Congratulations, you’ve created a tiny human! While it makes sense to astound everyone with the good news, there are many reasons you might prefer to hold off. Aside from the uncertainty of the big bad first trimester, maybe you want to cherish your secret a little longer. Perhaps you’re not ready for all those opinions. Or the belly touching. But if you’re going to turn down soft cheeses, or your post-work summer spritz without your closest pals raising a brow, you’ll need a bulletproof plan to keep your secret.
Whatever course of action you decide to take, remember that there’s nothing wrong in letting people know. One of the biggest advantages of telling early is that you’ll get the support and comfort from friends and family. This can be especially valuable in case something goes wrong. But if you want to keep your bulging belly under wraps, then you need to get sneaky. Here’s how.
Disguise your bump like a magician
Concealing your unborn cherub doesn’t have to be a chore. It can become something much more exciting: a challenge. Think of yourself as a master of disguise, whipping up fashionable ensembles to fool even your closest friends. While they’re admiring your new scarf or layering prowess, your stomach recedes even further from view. Chunky knits, stockings, boxy shirts and oversized handbags are your friends here. Empire-line tops and dresses will float effortlessly over your belly (at least in those early days), while patterns will distract wandering eyes. Nobody thinks of babies when accosted with a ferocious leopard print. You’re a genius.
Fend off food-related peer pressure
“Why aren’t you eating the delicious cheese?” “But you always drink coffee in the morning!” “What do you mean you’re ‘off’ sushi?” Peer pressure plays a big part in food-related social situations – you won’t realise just how big until you’re pregnant. Fend off all these questions and more with one word: detox. This magic word will get you off the hook for just about anything: dairy, white rice, alcohol, caffeine – the list goes on. All those ‘detox’ teas you’re drinking also explain your frequent dashes to the bathroom. Plus, they’re great for morning sickness. Feeling creative? Invent a low-FODMAP or liver cleansing diet. No one will bat an eye.
READ MORE: Eating out and things to think about
Hands off the womb
The urge to touch your stomach can be overwhelming, and with all that bouncing and kicking in there, we don’t blame you. But if your aim is to conceal, then be strong girl. Avoid the belly at all costs. Nothing says, “Hey everyone, I’m totally pregnant!” than a woman gently stroking her own belly. Anyone who has given birth will see through your ruse from a mile away.
Abstain like a pro
Nothing stops people in their tracks like sobriety. If you’re lucky, your friends will respect any decision to abstain: dry July, dry September, your recent detox addiction, the evils of sugar… Whatever it is, they’ll buy it. And if not (and let’s face it, some people won’t fall for your lies no matter how well-crafted), then it’s time to put in the hard yards.
Here’s what you do. When meeting friends at a bar, either turn up early or offer to buy the first round so you can order alone. Opt for a soda and lime in a short glass or a non-alcoholic spritzer. A virgin dark and stormy works wonders for nausea, while beer shandies are a good option if you want to enjoy a low-alcohol beverage. If the inevitable happens and someone returns your round, top up your partner’s glass on the sly or just don’t drink. Only a spy will watch your glass that closely.
If this sounds like too much trouble, and you’re lucky enough to hold keys to a large automobile, become the designated driver instead. Or invent transport-related excuses, like driving your friends to the airport. Your friends will love you for it!
READ MORE: Your guide to pregnancy and parties
Develop a mysterious dental condition
You’ve hidden your bulge and dietary requirements like a pro, but there’s one last thing to conceal: your absence. How do you cover up all those prenatal appointments? Migraines are a good excuse to come in late, but not all bosses are so sympathetic.
When in doubt, turn to the teeth. Dental procedures are mysterious and complex, particularly if they involve a crown or tooth extraction which could result in lots of return visits. Better yet, any dental surgery requires foregoing coffee and alcohol beforehand – yet another excuse to tuck up your sleeve. That’s right, you’ve got this.