baby proof: announcing a pregnancy.

September 18, 2019

I’m fifteen weeks pregnant with my third child, which is not something I ever imagined I’d be writing here. Things are going more or less as well as expected for a very unexpected pregnancy, which is to say that I’ve been exhausted and overwhelmed and occasionally totally panicked. And I’ve also been excited and happy and completely confident. I’ve been sick, like I was with my first two, but intensified this time around and with no signs of letting up. But I’ve been carrying on, writing and working and climbing onto the top bunk to read Henry & Mudge stories for the fiftieth time.

I believe that any pregnant person should proceed precisely as they desire in regards to everything, and in terms of announcing their pregnancy in particular. I know that for myriad reasons—infertility, and histories of miscarriage, and medical complications, and family dynamics, and work expectations, and generally living in under patriarchy—a private first trimester is often preferred or necessary. But it’s dawned on me, too late, really, that this approach probably isn’t the right one for me.

It’s taken me reaching the end of the first trimester of my third pregnancy, to realize that keeping my pregnancies secret in the first trimester made me feel worse, not better. I’ve realized that what might have actually helped me along would have been to talk openly about the news and the surprise and the joy and the muddling through of feelings. I might have let more folks know that I was needing to nap. Or that I woke up most mornings and vomited and then, on the bad days, vomited again after dinner. I might have revealed that I sometimes felt thrilled and that sometimes a dark wave of doubt would sweep over me and I’d wonder how I was going to get through this at all. I wish I’d been able to simply say, for instance, “I actually need to take a break from this photoshoot. I’m pregnant and famished and also I might throw up on your shoes.” Instead, like so many pregnant people before me, I tried mostly to carry on with business as usual, ignoring—forgive me—the elephant in my womb.

Pregnancy is deeply personal. So personal that it’s nearly impossible to broach without hurting someone in the process. I hope I’m able to avoid that here. Despite all evidence to the contrary, we tend to approach the subject of pregnancy with a perspective of its universality. As though every person carrying a child in their uterus—or expectantly waiting on a child in someone else’s uterus—feels the same way about it, or comes to it from the same place, or will finish with the same experience. But as Angela Garbes writes in her book Like a Mother, “There is no right or wrong way to be pregnant…There is only one way—your way, which will inevitably be filled with tears, mistakes, doubt, but also joy, relief, triumph, and love.” In her book, And Now We Have Everything, Meaghan O’Connell articulates a similar sentiment, writing: “With stuff this big, almost any way of looking at it can be true. We all talked like we were going to eventually reach some grand conclusion, some correct stance, but in fact it was different for everybody, impossible to pin down. Was childbirth traumatic or transcendent? Was pregnancy a time of wonder and awe or a kind of temporary disability? …My feelings changed every minute, depending on my mood and on the company I kept.” 

I’m trying to be compassionate with myself about following convention instead following my gut. The reasons to keep an early pregnancy private are many, and valid. For one thing, for so much of a pregnancy, the condition is apparent. Pregnant people walk around with their pregnancy on display. And as anyone who’s been visibly pregnant knows, that display elicits reactions. Some of those reactions are very welcome and some are very exhausting, and all it depends on the particular people in question. But regardless of how we’re feeling, the general expectation is that we should meet that reaction with a smile. It’s no wonder then that some of us decide we’d rather just have a few months of not needing to field questions from strangers at all. 

And of course, there’s the fear of loss. Even in the best case scenarios, pregnancy is a time when something delicate hangs in the balance of fate and health and genes and sheer luck. We’re not, after all, in control of very much at all. When deciding whether or not to share news of a pregnancy, I followed the conventional thinking that in the case of loss, it would be better to have that be private. Sharing news publicly and having to retract it later sounded more painful than privately mourning. (And I know that that’s very much the case for some.)

I also know that deeply embedded notions (and legislation) about pregnant people and whether or not we should have autonomy over our bodies makes this conversation even more difficult, and the choice to delay announcing a pregnancy even more understandable. But for me, keeping my early pregnancies largely private didn’t feel protective as much as it felt isolating. For my part, I’ve come to think that dealing with even the totally mundane discomforts of a healthy pregnancy is more than I really should have tried to carry myself, three times over. I can only imagine that in the case of loss, I’d want to feel even more supported. In the final analysis, as my dad would say, when losing a pregnancy, whether publicly or privately, there would be no way for me to skirt the anguish. I often think of the poignant words of Margot Finn, sharing her story on The Longest Shortest Time. On her decision not to hold her deceased baby, she says: “I think I thought I was saving myself some pain. And in the fullness of time, that seems so naive. And sweet. What a sweet thing for my past self to think I could do for myself—save myself some bit of trauma. But it would have been hard and beautiful and sad. And not holding her is hard and beautiful and sad. And it’s just—there’s no way out of it being sad.”

