The moment you see that blue line, you’re the keeper of the biggest secret of your life. And doesn’t it feel like everyone can tell? Did they see you sipping water waiting for the sickness to subside at that early meeting? And what can you do when you need to leave work early for another appointment?
1) Choose one confidant
First of all, don’t assume people have guessed. “Pick one person and confide in them, like your line manager,” advises doula Lucy Symons (www.lucysymons.square space.com).
“They will have to keep the news confidential. But at the same time you know you’re not worrying about them thinking: ‘She’s off again today’,” says Lucy. If you’re concerned about people seeing vitamins in your bag, stash them in a small coin purse.
2) Don’t fret the yawning
“It’s common for women – particularly in the first trimester – to feel more tired than usual due increased progesterone production,” says midwife Maggie Evans. “If you’re yawning more than normal or suffering from lapses of concentration, you may worry that your colleagues will notice, but try not to. We all suffer from disturbed sleep at times and they’re unlikely to read too much into it.”
3) Bluff through the barf
If morning sickness is interrupting your schedule, you’ve got two options – again, you can confide in someone, or you can tell a couple of white lies. Keep them light, though, like Isabel Traiteur, 34, from Rotherham, now 38 weeks pregnant. “I made sure important meetings were arranged for the afternoon when my sickness had subsided,” she says.
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4) Dismiss the docs
“The best thing to say if people ask why you’re going to the doctors is simply ‘I’d rather not talk about it’,” says health and wellbeing consultant Liz Tucker (www.behappybehealthy.co.uk). “That’s better than making up an illness they might worry about.” If they ask if you’re OK, reply honestly ‘Yes I’m fine, thanks’. If that fails, tell them it’s ‘women’s problems’ to shut them up.
5) Drive to avoid the drink
Being the designated driver is a simple way to get out of drinking. Otherwise, it’s time to bring on the old ‘I’m having a few days off the booze’ excuse. “Your aim is to keep things quiet, not to elaborate on them,” says Liz Tucker.
Mum-to-be Fiona Smythe is 26 weeks pregnant and swears by alcohol-free beers. “You can drink them from the bottle and nobody realises they’re not the normal kind as the label is quite discreet.” When you’re eating out, stay away from spicy and pungent food if you’ve been nauseous, says nutritionist Clare Barnes from Nature’s Best (www.naturesbest.co.uk). “And go for peppermint tea at coffee time, it’s a trendy healthy option nobody questions.”