The decision to announce a pregnancy is entirely up to the person who is pregnant – and to suggest otherwise is not OK.
If you’ve taken a look at the news this morning, you’ll have seen that S Club 7 star Hannah Spearritt has given birth to her second child – a baby daughter called Tora. The singer, who also has a one-year-old daughter called Taya, revealed the news on social media on Sunday night, after taking part in an exclusive interview with Hello magazine.
At a time when so many women in the spotlight are forced to announce their pregnancy before they are ready to do so or ’clear up’ rumours about their bodies, it was seriously refreshing to see Spearritt able to announce her news in the way she wanted.
But still, despite the positive nature of Spearritt’s news, there was a worrying trend running through the tabloid reports about the birth – most notably, the decision to call it a “secret pregnancy”.
In the purest sense of the word, these headlines are accurate. Yes, no one knew Spearritt was pregnant, and yes, the news of her baby daughter’s birth is a surprise to many. But the suggestion implicit in the phrase “secret pregnancy” – that Spearritt’s decision not to announce her pregnancy to the world equates to some kind of deviant attempt to ‘hide’ the news from everybody – is concerning.
Why? Because we shouldn’t have this expectation that women need to “announce” pregnancy in the first place.
By describing an unannounced pregnancy as “secret”, we perpetuate the idea that pregnancy should be a public, rather than private, experience – a message which adds to the pressure that many people already feel to announce their pregnancies, whether or not they feel ready to do so.
After all, there is a myriad of reasons why someone may not feel ready to share the news that they’re pregnant. Experience or fear of baby loss, for example, is one particularly common reason why a woman might prefer to keep her pregnancy to herself – especially among women who have experienced recurrent miscarriages and don’t want to ‘jinx’ the pregnancy by sharing it with the world.
Others may feel comfortable sharing the news with their closest friends and family, but not with the old school friend they message once in a blue moon via Facebook. And others may not want to share the news with anybody – maybe because they fear what people might say, or simply because they just don’t want people to know, period.
At the end of the day, the decision to announce a pregnancy is a deeply personal one – and it is 100% up to the person who is pregnant to decide who they tell and when, where and how they do that.
Deciding not to share a pregnancy with the world is not “keeping it a secret,” it’s setting healthy boundaries – and to suggest otherwise is simply not OK.