And so that’s that. There’s no grand conclusion. No correct stance. Just an announcement that I’m pregnant and a feeling that maybe, I’d have been better off saying so earlier. I’m very relieved to be sharing the news now.

For the curious: I’m wearing the Alida Jane Dress, a gift from Fog Linen, which ironically I thought might conceal a pregnancy, but I’ve come to learn has mostly allowed me to feel exceedingly comfortable in my own stretching skin.

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82 Comments

  • Reply Linda Zimmerman September 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Beautiful!

    1
    • Reply Virginia September 18, 2019 at 6:32 pm

      15 weeks as of yesterday with my first – and wishing that no one had ever put the idea of not broadcasting the news into my head. Of all the things occupying my mind, deciding when to tell people feels actually like a burden. Ultimately letting my body decide – no clothes can hide it anymore so we’re coming out this week.

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      • Reply Asma September 18, 2019 at 7:37 pm

        Congratulations!!!!

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      • Reply Tara September 18, 2019 at 8:42 pm

        So beautifully said, Erin. I’ve had so many similar thoughts around the beautiful and tragic and maddening and complicated prospect of bringing life into this world. It’s…a lot. It’s incredible. It’s awesome. It’s…a lot. I’m so happy for you and also, I feel you. I really do.

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    • Reply Amber September 18, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Beautifully written. You succeeded to being inclusive in a refreshing and meaningful way.

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      • Reply Karen October 7, 2019 at 1:44 pm

        Congratulations!!!

        I’m 5 weeks with my third baby and telling the world! Despite having had an early miscarriage between my first and second kids, I’m not letting fear ruin the pleasures of what will more than likely be my last pregnancy. I’d rather celebrate from the moment there’s something to celebrate than worry about something dreadful and out of my control. There’s been so much joy in sharing the news early. Best wishes for the coming months of your pregnancy. If anyone can fit all the love of 5 people into 500 square feet, it’ll be your family!

    • Reply Rachelle September 21, 2019 at 2:25 pm

      Wonderfully written. Your sentiments and reasonings so closely parallel mine – thank you for sharing openly. With my first, I waited until the start of the second trimester to share our news. And I felt SO LONELY in navigating those months without the comfort and support of the people who I would normally offer comfort and support with in all other life scenarios. Why did I do that?! With this pregnancy, 18 weeks along now, I started sharing right away. For me, it was better sharing sooner. Better by miles. Yes, I worried about a pregnancy loss. I knew I’d be sharing that with many people should it happen, but of realized by then I didn’t want to navigate a loss alone, either. I also hoped, if that should happen, to have – even in the smallest way – an impact on removing the stigma, shame, and expected silence that continues to shroud pregnancy loss.

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  • Reply Nicole September 18, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Very well put. I’m just about 8 weeks along with my first (!!!??!!) and share the teeter tottering feelings of joy and doubt. This pregnancy was very much planned but I can’t help but wonder if this or if that, but on the other hand be extremely excited. I also echo your thoughts on feeling isolated in keeping the pregnancy secret. A close relative had a miscarriage further along than I, and I fear that if I share widely I may *jinx* my pregnancy . Thanks for always being so candid. Anyway, here’s to the mish mash of pregnancy emotions – and congratulations!

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 18, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      Oh man, I hear that. That idea that we might jinx it is so hard. As though we have that kind of control! Sending lots of love!

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    • Reply Jessica September 19, 2019 at 7:39 am

      The elephant in my womb Love you.

  • Reply bec September 18, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Congratulations Erin!!!

    I relate to this so much. I’m on my fourth pregnancy right now after three losses and I’m still too early to feel comfortable telling anyone but I do want to share it with everyone. The losses were painful and so, so sad but not sharing doesn’t make it any less so. If anything, like you said, I’d like a bit more support and sympathy and understanding (especially at work!) when I feel completely exhausted and drained.

    Thanks for this post, if anything I just feel a little more seen.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 18, 2019 at 5:53 pm

      Wishing you so much support and all the very best for your pregnancy. May we all feel seen!

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    • Reply Sherrill September 18, 2019 at 6:13 pm

      Congratulations to you all!! I know most of my friends waiting to announce their pregnancies.

      I’ve only announced once & it was far too early as I am childless. But have 20 nieces/nephews 1 great niece & 2 great nephews to keep me busy!

      Waiting us up to their parents but reading your post it all makes sense!!

      Hoping the sickness ceases & the next 6 months are a breeze!! I’m so excited to read all about this new journey!!!

