Should we announce the pregnancy after the first trimester or before?
This was the question Joyce and I faced. We had just found out we were pregnant with our first child and already the voices of our confidants and the internet bombarded us with advice.
“Don’t announce the pregnancy until after the first trimester because the rate of miscarriage is higher then.”
“Don’t you know what the rate of miscarriage in the first trimester is? It’s about 25 percent. Based on the numbers, it’s illogical to announce your pregnancy during this high-risk time.”
“If you lose it, it’ll be easier for you to get over it because your friends who don’t know about the loss won’t accidentally ask you about the baby every time they see you. Them bringing it up will just open up the hurt.”
All their suggestions aimed to protect us if we lost the baby in the interim. Their wisdom was sound and grounded in experience and statistics. However, when we heard it, we felt that its source was different from that which blessed us with the baby. We felt that it was coming from a spirit of fear, instead of a Spirit of Faith.
I understand that it is easy for expectant parents to think fearfully. Emotions are high so fear and doubt naturally emerge. We wonder, “Is the fetus forming correctly?” “Am I taking enough prenatal vitamins?” “How is the arrival of this newbie going to affect my marriage?” What about my aunt, didn’t she lose hers at nine weeks?” or “What chance is there of that bad thing I read about on the internet happening to me?” With all these doubts and fears floating around it is easy for couples to be reserved about announcing the good news. They are unsure about the outcome of their own lives, so how can they be sure about the outcome of the fetus’.
I write the following respectfully, bearing in mind that many people have suffered loss. However, it is my opinion, that operating from a spirit of fear does nothing to promote a healthy pregnancy. In what follows, I highlight a few things Joyce and I learned.
Pregnancy is Emotional
Pregnancy is an emotional time in which there is a lot of change taking place. Family members face new tensions as they adjust to changing household responsibilities. The mother faces increasing stress as her body reacts to the changes the pregnancy brings. Anxieties surface around finances and the health and well-being of the baby and mother, which cause other emotional pressures. Emotions during this time can run so high that words may be inadequate to explain how one is feeling. It may be near impossible to try to describe the mega-argument that just happened because the husband started cooking chicken without telling his nauseous wife.
Satan will do anything to attack our lives and our emotions are one of the avenues he uses. The natural changes and pressures we experience during pregnancy elevate fleshly tensions giving Satan something to manipulate and work through. Satan acts where our emotions interact with our fleshly nature, which is the area we are most vulnerable. He is able to turn the smallest disagreement into a full-scale war and cause or escalate any number of things, arguments, frustrations, even depression, and other mental conditions.
Satan’s Isolation Tactic
There is a spiritual battle going on, and Satan is out to steal, kill, and to destroy us (John 10.10). One way he does this is through Isolation. If Satan manages to isolate us from the Body of Christ so that they are unaware of our situation and the emotions we are experiencing, it means they are unable to pray and intercede on our behalf. Without the protection of a group of believers by our side, we are open to Satan’s meddling. Moreover, by isolating ourselves we have allowed Satan to cut off the spiritual and physical help a group of believers offer during the early days of pregnancy.
Bringing Doubt and Fear to Life
If Satan can isolate us with our questions and fears it allows him to build upon them. During Joshua’s pregnancy, Joyce heard about a lady who had a miscarriage. By the time Joyce thought about it and looked up the subject on the internet a few times, what started off as a seed of doubt had blossomed into a crippling fear. Whenever a day passed that Joyce did not feel the baby moving, or if she felt a slight pain, she became anxious that something was wrong.
Negative thinking like this causes significant problems because as a person thinks, so they are (Pro 23.7). If we wander around among the questions, the fears, and the apprehensions, then negative patterns of thought will form. When these negative patterns form, it does not take long until we begin to speak them aloud. And because the tongue has the power of life and death (Pro 18.21), what we speak manifests itself one way or the other. If we go around talking doubt and fear, then those things will manifest. If we speak life and hope, then those things will manifest.
When we begin to think negatively we must bring our thoughts to a positive outlet through the Holy Spirit. This is what Joyce did. Amidst her fears, the Lord spoke to her heart and convicted her that she was not listening to the words of God about the pregnancy. God reminded her that his words are life and wholeness. As Paul Said,
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4.8, NKJV)
The reason Paul tells us to focus on these things is that they represent Godly thoughts.
An Act of Faith
Joyce and I announced the pregnancy early for all of our children. We strongly opposed the advice we were given not to announce the pregnancies until after the first trimester. In doing so we felt it was an act of faith.
The Bible tells us that whatsoever does not proceed from faith is sin (Rm 14.23). Therefore, if God gifts us with a child and we turn from living in faith to living in fear and doubt, we start living in sin. We say to God, “God, thank you for your gift, but I am not sure if it will be here with me in nine months from now.” By not walking in faith we open ourselves up to a lot of trouble.
Sin opens the door to Satan, and once he is in his rampage of stealing, killing, and destruction begins. Therefore, we must pray, confess the Word of God, and read our bible. Doing these things will help stop our natural doubts and fears from consuming us.
Where do we get our wisdom?
One may argue that withholding the good news until after the first trimester is a wise thing to do. Therefore, by not announcing the pregnancy we are operating out of wisdom and not fear. But my question is, are we using worldly wisdom or Godly wisdom? There is an area where worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom converge and are in harmony with each other. For instance, Godly wisdom says it is good to pay your bills on time. Worldly wisdom says the same thing, but there are also areas where both are contrary to the other. One area is the area of faith.
Worldly wisdom typically is an antagonist to faith because it is established upon empirical principles. Worldly wisdom looks at observable traits and facts. However, faith functions contrary to how worldly wisdom functions because it acts upon things that are not scientifically observable. Worldly wisdom says, “Based on the data I have correlated there is certain percentage chance of this happening.” Whereas faith says, “I understand the facts, but God…”
The conjunction “but God…” is very powerful because it turns our attention from our situation to the solution. It elevates God above our situation and it also makes him present in it. By seeing God as above our situation we recognize he has power over it and can deliver us. By seeing God as present with us we recognize that he is at work in the situation and strengthening us. Both of these elements force us to move away from a realm of fear and doubt into a realm of faith. It is in the realm of faith that we eagerly expect miracles.
These are just a few thoughts that Joyce and I put together from our experiences of being pregnant. In summary, we believe a healthy pregnancy has more to do with faith in God than what one may have previously thought. Joyce and I strongly feel this is a message for the Body of Christ. To all you expectant parents, please put your faith in God and demonstrate it through your actions. Moreover, commit yourself to being part of a strong community of believers.