PREGNANT women are often advised to wait until they pass the 12-week mark to announce their pregnancies to the world as the risk of miscarriage declines.
However, Cork woman Aine Lynch and hopeful mums-to-be like her are challenging that conventional wisdom.
She and her husband Paul have their very own personal reasons as to why they believe announcing a pregnancy before the traditional 12-week mark helps aid their fertility journey: “Having been someone who has had a miscarriage previously, I don’t think that it should be kept a secret. Be it five weeks, 12 weeks or 20 weeks — it doesn’t matter.
“I am just as pregnant at five weeks as I would be at 20 weeks,” said Aine.
“This holding back needs to be done away with, and so many other women in my position agree with me,” she explained.
While many women know they are pregnant as early as a week, social norms dictate pregnancy announcements should wait until after the all-important 12-week scan.
Aine feels that we need to think like those across the pond with our views.
She said: “I know in America, after four or five weeks they announce the news they are pregnant to their loved ones. It’s a huge celebration, there’s no taboo around it.
Fairhill native Aine and her husband Paul have been on a tough road the last few years.
Aine was diagnosed with PolyCystic Ovaries, which means she cannot ovulate on her own.
So far the couple have had one natural pregnancy, in 2018, which sadly ended being ectopic.
Aine recalls: “That was in July of 2018, we were married a year at that time. At the same time, we were in the middle of doing up our dream cottage, which was a two year journey. The whole idea of having the dream home was to welcome a baby into the family.”
The couple then went on to start medicated cycles to assist in ovulation and she got pregnant again in 2019. This sadly ended in a very distressing miscarriage which occurred abroad at 11 weeks.
She said: “I suppose it was sort of a miracle in a way, as I was led to believe the treatment wasn’t going accordingly but I went off to get a pregnancy test anyway and couldn’t believe it was positive.
“I was so excited but I was nervous because it was over within a week the previous time.”
After having so many losses, Aine and Paul were becoming confident that this pregnancy would be a success and they would finally become parents, she explains: “I was seen in the clinic twice and there was our baby’s heartbeat. I’ll never forget it, I saw it move and everything was looking great.
“At ten weeks, I had a bit of a bleed. I was quite nervous, quite scared, so we went to the CUMH and I got an emergency scan done and I was told everything was fine and I didn’t have to worry. It stopped as soon as it started,” she said.
At the same time, the couple had booked to go on a holiday before they had started any of the fertility treatment. They had planned on going on a cruise in the Caribbean. Hesitant at first, the loved up pair got the go-ahead from Aine’s gynaecologist.
She recalls: “The day before we were due to fly out, I had a scan and was told that everything looked fine. I was ten and a half weeks at that time. My consultant said there was no more bleeding since the previous week and said these things happen in early pregnancy and it was at this point that miscarriage happened, between one and four pregnancies, but at this point of my pregnancy I was almost 11 weeks.
Ecstatic with excitement and with a fantastic future to look forward to, Aine and Paul decided to announce the news to their family and share the news on their social media accounts.
“I didn’t want to keep it to myself anymore, I wanted to tell everyone that I was going to become a mum and that the baby was on the way,” she said.
Sadly, a week into their dream holiday, tragedy struck the couple.
Whilst docked in Mexico, Aine had a bleed and they had to depart the cruise ship. She was taken by an ambulance to a nearby hospital on an island off Mexico and had to stay for medical treatment over a couple of days.
Since the miscarriage, Aine’s had seven rounds of OII (Ovulation Induction) — which is assisted ovulation, and two rounds of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), which is assisted ovulation and artificial insemination.
The 30-year-old is extremely hopeful of having a family one day and says the longing for the baby is so strong, all the hardship along the way hasn’t put her off.
The couple, who are now living in Bweeng, are starting their IVF journey in hope that it will finally be what it takes to get them the dream they’ve longed for, for so long.
Sharing her hopes for the future, Aine said: “I follow and speak to so many women that are in similar positions. Many women from Cork. It has actually shocked me so much how many women are on this same journey as us but do not have anyone to talk to.
"I may not know the answer but I will do my best. I find great comfort in following along so many journeys and for me talking about it really does help”
“Since I started on this journey, I am probably in the best space mentally, I’m telling myself ‘OK, let’s bring on my IVF journey’.
“When you are in this position and you have the hope of a baby at the end of it, you are going to do what you can and spend what money you can to have that dream.”