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      • Reply Ingrid September 18, 2019 at 10:45 pm

        Congrats! I’ve been there. After trying for a second baby for years, I got pregnant at 35, had just told everyone, when I miscarried. I was heartbroken, but I felt “off” the whole time. I guess I knew something wasn’t right. At 38, I got pregnant again, and I knew it was going to be okay. At 42, I got pregnant again. I felt so old in the OB’s waiting room, and I worried about being too old to be a good mother. She was my most difficult baby. But oh, the love and joy my three daughters bring me. Being a mother is the very best part of my life. I wish all moms and want-to-be moms the best. And if you don’t want to be a mom, I wish you the best too. There are many ways to be fulfilled and happy.

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    • Reply Margaret September 25, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      Sending so much love your way….I also had three horribly painful losses, followed by a fourth pregnancy (and my baby was born five weeks ago!!). I was afraid to feel confident about the pregnancy until almost the very end, and even though I shared the news with friends after the first trimester, I couldn’t really communicate or share with others just how scary and stressful it was, even while being totally exciting and joyful at the same time. In fact, as crazy as it sounds there were (brief) moments when I wished I wasn’t pregnant, just because it felt too painful to hope. I just wanted to let you know that I see you, I’ve been there, and you are not alone in this.

  • Reply Jordan September 18, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Thank you for using such inclusive language ❤️

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 18, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      <3

    • Reply Charlotte September 19, 2019 at 5:03 am

      Thank you, for just writing this in an inclusive language in a calm and clear manner, not making a fuss about it or broadcasting it as something special, by thus declaring it mirrors your (and hopefully our) reality and understanding that humans just “are”. Thanks 🙂

      1
  • Reply Audrey September 18, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Lovely post. Congrats to you and your family!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 18, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      Thank you.

  • Reply Maria September 18, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Beautiful, Erin! Congratulations! I am just about 6-7 weeks pregnant, 10 years after having my son…feeling I would like to share this with more people in my life, but also happy more know about this one than they knew about my first. And still, a little scare a week ago ended up with an early scan that didn’t detect an embryo yet. The two weeks waiting until the next scan are filled with hope that it was indeed way too soon to detect a heart beat and some days, dread that I might be another woman whose baby would not develop. And so…what will I do with all these people who share my “secret”? But I have hope and faith that things happen for our highest and best and will deal with whatever may come my way…

    • Reply Emily September 18, 2019 at 6:25 pm

      For me, those people we told early are now my support network through our loss. I’m really grateful we have them now. I hope your little human is doing okay in there! I’ll be think about you

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  • Reply Emily September 18, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks so much for taking about this!

    I’m reeling from a recent pregnancy loss right now, and for me, I’m so glad we shared our pregnancy early on. I’m really glad our memories from this time will include celebration and joy and not just grief. Most of all I’m so glad to have the support of my community right now. I’ve never felt more raw and vulnerable but I’ve also never felt more held and supported. I can’t imagine feeling this sad and trying to deal with it alone.

    Anyway, I’m so glad to be seeing/hearing/reading more discussion in lots of places recently about diverse experiences around pregnancy, miscarriage, birth, and postpartum!

    Sending you hopes for a cozy, restful, and healthy pregnancy, and hopefully a relief from nausea soon!

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    • Reply Katie September 18, 2019 at 8:17 pm

      <3 Emily, I'm so sorry for your loss. I agree with this so much. In our first pregnancy, we didn't tell anyone right away and when we lost that one, we had to face the awful choice of either not telling anyone about our loss OR telling them about our pregnancy and our loss at the same time. In our second, we told our families and close friends right away, and I ended up telling most of my coworkers. We lost that pregnancy two weeks ago, at 14 weeks, and as awful as it has been, I'm so relieved not to be going through this grief alone. I think part of the issue with keeping pregnancy secret in the first trimester is that we also end up keeping so many losses secret–and with secrecy often comes shame.

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      • Reply Katiie September 18, 2019 at 8:18 pm

        Also–huge congratulations to you, Erin! I hope this is a safe and happy pregnancy, and that you feel less nausea soon!

      • Reply Emily September 18, 2019 at 11:17 pm

        Katie, I’m so sorry for both your losses. I’m glad you have your community around you for this one. It’s such a deep and encompassing sadness. But it really does help to know we’re not alone.
        Solidarity and love!

        1
    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 18, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      Sending you love. I’m so glad that you feel buoyed in such a difficult time.

  • Reply Rachel September 18, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Congratulations Erin! What a wonderful surprise. Can’t wait to read all about the adventures with your new little one. I’ve been a longtime reader, since you were pregnant with Faye. You and James were looking for your current apartment, so it’s been a while! Wishing you a safe and healthy pregnancy, and hoping your nausea subsides sooner rather than later.

