Culture is a funny thing. It’s like a pass for inappropriate behaviour. More and more I’ve been noticing some of the strange customs in our society, which are totally accepted, but also totally weird.
For example, the fact that such a fuss is made about the way we feed our offspring for the first months of their lives; the fact that we care so deeply about the colour or the style of the threads which we use to keep our children warm and dry – the fact that different styles denote gender at all.
If you give it serious consideration, it’s all really rather odd.
Like with breastfeeding, if you break down the fact that lots of people still think it’s disgusting to openly and publicly display ‘that’, well it’s because technically they’re sexualising the most natural and innocent thing we can do. Otherwise why in the world is it something to even talk about? After all, changing a nappy – nope, not something to discuss; mopping up posit – not especially noteworthy; bathing one’s baby – only merits a mention in terms of its loveliness.
So why on earth do we make such a thing about a hungry baby?
Like I said, it’s because some weirdos have sexualised it to such a bizarre degree that it has lost its innocence – nothing to do with the mother flaunting a taboo and everything to do with a few people (but nonetheless too many) being quite stupid. And weird.
Anyway, that was just one of my observations. The main one I wanted to discuss here is our obsession with the secrecy surrounding early pregnancy.
I don’t understand it.
Should I Announce My Pregnancy Before the First Scan?
In fact, second time around with Elfin I was far less secretive than I was with Pixie, because I realised that the only motivation I had for keeping it to myself – my previous employment status – was long gone (thank Gahhhhhhd). The only other reason for not shouting it from the rooftops was that culturally it is not the done thing. But whyyyyy?
Even those women who are not working often seem to follow this ‘rule’. And I’m calling it out for what it is: it’s plain weird. The scan itself doesn’t even provide the result which we purport to be waiting for, which comes through the post a week or two later!
Please do not misunderstand me – I am fully, painfully aware that many, many families endure tragic losses before conceiving their rainbow babies, or even more devastatingly, they may not go on to have children at all. And in those types of circumstances, where there’s repeated loss, I do appreciate their reasons. The distress of reliving that trauma over and over again is not something that requires spelling out.
Are Cultural Norms Actually Weird?
However, there are many families who go along with this cultural norm simply, it seems, because it’s ‘what we do’. And although it’s normal in as much as it’s typical, it’s still very strange behaviour! If you have your own valid reason then that’s more than reasonable – it’s 100% up to the parents, obviously.
But that’s sort of my point: there are so many traditions we’ve taken on board that are plain weird or even harmful. It doesn’t feel logical or rational, rather it feels like a societal expectation which we blindly follow. For those women who wait for the scan (it’s a misconception that this is also the results of screening tests – it’s not), they are depriving themselves twofold, in my opinion:
They lose the right to scream about their wonderful news when they first receive it; and then they deny themselves support should they tragically experience a loss.
Unless of course they choose to share that news at that point. And how dreadfully sad would it be to be in a position whereby you never get to share the joy, only the pain? Besides which, if the intention would be to seek solace from loved ones in such an event, why withhold their happy news in the first place?
I’ve been blessed not to have problems of that nature myself (though I have close friends and relatives who have), and personally I know I’d need the support of my loved ones. With that in mind, answering the question ‘should I announce my pregnancy before the first scan’ was not difficult for me.
It’s not my intention to tell people how to live their lives, I’m merely shining a light on the fact that we too often accept bizarre customs without ever really questioning their source or validity. I’m sure I’m guilty of regularly doing the same, but I’m making a conscious effort to stop. And if that makes me ‘eccentric’, well then shoot me.
I’d rather be weird and happy bucking the trend than a sheep too afraid to live life on my own terms.
When did you share your pregnancy news, and what were your reasons? Would you do it differently next time?
If you’ve suffered pregnancy loss, you can find support here.