Announcing your forthcoming baby should be a time of great joy and whooping celebration. Everyone pats you on the back, cries tears of happiness and cracks out the knitting needles
. But what if your procreation refuses to stick to a convenient timescale and you find yourself playing a complicated game of pregnancy relay?
I am four and a half months pregnant with my second child
. Because it was a bit of a shock, I didn't tell many people early on and then refrained from the usual social networking route
(mainly out of boredom at having to handle the huge amount of messages such a thing brings) so I have kept fairly schtum, safe in the knowledge that I seem to have told most people who matter early on.
Apart from my (albeit not close) friend Sadie. Sadie has been pregnant for what feels like the last six months (in fact I think she's a few weeks more pregnant than I). She's been talking about it on every social networking site going, she's mentioned it in every email we've shared and every chance she gets she reminds people.
I am very pleased for her. It's great news but it also feels like she's cornered the market and now wouldn't be a good time to make my announcement. So I haven't told her. And now I'm a bit scared to. I don't want to steal her thunder and I don't want her to think I was deliberately not telling her. I've left it too late. If only I could have waited until she'd given birth.
I've known I was pregnant from pretty much day one. But we didn't want to tell our families until we were sure everything was OK. Between then and now, my sister-in-law's two sisters have announced their pregnancies, resulting in MUCH delight in the family but not a small amount of, "Eeek. We're going to be busy!" So we listened to the panic and delight and kept quiet, wondering when we would drop our own bombshell.
Then there's Susan. Susan has been trying for a baby for about three years. She tells me about it sometimes. When we talk I already feel immense guilt that I have one child anyway so I have yet to find the right moment to sit her down and announce that not only am I am having another one, I barely had to cough to get it.
I know am not alone in my timing dilemmas. Parenting forums are awash with requests for advice in such situations and almost all my friends have a story to tell. My pal Donna's friend had two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy before getting pregnant. During this time, Donna found out she was pregnant but was too scared to tell her for 12 weeks.
Donna laughs, "In the end she guessed, as it was my second child my stomach muscles
weren't as good as they were and I couldn't really do my trousers up. I knew she'd be happy for me but part of me was also worried that she was so pleased to be pregnant and if I announced mine it would take the limelight off her too. In the end the children were born a couple of days apart."
An old friend Jane had been trying unsuccessfully for a second baby for nearly a year when she told her recently-married sister, with whom she has always had a troubled relationship. Her sister promptly reacted in a bizarre (but entirely expected) fashion, saying she couldn't believe she would even consider having a baby when she knew that her sister didn't even have her first yet.
Jane knew her sister was being unreasonable but still didn't want to upset the apple cart. Shortly after their argument, she discovered she was pregnant. "I couldn't believe it," says Jane, "and I was so scared of telling her and our mother that I left it until nearly four months." There was the inevitable fallout but eventually her sister came round to the idea.
But why do we worry so? Is it because apart from getting married, pregnancy is supposedly the most important thing to happen to us? After all, you wouldn't plan your wedding to coincide with a friend's would you?
But we (I) might be panicking too much. A friend Sally (who's suffered multiple miscarriages) warns, "I have been on the receiving end of so many awkward 'confessions' that it's become embarrassing. In actual fact I would rather my friends just got on with the task of enjoying their pregnancies.
"I have started to find it a little offensive that my so-called friends think I might not be happy for them or that their happiness might ruin my life. I'd rather just be kept in the loop like everybody else."
- Victoria Beckham
After publicly announcing she <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/01/victoria-beckham-posing-nude-and-pregnant-thats-not-me-says/" target="_blank">wouldn’t be stripping off </a>for the camera while pregnant, David Beckham took this <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/07/david-beckham-shares-intimate-picture-of-pregnant-victoria-baring-bump/" target="_blank">quick snap</a> of a very pregnant Posh, apparently without her knowing anything about it. Hmm, all looks a bit staged to us…<br />
<strong>Victoria says:</strong> ‘I'm so proud to be pregnant and I feel so blessed and so happy, I really do. I won't be taking my clothes off. I don't think anyone needs to see that, other than my husband.’</p>
- Demi Moore
The original and best, this is the pose that sparked a thousand copies in magazines around the world, starring everyone from Danielle Lloyd to Christina Aguilera, Britney and erm, Lisa from Steps. This iconic piccie of mum of three Demi is still gorgeous all these years later.</p>
- Sienna Miller
Heavily pregnant Sienna<a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/11/07/heavily-pregnant-sienna-millers-nude-portrait-unveiled-artist-jonathan-yeo/" target="_blank"> posed for a nude painting in 2012.</a> Artist Jonathan Yeo painted Sienna shortly before the arrival of her first baby, Marlowe, as part of a series of portraits, including Nicole Kidman and model Erin O'Connor. </p>
- Jessica Simpson
Jess posed for ELLE magazine shortly before giving birth to her daughter, Maxwell Drew. She showed off her <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/03/07/pregnant-jessica-simpson-does-a-demi-and-poses-nude-expecting-a-girl/" target="_blank">enormous bump</a> while confirming speculation she was expecting a little girl. </p>