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  • Reply SJ September 18, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Congrats to you all! I couldn’t keep a secret and was super sick so told lots of people about both my pregnancies, one of which ended at 8 wks. I didn’t do a “public” announcement necessarily but with the folks I did tell I had no regrets telling early. This will probably come across mean spirited but not intended that way, more just reflecting from a different perspective – but with the one miscarriage + 18 months into an attempt for a second child with hopes waning I often wish people wouldn’t announce publicly at all. I’m off social media bc public announcements are super painful in a way individual friends telling me their news is not, and then on top of that I feel extra crappy for being upset by someone else’s happy news. I understand that’s not really feasible or practical for people more in the public eye and more transparency probably better serves us all. Hope you feel better soon!

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 18, 2019 at 8:33 pm

      Gosh, it doesn’t come across as mean spirited at all. It sounds painful and complicated because it *is* painful and complicated. I’m so sorry if this was difficult for you to read.

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  • Reply Noemi September 18, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Erin,
    So well written, so beautifully told. I think about this often. I’m now a mom of a 16 months girl, but before her I lost a pregnancy at 5 months. At that point the news, so cautiously hidden the first 3 months, was out and so I had to deal with people’s reaction to what happened. I asked everyone for privacy and I shut off. Not wanting to talk about it for fear of hearing the “sorry for your loss” that would have made everything more real. The shutting off brought me to not wanting to even try to have a baby for another 2 years, for fear. And looking at it now I wish I didn’t shut off. I wish I talked to people and I wish I opened up more. It would have helped me so much moving forward, feeling supported and facing my fears. There is so much to say about announcing pregnancies and about losing pregnancies. And I agree with you, ultimately it’s a completely private choice, but it should be normalized through open conversation. Thank you, thank you for this post ❤️

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  • Reply Lizzie September 18, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Congratulations Erin, I always love to hear your family’s news! Thought I would chime in with a story of the best “womb vs room” pun I’ve heard, I’m a nurse practitioner and went to a conference on contraception where one of the talks was called “in the womb where it happens” in reference to the Hamilton song 🙂

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  • Reply Liesl September 18, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    How exciting Erin. You’re right, pregnancy is very personal. I would like to add though that I always told everyone of our new arrival after I told my husband. I reason being is I have been on that side too where when nothing is said, you feel you have no right to ask for comfort and prayers for a new angel and a lost child. I’d rather share my joy and sorrows, if need be and feel comfortable asking for support of any kind when needed. I wasn’t even sure I’d share this here because the subject is so taboo and deeply personal. May your new babe grow strong, and your family be filled with joy as you get ready for two new feet.

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  • Reply Beth September 18, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Thank you for speaking about pregnancy with such an empathetic voice. I’ve never had kids (being a bit on the young and single side, and while that may be the way things go for some people, I don’t think that would be the best way for me), but have had several friends speak of (and I’m sure, many others suffer in silence) their struggles with pregnancy – whether excessive morning sickness, unexpected pregnancies, or even baby loss. I’m very grateful that it increasingly seems like people are making the choice to share or not to share early on, rather than feeling like they have to follow convention. I hope the rest of the pregnancy is smoother sailing!

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  • Reply Gee September 18, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Our first two kids are just about the same ages, also a boy and a girl. I’ve followed along while pregnant with you twice—and it’s so strange—but I almost was again. I had a miscarriage on Friday just before your announcement. I told too many people I think this time, because in some ways I just thought it’s the third time, business as usual. I wish we lived in a world where people know how to react to miscarriage. But we’ve made it a secret thing for so long it feels like every person I told was at a loss. “You’ll make another one,” “you shouldn’t have slept with your phone in your room,” etc. With a platform like yours I definitely would have waited as well. And probably will next time, if I’m lucky enough to have a next time. Congrats. I’ll be following along as usual.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 18, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      I’m so sorry. And I so agree that we flounder so badly in conversations about miscarriage. Sending so much love and hope for healing.

  • Reply Sarah September 18, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    The range of emotions of exhaustion and panic and excitement and total confidence ring so true as I am 32 weeks with my 2nd child, conceived way earlier than ever planned. But here we are, prepping our closet nursery in our rent controlled SF studio apartment for a 2nd kid. I’m always thankful to have your social justice simple living family oriented blog to turn to as a reminder of choices we can make. Yahoooooooo babies.

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  • Reply Kellyn September 18, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage — I had planned on being very upfront with everything before the first trimester was over, even in knowing that I might not go to term, because I did want to be clear and open and supported if necessary.

