I feel about them. Privacy is more of an admirable trait than it used to be, because it shows restraint and humility, traits that are increasingly diminishing in people these days. But for those of us who do (talk, share, complain), it would be nice to be able to do so when we need it most: when we’re gagging, puking, aching, tired and mourning.

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