Now that the word is officially out that I am now a mom of two, you, along with a bunch of other people are probably wondering why I kept this last pregnancy a secret. My last pregnancy with my son, a now rambunctious almost 3-year-old, taught me a lot.
As with anyone expecting for the first time, I was excited, and I would be the last of my sisters to become a mother. Listen, I thought I would be an “auntie mommy” forever so as you can imagine, my excitement when we found out we were expecting we wanted to tell all of our loved ones.
I told my family and friends the good news after I reached three months of pregnancy. Because I like surprises, at the time, I opted to not find out the sex. Of course, this was after I had to convince my fiancé that it would be a special experience for both of us, and I was right. This time around, we chose to do it differently. We decided to keep the news of our expanding family to a very small group of immediate family and close friends.
We only told my mom, sisters, in-laws and close friends. Those who knew were sworn to secrecy and were asked to respect our wishes. Others that knew were aware only because they saw me and we preferred it that way.
So why did I keep this pregnancy a secret?
Reason #1: I Kept My Sanity
My fiancé and I are high school sweethearts of 14 years, as you can imagine, everyone was excited that we were expecting our son. My in-laws, especially since he was their first grandchild. The questions, and unwarranted advice (with good intentions), and constantly being asked what are you having? Why don’t you want to know [the sex]?” It allowed me to keep my sanity and not snapping on people who ask way too many questions.
Reason #2: Peace
This pregnancy was not as forgiving as the first. They do say that pregnancies with girls get the best of you. With this pregnancy, I was exhausted most of the time, not active as I was previously, and on top of that, I was raising a toddler. I just wanted peace this time around. I didn’t want to be seen, as I didn’t feel as comfortable in my body.
Reason #3: I wanted to live my life OFF of Social Media
With life now being a popularity contest due to social media, I didn’t think that it mattered who actually knew what was going on in my uterus and why would it? It didn’t affect them in any way (unless you wanted to donate a substantial amount to my kid’s college fund). The fact of the matter is a brag culture of social media has resulted in us being too busy creating a story for our lives online and not living them. I was just trying to live, take care of a toddler and make sure that he got as much of our attention as he could before the arrival of his sibling. I wanted to focus on work and progressing in my career. Basically, I was too involved in my growing family that it didn’t matter to me who knew. I just knew that I didn’t want this gift to be known and shared until we were ready and we wanted people to know that – family and friends I’ve known for years included.
So not only did I keep the pregnancy a surprise, I also opted out of finding out the gender. This allowed us to wait until the right time to do a 3D sonogram, take our son to see and finally realize for himself that “I’m going to be a big brother!”
We are happy we kept this pregnancy a “secret”, especially since towards the end I faced a few complications that resulted in me having to have another emergency C-section. My daughter was three weeks early due to her umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck twice, which causing her to stop breathing periodically for almost three weeks straight. After she was born, she spent one week in the NICU due to low birth weight and low blood sugar. It was stressful, but with not having to answer to many people as to what was going on with my pregnancy, as before, it was not as stressful as it could have been.
The Big Announcement!
Once we were ready, we told everyone how we wanted in our own way and on our time, which it is how it should be. Even though Beyoncé’s announcement of her pregnancy with twins threw a wrench in my plans to announce the arrival of my daughter on the day she turned 4-weeks old, I forgave her, as she is “The Queen.” The day after Bey’s announcement, I shared that our son now has a sidekick. I was congratulated with many sincere well wishes, but I know there were a few who were wondering, “Why did she do that?” In true Shani fashion, I honestly could’ve cared less. My family of three is now four, and what matters most is baby Aria Rose is loved by her mom and dad, her new big brother Cayden, and lots of family and friends.
Surprises are good: they stop things being predictable, and the problem with predictability is that we anticipate the ending.