    I had the miscarriage at 6 weeks, found out at 8. And then I was glad that most people didn’t know because I couldn’t handle the perceived pressure of everyone wondering when I would be pregnant again. Trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage was emotionally difficult, and I just couldn’t have handled anything else on top of it. I told family, some friends, and a coworker who saw me break down in front of a long line of 8th graders holding their school lunch trays on my first day back from my d & c.

    I hope your pregnancy progresses without complications and that this nausea subsides. Have appreciated your honesty on pregnancy in the past – particularly the post you linked to above.

    And also sending compassion to your readers who struggle with reading pregnancy announcements. I hear you <3

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  • Reply Emma September 18, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    This made me cry. Thank you, Erin. And congratulations- I’m delighted for you and James.

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  • Reply Colleen September 18, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    I’m struggling with infertility but am totally with you on feeling better after putting it out there. Looking forward to taking advantage of all your small space baby advice when we finally get our rainbow surprise. xo

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 18, 2019 at 8:45 pm

      I’ll be thinking of you!

  • Reply J September 18, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Congratulations and wishing you a healthy pregnancy!

    When I had a difficult loss at the end of the first trimester, I was glad I hadn’t told a lot of people. I needed support, but from those I was closest to. And I needed a long time to recover physically and emotionally, and I didn’t want to have to talk to a lot of people about it. If a lot of people had continued to congratulate me and to ask how my pregnancy was progressing, I don’t think I could have handled it. So while I am on board with telling those closest to you, I was really glad that I hadn’t told more than that at the time. Since then I have opened up about this loss, as I think it’s important to talk about losses, but I was able to wait to do that when I was ready. And the only reason I was able to wait until I was ready was because I hadn’t told anyone when I was pregnant. Just another perspective.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 18, 2019 at 10:17 pm

      Totally understand that.

    • Reply Emily September 18, 2019 at 11:23 pm

      So sorry for your loss! Glad you were able to get support in the way that was right for you!

  • Reply Rebecca McKeever September 18, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Congratulations Erin! What a lucky babe to land in such a sweet family. I am a Mom of one in a small Brooklyn apartment and love seeing all your ways to love life in a tiny apartment with kids! Do you think you’ll stay where you are with one more in the mix? I’m sure the answer to that might not be known yet but am excited to watch your family continue to blossom wherever that may be. So excited for you all!

  • Reply Tamara September 19, 2019 at 12:14 am

    I think you put into words something I felt but didn’t realize. I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd while visiting my sister in Switzerland and one night at someone’s house for dinner, I told them I was pregnant. They were shocked I’d said anything because it’s very much not the culture there to tell until the first trimester is over. I felt a little shamed for telling. But the idea of not sharing the news had never occurred to me because that’s just not who I am and also I had hyperemesis gravidarum with both pregnancies and regularly had to go to the hospital for IV fluids. I needed a TON of support. I love that you realized what you would have preferred but also are choosing to be kind with yourself about your choices. It’s all so fraught, isn’t it? Hear’s to not feeling ashamed of our choices! Also, as the momma of a trans boy who may one day birth a child, if he chooses, thank you so much for the inclusive language. <3

  • Reply Emmie September 19, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Congratulations! I am 22 weeks pregnant with my first, and I relate so much to your thoughts on the conflicting nature of pregnancy. I simultaneously want it to last forever and be over!

  • Reply kate September 19, 2019 at 5:55 am

    Congratulations! So many emotions reading this post, as we’ve been talking about having babies of our own soon and feel utterly scared and angry and slightly hopeful about this.

  • Reply Rebekah September 19, 2019 at 7:01 am

    31+ weeks with my second, and while I chose not to make any social media announcement, I did begin telling those closest to me almost as soon as I found out. Then, at about 5 or 6 weeks when the nausea and exhaustion really took hold of my daily life, I was more and more open because I just couldn’t keep it from people – one day I forgot to pick up my friend’s child from school because I was napping! Anyway, I’m glad I let those in my life hold this news with me, they met me with such kindness and tenderness and understanding.

    Congratulations on this wonderful surprise!

  • Reply Ros September 19, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Congratulations!

    I am currently 37 weeks pregnant with my third (I think that’s my first time saying anything online…) and we have never “announced” anything. We’ve told people as we see them, but any social media/facebook announcement has been post-birth. For me/us, that’s absolutely the right decision.

    In this case, even more so – we found out about 15 weeks ago that our baby has a (fixable via surgery, but oh god, still) heart condition that, in 30% of cases, is linked to genetic syndromes that are not viable. And it took 3 weeks to get the results of the genetic testing, and then use that to decide if we were terminating a pregnancy 26 weeks in (for the record: we chose not to, because the eventual prognosis has a strong leaning towards survival and a normal life and the alternative was horrible. The alternative being horrible does not mean it didn’t come close to being the best option on the table regardless, and I am eternally thankful that I live somewhere where it WAS an option). I am very, very thankful that I was not dealing with that stress on top of people wanting to talk about babies and on top of people wanting to give their opinions about what we should do. We talked to close people, but that’s basically it.

