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Baby #1

In Motherhood, My Journal on
April 11, 2016

Why (and How) I Kept My Pregnancy a Secret for Five Months

Easy calendar pregnancy announcement.

Surprise! Chris and I are expecting a bundle of joy this September.

I am currently 19 weeks and 4 days pregnant, just 3 days shy of being 5 months along.

Here is a happy video sharing the news and going into my symptoms for up to week 16:

It was not my intention to keep this secret for so long. I had initially only planned on waiting until the first trimester passed (three months) but some other factors came into play that made me and my husband want to keep things under wraps a little longer.

It all started December 2015 when I began feeling symptoms very shortly after conception. At the time, I thought I was insane for wondering if I was pregnant because I was taking birth control pills. As it turns out, there are so many factors at play with hormonal birth control that any mishap can mess up the whole system. That little misstep led Chris and I to a little miracle, baby EJ.

We’ve been calling our bundle baby EJ because we aren’t going to be able to find out the sex until April 15 and Chris and I have had our baby names picked out for years. EJ is short for Emma Aurora and Jack Douglas, we’ll know for sure who is joining our family later this week.

When we first found out, the day after Christmas last year, there was a few weeks of panic. I had been working freelance all of 2015, with varying successes. I was (and still am) really proud of the amount of work I was able to get, but with a third mouth on the way we knew freelance was no longer an option for us.

So we both started looking for more work. I started getting a few hopeful bites and interview requests quickly, and around three months I was up for a job in the marketing department at a local accounting firm. After one month of interviewing, it ended up not working out.

So, the secrets started building. At this point several of our family members were aware that we were having financial concerns and because of that, we didn’t want to add in the extra worry that we knew they would feel once they found out we were expecting.

My Mom found out about the baby shortly past the three-month mark, mostly because she was noticing differences in me before anyone else did, so it was nice to vent with her, but I also felt guilty over how much concern she had for us. It just solidified our decision to keep everyone in the dark until a new job was eminent.

It was another month of hiding until I started getting traction with my resume again and two companies in advertising seemed very interested in me, so after a second round of interviews (at about four months pregnant) we started telling our family and close friends. At this time it was becoming a lot harder to keep my weight gain a secret and emotionally it was taking too much of a toll to constantly judge my appearance, so we decided that at least the people we saw the most frequently should be brought into the loop so I would only have to worry about my weight during interviews.

Pregnancy photos week 16, 17, 18, and 19.

I’ve popped!

 

There were a lot of shocked faces (and about three people that surprised us by saying they had noticed a few clues), but overall the responses were so positive that our hearts felt warm again and we were able to celebrate with our family in private.

Two days later, I got a job at AB&A Advertising. It was such a joy, but also another level of fear. How can I keep my pregnancy a secret at work?

A week and a half after starting my new job, I knew I needed to fess up. It was the responsible thing to do, since I knew the earlier my job could prepare for my leave the better, and the reveal was also needed to keep me happy emotionally, as focusing on my looks so much was only alienating me from what should be a happy time.

So, I got to work early one day and started speaking with my supervisors. To my immense relief, I was met with happiness. While, of course, practical questions came up (as they should), I had found myself with a wonderful and supportive team. I couldn’t be happier to be with AB&A Advertising. I know now that I am exactly where I need to be.

For the few months I kept my pregnancy a secret from friends and family, as well as through the interview process and at work, these are the steps I followed to keep my baby bump hidden.

How I kept my pregnancy a secret:

  1. Establish that you rarely drink caffeinated beverages (and other pregnancy no-nos) from the get-go. During my onboarding, I was given pizza and soda to celebrate (which was so fun) but I made sure to mention how I rarely have soda since caffeine makes me jittery “so this really feels like a treat.” My office loves coffee, so this gave me an excuse to always say no.
  2. Establish a love for hydration. Since I was going to the bathroom very frequently at this point in the pregnancy, I made sure I always had a large water bottle at my desk so that I’d have a reason to get up often. Finding other reasons, like talking to someone on the other side of the office, also made it easier to feel comfortable taking more bathroom breaks.
  3. Wear baggy clothing and layers. Since my office was business casual, I had a lot more leeway in the outfit department. I went on a shopping trip right before starting so that I could buy some high quality larger clothing that I could grow into. The baggy clothes kept my bump hidden, with the addition of jackets, cardigans, and sparkly jewelry that brought more attention to my upper body than my lower. See some of my outfits here and here.
  4. Wear flared skirts and skater skirts. My favorite outfit for when I was bloated included my white flared pleated skirt from Plato’s Closet. The purposeful shape made it easier for my belly to expand comfortably without being obvious.
  5. Buy maternity SpanxThere are safe versions of Spanx for pregnant women so that they can smooth the lines of their body while also minimizing thighs and butts without putting pressure on your baby. Since I was feeling bigger in those areas, this became a dress staple for me. It wasn’t comfortable, not by a long shot, but it made me feel more confident in my outfits. Belly bands are also really helpful to expand your wardrobe.

While I don’t recommend people to keep their pregnancies a secret for so long, these tips helped me keep it under wraps while I figured out my next move.

And today, at 19 weeks and 4 days, I’m now sharing my happy news with my extended friends and blog followers. No more hiding. It’s time to celebrate.