I Just Announced My Pregnancy Online – Here’s Why I Found It So Difficult

When I became pregnant, I simply didn’t want to announce it. I didn’t want to add to the pain many women felt by seeing announcements.

alex light pregnancy announcement

by Alex Light |
Published on

As a 35-year-old woman, for years my social media has been awash with pregnancy announcements: scan pictures, cute bump reveals, lovely videos showing the first positive pregnancy test and their partner’s reaction to it and 100 other fun and creative ways to tell the world that new life is imminent.

I’ve liked them all, sent my congratulations and scrolled on; they’ve never really held a deeper significance to me.

That was until two years ago, when I took a fertility test to assess my ovarian reserve (how many eggs I had left) after my friend had done one and been reassured by the results. It was an at-home blood test – I had to prick my finger, collect a small amount of blood, send it off and wait for the results to arrive in my inbox. I did the test and forgot about it, but a week later, while I was in the pub drinking wine with a friend, someone from the test company called me to tell me that a gynaecologist needed to speak to me about my results.

They had come back low: very low for a woman of my age. I was shocked but managed to convince myself it was because the test hadn’t been accurate – how can a tiny bit of blood measure how many eggs are left in my ovaries?! So when I met a friend who was freezing eggs and recommended her clinic, I decided to book in for a consultation to put my mind at ease. An internal examination – a transvaginal ultrasound, which I promise is not as scary as it sounds – showed that the test results had been pretty spot on: I had very low ovarian reserve.

The confirmation sent me into a spin: despite not necessarily feeling like having kids was part of my imminent future, I knew I really wanted to have a big family one day, which is how I grew up. After assessing my options and speaking to my husband at length (we had to work out if we could afford to go down this route, as any kind of fertility treatments are very expensive), I decided to go ahead with freezing embryos to try and futureproof our family.

Given my low reserve, it was a difficult process. I had to take a lot of hormones for an extended period of time – and I needed at least two rounds to have enough to bank. It took the best part of a year to complete these two rounds and we got some embryos from the process: I was delighted, because at one point, I was worried we wouldn’t get any. But at the same time, I was acutely aware of the fact that it may well take more than one embryo to actually fall pregnant (overall first-time IVF success rates often fall between 25-30%).

During the first round, I decided to document the process on my Instagram account. I explained the situation and showed snippets of our journey to collect the eggs.

I expected lots of questions, which I was prepared for, but what I didn’t anticipate was to have my eyes opened to the world of infertility – something I just didn’t previously know anything about. I received hundreds of DMs from women who had been or were actively struggling with their fertility and I could feel the pain in their words: I didn’t realise just how brutal living with infertility was.

Many called themselves ‘IVF warriors’ and spoke of their numerous, very expensive and very gruelling attempts at falling pregnant and just how painful it was to see yet another negative pregnancy test. Some of the women had ended up becoming successful with IVF, some had chosen the route of adoption and others had come to terms with living a childless or childfree life.

A common thread throughout all of these messages was pregnancy announcements, and specifically just how gut-wrenching it can be to see another pop up as you scroll. I hadn’t appreciated just how hard they can hit when you’re unsure whether your own future holds children.

So when I became pregnant – facing the reality of my biological situation ended up fast-tracking my desire to have kids so we decided after the second round of freezing to try and were very lucky – I simply didn’t want to announce it. I didn’t want to add to the pain that these women felt by seeing announcements.

Which would be fine, if I didn’t keep my followers up to date with all other aspects of my life – some might argue it is TMI over on my page and they would have a point – and regularly post pictures of my outfits and my body. I had to let them know I was pregnant, but how? How to do it sensitively, how to mitigate the potential pain? I thought through 100 different ways – by the time I had decided how to tell my online community, I was over halfway through the pregnancy and very much showing – and at one point thought I’d settled on the best approach: uploading a carousel of random pictures from my month, with the sixth or seventh photo showing a bump. But my husband pointed out that by trying to bury the news, I was potentially creating even more interest around it.

And I really didn’t want it to feel sneaky; I wanted to be upfront and honest. So I ended up posting a selfie of my husband, my dog Betty and me (no scan or bump in the shot, which I had discovered was particularly triggering) and I announced the news in the caption. I also felt compelled to explain why part of me felt so reluctant to share the news so publicly and send love to anyone who was struggling with infertility.

I was touched by the response. People sent their congratulations, which was lovely, but I was really happy to speak to women who appreciated being acknowledged in the announcement – some said they felt seen in a space normally they are so left out of. I know it was still hard for many to see – a few women told me they weren’t able to follow me while I was pregnant, boundaries that I fully understand and encourage – but I knew I had announced it in the way I was most comfortable with.

It felt right for me, having had a glimpse into the world of infertility. But having said all of this, I strongly believe everyone should be allowed to announce their pregnancy however they wish. If it’s a bump photo, a scan photo, or even a video of your first pregnancy test, you do what’s right for you and do not feel like you have to temper your joy and excitement for anyone. But it could definitely be thoughtful to consider and perhaps acknowledge those who are struggling alongside the announcement – I know it would be so appreciated.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us