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  • Reply Hazel September 19, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Congratulations to you and your family! I adore your blog and have enjoyed reading it in the last few years. I am also a mother of two with a full-time career! I was fortunate to have two healthy pregnancies and deliveries, but my morning sickness for both pregnancies was confoundingly challenging. My best wishes to you!

  • Reply Rachel Redmond September 19, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Erin, this so beautifully encompasses what has been missing from most conversations of pregnancy and loss. In my mind, what’s been missing is nuance. And complexity. And the unique individual variation of the pregnancy, loss or infertility experience.

    I shared the news of my first pregnancy right away. I literally felt like I couldn’t keep it in. There was so much joy and amazement and disbelief at how differently I could feel in the matter of a few days. I was also moving away from my friends in Santa Fe at the end of my first trimester. I wanted to share the joy I was feeling with them before I left town. I also remember saying to them, “I know it’s early to share the news, but if anything happened to this pregnancy I would tell everyone about it anyway”.

    Perhaps that was a premonition or perhaps it was just true. So when my pregnancy ended at 21 weeks, I was grateful that I’d been able to enjoy (even when I was feeling miserable) every moment of my pregnancy with others and with myself. I cherish those weeks of wonder and exuberance. Thank you for writing this.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 19, 2019 at 10:46 am

      Thinking of you always my sweet friend.

  • Reply Cynthia September 19, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Oh what a delightful surprise, Erin! Congratulations to all of you. Can’t wait to meet your winter bundle!

  • Reply Devon DeMint September 19, 2019 at 10:49 am

    I could not have told more people I was pregnant my third time around. I told everyone: close friends, women I had just met at my skateboarding collective, my extended and immediate family. When I miscarried, I had to go around an un-tell everyone, what most people try to avoid in keeping the news a secret in the first place. As it turns out that was the most healing part. I could not believe how many women had had similar experiences and kept those feelings and traumas to themselves in isolation. The feeling I have of support from all those that loved me in my loss is what gives me the courage to try again someday. Thank you for sharing this and for acknowledging all the different and great ways we go about making families.

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    • Reply Emily Strong September 24, 2019 at 9:21 am

      Yes! This! It has been so healing to hear from so many people about their losses. It’s such a common experience but so rarely spoken of. It really does help to know we’re not alone.

  • Reply EK September 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    My husband was a surprise third baby — so I’m personally very thankful for his parents and their little surprise. 🙂 Thanks for the lovely post and for sharing all of the joyful and overwhelming feelings of a new and unexpected pregnancy. Best wishes!

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  • Reply Juliette September 19, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Congratulations Erin (and James!) How very exciting and wonderful!

  • Reply Sam September 19, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    I’m so conflicted with how I felt about keeping my pregnancy under wraps for the whole first trimester. In some ways I love the intimacy is provided between me and my partner. We kind of relished in having this amazing secret just between the two of us. In other ways it sucked SO MUCH. I was so incredibly sick. I was sick for my whole pregnancy but the first trimester was awful – puking at minimum once a day but more often 2-3 times a day, and losing close to 15 pounds because of it all. I was exhausted so I either didn’t see people because I didn’t want them to be able to tell i was pregnant by how sick I was or I pushed myself to hard to pretend I was fine and then suffered for it the next day. We hope to try for a second child soon and I’m still grappling with what the right path for us will be about announcing. My good friend told me just a week after she found out because she wanted someone to share the excitement with, but also knew if something happened, that she had someone to share the suffering with instead of her and partner shouldering that pain alone. So many things to think about – but I completely agree that I wish people felt more comfortable doing what they felt best for them instead of going along with what society has made out to be the ‘proper’ way of dealing with pregnancy.

  • Reply Maggie September 19, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Congratulations! Such a lovely post, it brightened my day to read your wonderful news this morning! I hope the nausea passes soon, I can relate to the stage of feeling terrible but not yet open with those around you about the pregnancy. I’ve been reading since before Faye was born and constantly referred to your baby proof posts as I anxiously awaited the birth of my first (nearly a year ago now! how time flies). Wishing you and your family all the best!

  • Reply Alexia September 19, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Many Congratulations Erin to you and your growing family. I have no doubt you will handle three children as brilliantly as you do two ! I hope you feel better soon .

  • Reply Rosie September 19, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    I love the way that you are you and how you share that. Congratulations on this sweet blessing!

