When you’ve twice lost a baby mid-pregnancy, it feels like there is never a good time to make a pregnancy announcement.
“Are you going to say something about the baby on your Christmas card?” my mom asked in mid-November.
“I don’t know,” I said. I was sixteen weeks pregnant at that point, and we were looking at the photos the photographer had just emailed of me, my husband and my two living daughters, trying to choose the best one for our family Christmas card.
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In the photo we agreed was best, a discerning eye might note the slight swell of my stomach and perhaps be suspicious of a pregnancy, but it was still far from obvious. Whether or not I called attention to it was up to me.
A few weeks later, as I was designing the card on my computer, I thought more about my mom’s question. I was eighteen weeks then, and everything about this pregnancy appeared to be progressing normally. But I have lost babies at 15 and at 20 weeks, without any known cause, and everything about this baby feels far from certain.
It would be the perfect time to make an announcement though, I told myself. While family and close friends and neighbors knew our news, there are many friends and colleagues we haven’t told yet. “Why not include the happy news in our Christmas card?” I thought.
But I cannot forget that two Christmases ago, I was pregnant and that two Januarys ago, I stood in a snow-covered cemetery, burying my baby girl in the frozen earth.
For months now, I’ve watched multiple friends with due dates later than mine announce their pregnancies, but I am still afraid to hope that this time will be different for us, still afraid to put into words what I want so much to be true: that our family will be welcoming a living, breathing baby in April.
I chose not to have anything about the new baby printed on my Christmas cards. But, bolstered by an encouraging ultrasound report at twenty weeks, I included hand-written announcements on several of them.
On these cards, I signed the names of our four living family members, and then I add simply: “And baby boy due in April 2018.”
It is a quiet announcement to a select few, but I know that the friends who receive it will understand that for me, it is actually an act of courage and hope.