- Carla Bruni
Carla was <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/12/pregnant-carla-bruni-shows-off-baby-bump-in-itsy-bitsy-bikini/" target="_blank">papped frockling on the beach </a>with husband, French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The First Lady is rumoured to be expecting twins, but showed off a pretty neat bump in her stylish two piece.</p>
- Mariah Carey
While twins <a href="http:// http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/05/04/mariah-careys-twins-names-revealed/" target="_blank">Moroccan and Monroe </a>were still tucked up in Mariah’s belly, she took the opportunity to proudly show off her expanding tummy, by <a href="http:// http://www.parentdish.co.ukphpmyadmin.parentdish.co.uk/2011/03/29/mariah-carey-paints-her-baby-bump/" target="_blank">painting it </a>to make a colourful butterfly. A bit odd, but you can just imagine Mariah grinning from ear to ear when she posed for this lovely snap.</p>
- Rachel Zoe
Stylist to the stars, Rachel let it all hang out with some ill-fitting maternity togs when she was expecting son, Skyler. The sheer material on the top showed off her rounded tummy, and, call us old fashioned, but flashing your bra when pregnant isn’t the greatest look ever, right?</p>
- Jessica Alba
Here’s Jess flaunting her fabulous seven-month bump in a strapless number (but with handy sarong to keep eyes off her no-doubt expanding bottom). She was on the sand with daughter Honor, three.<br />
<strong>Jessica says:</strong> ‘I can't ever get down to the weight I was before I had Honor/ My body's just different. The jeans just sort of zip up differently, and things hang differently. It's a miracle what happens, but you definitely are different afterward.’</p>
- Selma Blair
Sporting a cowboy hat and colourful bikini, pregnant Selma headed to the coast for a bit of sunshine. The Hollywood actress looked stunning as she pottered along the beach with boyfriend, Jason Bleick. </p>
- Danielle Lloyd (again)
Re-offender Danielle showed off her curves long before that nude photoshoot. Here she is flashing the flesh on a beach in Portugal. The mum-to-be tweeted while she was on her hols saying she was having a lovely time, but felt like a whale! Well, she certainly looks good on it…</p>
- Tori Spelling
Now a mum of four, Tori Spelling <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/05/31/pregnant-tori-spelling-looks-blooming-in-a-bikini-on-the-beach/" target="_blank">hit the beach </a>baring bump number three in this simple black bikini, and of course, enormous shades across the pond in Malibu.<br />
<strong>Tori says:</strong> ‘I have actually been much sicker this pregnancy than the other two. I have been nauseous for three months straight. It's starting to get better now, thank goodness. And, I'm showing way more too.'</p>
Supermodel Gisele hit the beach <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/11/05/pregnant-gisele-bundchen-shows-off-her-bumper-in-teeny-bikini-video/" target="_blank">eight months into her second pregnancy</a> at the end of 2012. She was hanging out in an animal print bikini in Miami without a swollen ankle, sweaty brow or under-eye bag in sight. <span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: helvetica, arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px;"> </span></p>
- Danielle Lloyd
Now a mum for the <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/13/danielle-lloyd-gives-birth-to-second-son-10-weeks-early/" target="_blank">second time, </a>Danielle bared all just days before giving birth in this <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/11/pregnant-danielle-lloyd-goes-nude-for-photoshoot/" target="_blank">naked photoshoot </a>for Closer magazine, wearing just earrings and a sparkler on her finger.<br />
<strong>Danielle says:</strong> ‘I couldn't wait to recreate Demi Moore's naked pregnancy pose. It makes me feel so sexy! I don't think your baby bump should be hidden under baggy clothes – it's beautiful and I'm proud of it!’</p>
- Jenny Frost
Jenny <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/01/14/jenny-frost-twin-pregnancy-is-hard-without-my-mum-here-to-share/" target="_blank">posed for Closer magazine</a> as she neared her due date with non-identical twin girls. Ex-Atomic Kitten star Jen showed off her bumper belly, and told the magazine she was enjoying her new shape, saying: "Being pregnant is a time when some women can feel insecure, but Vinnie has kept me feeling great about myself. I've got a nice big belly, but I've not put on too much weight elsewhere apart from my bum, which I quite like."</p>
- Nell McAndrew
TV personality Nell <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/01/22/pregnant-nell-mcandrew-gets-naked-for-photoshoot/" target="_blank">posed nude for Now magazine</a> when she was seven months pregnant. She said she couldn't understand people who were against pregnant women showing off their bodies, telling the mag: "<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">Unfortunately there are still some really old-fashioned views about pregnancy out there. But although I was pretty nervous stripping off, I soon felt empowered - pregnant bodies are amazing and I'm incredibly proud of these pictures."</span></p>
Beyonce was snapped in a gorgeous white bikini <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/09/08/beyonce-does-pregnancy-a-list-style-in-bump-baring-bikini/" target="_blank">five months into her pregnancy</a> with Blue Ivy. She enjoyed a holiday aboard a luxury yacht with husband Jay-Z. </p>
- Imogen Thomas
When glamour girl Imogen announced she was pregnant, we knew it wouldn't be long before she stripped off for a Demi-style shoot. And look! We were right! Here she is eight months pregnant with her first baby. </p>
Singer Shakira <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/01/17/shakira-tweets-naked-baby-bump-photo-in-aid-of-unicef/" target="_blank">stripped off at eight months pregnant </a>to raise funds for UNICEF. She also hosted an online baby shower to raise money for the charity. </p>