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    • Reply milo September 19, 2019 at 6:06 pm

      I can’t say it better than above so I’ll just second it! <3

  • Reply Kate September 19, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    What wonderful news – congratulations!! You have such an honest way of honoring the complexities of all we women carry. Thank you for sharing and encouraging, as always.

    1
  • Reply Judy September 19, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Congratulations!!! I hope all continues to go well, and I’m sure it will. Our daughter and son-in-law also had a third and unexpected child and he is the most precious little human being. My husband is also a third and unexpected, and he is very precious too! All will be well. Sending warm hugs your way.

    1
  • Reply Annie September 19, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Congratulations, Erin!

    I love how you didn’t hide the fact that it was unexpected, which I’m sure a lot of women can relate to.

    My first child is one year old today :)!

    1
  • Reply Stephanie September 19, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Being pregant with my 6th (!), this is something I’ve thought of. I think that there doesn’t always need to be a grand public announcement, but I always quietly tell people as soon as I know. I like being supported through the first icky, emotional, difficult first trimeester, and if it does end prematurely, I’d like my grief to be acknowledged and sympathized with. Also, a life is a life, and should be celebrated, no matter how brief or seemingly insignificant!

    Congratulations for your expanding family!

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  • Reply Sarah September 19, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Beautiful post, Erin. I do agree with you in many ways, because the first trimester was the most difficult for me with both children. Also, when I hid my very first pregnancy and miscarriage I did feel quite isolated… almost as if I had to be ashamed that I’d lost a baby… And so very scared that I couldn’t have another. I think we could all support each other more if we discontinued the hiding of loss and unexpected pregnancies and all the other things that come along with having a baby… I hate to admit it but I’m loving the series Working Moms on Netflix because it’s so out loud with different issues… and Amy Schumer’s “Growing” had me laughing out loud! Xoxo Congratulations old friend! Much love to you and your family!

  • Reply Jessica September 20, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Beautiful post! Very bouying to hear that lots of women feel conflicted about this. It’s not easy! For our first and only, we told some people right away (the people we’d want to support us if things didn’t work out), for some we waited until it was very obvious (work), and the rest we told somewhere in between. Something that I hadn’t considered, but would change next time, is that I so wanted a “natural” and “non-medicalized” pregnancy, that I forced myself to be ok with waiting until 10-12 weeks for our first appointment, which is when our midwives normally had people in for their appointments. In the meantime, I was so ill that I was basically subsisting on diet coke and potato chips and throwing up every single thing that went into my body (I could barely even brush my teeth — often I just resigned myself to throwing up during/after brushing). I now realize that things don’t have to be so binary — waiting to tell (family, doctors, midwives, friends, etc.) works for some, but it’s not the only option! I should have felt comfortable doing what my body probably needed instead of sticking to a script I’d prewritten in my head about what my pregnancy needed to look like.

    If you ever feel comfortable sharing, it would be really beautiful to hear more about your experience finding a provider/birthing location, especially given the changes to NYC’s birth center landscape in the past several years. My kiddo was born in a city with plenty of hospital based birth centers and midwives, and now that I’m in NYC, I’m pretty nervous about the prospect of potentially having another baby in a place that isn’t quite as unmedicalized-birth friendly. (Totally understand if it’s too personal a topic!)

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  • Reply Samantha September 21, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Congratulations and thank you, as everyone else has said. Telling our family earlier than we had intended ended up being so important with my first pregnancy. Thanks for putting all this into lovely, eloquent words.

    1
  • Reply Chelsea September 21, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    This is so beautifully written and you voiced many things I didn’t even realize I was feeling. I’m 15 weeks along with my second and feeling about as sick and tired (oh.so.tired) as it seems you are. I know we don’t know each other but reading your experience felt so comforting, like solidarity. I suddenly didn’t feel so alone. It’s funny how pregnancy can all at once be so alienating and uniting. Thanks for keeping it real out here and congrats on that sweet babe.

  • Reply Joanna September 22, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Congratulations! I always love the way you put things. I don’t know you (duh), but you seem to be a great matriarch for your family. I’m excited for you from across the coast and know you and your family will be great.

  • Reply Addie September 23, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Congratulations and Sympathies both. I just had a very unexpected baby and have not yet left behind all of the mixed feelings of bringing a person into this world, but he is oh so precious and loved and I know your little one will be too.

  • Reply Kate September 23, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Congratulations! I write to express my gratitude that you wrote this post in a way that acknowledged that people of all genders can be pregnant. It is noticed and appreciated. All the best wishes to you and your growing family.

