Written by Siân Bevan


Things I wanted to say to you during my Shhh…mester

What should you share – and what should you absolutely definitely not share – during the first three months of your pregnancy? Siân Bevan will tell you, just as soon as she’s finished retching at the word ‘tomato’.

bottled-up secrets

Illustration by Claire Jones.

The Boy and I recently awkwardly announced that we were expecting a baby on Facebook. After three months of secret winking at each other, making it public made the whole thing very real.

Three months of sipping apple juice at parties while I longingly sniffed his beer, a trimester of being vague about our plans for next year, and a million opportunities to gently turn down rollercoasters and cocaine orgies. Those three months when there were so many things I wanted to say. Things such as:

I want to be sick in your face

There were times when someone would be halfway through telling me something and they’d casually do something which made me retch (drinking orange juice, mentioning tomatoes or coughing too loudly were all awesome triggers) and I’d spend the rest of the conversation staring through them, working out how I could explain the dry heaves making my shoulders shake.

Worryingly, most people believed me when I said I was terribly hungover. Like, even when I said it four days in a row. At 5pm.

I don’t know why I’m keeping it a secret

Well, I do. I know the high risks involved in early pregnancy, and the thought of having to do a retraction to a joyful pregnancy announcement was a bit grim. And I liked it being a cosy secret but… man, I’m a shitty liar.

I regularly panicked and told a variety of fibs when offered booze which included: “I have a kidney infection!” “I’m worried about how much I’m drinking!” “I’m doing a sponsored month off alcohol!” (NB: the latter one is clearly always going to result in someone offering to sponsor you/asking who you’re raising money for. I did not think this through. One time I yelled, “I HAVE ENOUGH MONEY NOW AND IT’S FOR CHILDREN” and ran out of the room. This was half true.)

I feel guilty

I feel guilty most of the time anyway, but pregnancy seems to have slipped my little anxious demon a Pro Plus and told him to knock himself out. I feel guilty about bringing another person into an overpopulated world. I feel guilty about not adopting. I feel guilty when I think of people I love who can’t have kids who would be much better at it than me. I feel guilty when I think of all the extra veg I should have eaten, about how I don’t have enough money to do this, about the dream I had where I left the baby on the moon. I’ve felt guilty about feeling guilty and then burst into tears while my demon looks on and slowly eats a banana.

“Worryingly, most people believed me when I said I was terribly hungover. Like, even when I said it four days in a row. At 5pm.”

I feel happy

In between everything, I mainly wanted to tell you that I’m really happy. I’m terrified and overwhelmed but… I know how lucky I am and I wake up in the morning and whisper a thank you to my ever-stretching belly. Also, my rack looks incredible. It’s like my boobs are doing a farewell tour for their fans.

I don’t know how to tell you

There are so many things to think about when breaking the news. There are the pals who hate kids who I’ve tried to tell in a super-casual way so they don’t screw up their nose and walk back into the pub. There are the people who I know will squeal and scream and be delighted. There are the family members who will clap and say, “About bloody time”. There are the ones who I know will be stabbed a bit in the heart by the news because they want it so very much too. Increasingly, just putting a post on Facebook seemed the easiest way to let everyone react in their own way. But, you know, give me five minutes and I’ll feel guilty about that too.

I know, I know, so much of announcing babies sounds so bloomin’ smug*. I can’t imagine how people will react when it turns out my kid is the world’s greatest, most beautiful, kind, genius millionaire baby. It’ll be enough to make them retch up their orange juice.

*If you haven’t already encountered the awesome Garfunkel and Oates song about this very issue, may I recommend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbTB3ASkdOo


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Written by Siân Bevan

Siân is a writer, performer, creator of joyful things and sometimes she tries to explain things to young people. She’s a mainly vegan feminist who loves elephants, is scared of the dark and likes stories most of all.