  • Reply ROSE September 24, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Erin im sorry to say this to you but are you being responsible with the environment? there’s already too many of us and now you don’t have one, nor two, but 3 kids!!!! overpopulation is serious!
    not only co2 levels going up because meat consumption, but ALL the earth’s resources are being devastated too quickly because we are too many.
    I know this will never be posted because you dont like it when someone disagrees with you; i’ve seen it before. And being told not very nice things (without being disrespectful is not your thing) about your parenting decisions is not easy to hear either, i know this for a fact because it happens to me when someone tells me anything about my girl. But this is not responsible from you or your husband. Sorry

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 24, 2019 at 8:55 pm

      The number of comments that I decide not to publish are extremely few and they typically fall into the category of spam or deliberately cruel comments that don’t contribute to the conversation. That said, for the past week I’ve been on the receiving end of a marked uptick in negative commentary. Most of the notes that I’ve received from people along these lines this week have been either sent to me directly via email or direct message, and so I haven’t responded directly publicly, but I’ll take a moment to do that now. James and I had made a conscious decision to have only two children, in part because of environmental concerns that you mention. When I became pregnant unexpectedly and due to failed contraception this summer, I was, in fact, distraught primarily because I felt irresponsible, ashamed, unsure of how to proceed. I felt devastated, which is the last feeling I’d wish on anyone learning of a pregnancy. I’m not here to make excuses for myself or to paint myself as morally or ethically superior to anyone else, but I will say that I’ve chosen hope. Ultimately, I decided that to terminate a pregnancy on behalf of the climate would be to accept nihilism and defeat. We have tremendous work to do and I don’t have all of the answers for how that work will be done. I do know that humans—and specifically those of us in the developed world—have caused the disaster we face and that it’s up to us to do something to fix it.

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      • Reply Jessica September 25, 2019 at 4:13 pm

        Erin — this is just beautiful, well beyond what should ever be expected (if expectations are ever appropriate) of you as a somewhat public (but mostly private because, really, we cannot know all that’s going on in your home/life(/apparently bed for some people who feel that this is an appropriate place for their inquiries). I sincerely appreciate your sharing these details — I, and I bet a lot of your readers, have experienced scenarios where we wish to be environmentally friendly and ethical, and then experience a change in our best laid plans. While of course not in any way necessary, it is nice to read how you thought through and processed this change in your plan — we’ve all been there, and none of us is perfect, and it’s nice to be reminded that we’re in it together. And I am so sorry that you’ve been on the receiving end of questions/statements like these.

        2
    • Reply Tara September 25, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      Environmental issues are extremely important, but kindness towards our fellow humans are as well. Please just think for a few moments about what how you would feel if someone criticized your extremely personal life choices in the same way. Erin puts herself out there every day, and has done so, so much to educate and get readers involved in making positive choices for the planet—all from a gracious and non-judgmental perspective. She did not come here to ask opinions about whether she should continue with her pregnancy or not, so I have to wonder what good you think you could possibly have been doing by writing this comment. Please, before putting negativity out into a world that certainly doesn’t need any more, think before you share. (Also, if you have to start and end your comment with “sorry,” that’s a really good indicator that what you’re saying is negative and hurtful, and you know it.)

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      • Reply Anya September 28, 2019 at 11:08 am

        Thank you for writing this first. I totally agree with you— beautifully said.

    • Reply Chelsea White September 25, 2019 at 8:22 pm

      I’ve been so upset by this comment since I read it this morning (and that even more people have reached out to Erin with negative commentary via other channels). While the environment is an incredibly critical issue right now, it’s fate does not hinge on whether Erin has a third child. GOOD GRIEF. Like others have said, Erin has fostered a beautiful, transparent community on her blog by letting us into the personal corners of her life. She is nothing if not a ray of hope in this world, championing the environment among other important issues including women’s issues. So to come on here and shame her for her private decision to have another child is so ludicrous and anti-woman to me.

      Also, the U.S. birthrate is down again which means there’s actually not an overpopulation problem in our country.

      https://www.npr.org/2019/05/15/723518379/u-s-births-fell-to-a-32-year-low-in-2018-cdc-says-birthrate-is-at-record-level

  • Reply K October 5, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I am an architect + a mother and have felt the burden of trying to conceal/protect a pregnancy at work. I’ve also come to the conclusion that it is more liberating to be open about my life transitions and request support when needed instead of trying to soldier on with business as usual.

    Pregnancy is a lighting rod for other’s issues. It makes us look forward and into the past, even when we aren’t the one expecting.

    Reversing climate change will require the work of several generations. We will need people in the future to care about our planet. I can see the benefit to another conscientious child, even if the math doesn’t work out as a one to one replacement in our own family unit.

  • Reply verena October 6, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Beautiful sharing Erin ! I wish you a sweet pregnancy !

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