The desire to delay revealing a pregnancy has led to the maternity-wear trend of the decade: the scarf. Pregnant workers are draping them, looping them, wearing them like pregnancy invisibility cloaks, all to draw attention away from a pregnant belly. So popular is the scarf in maternity circles that it’s become almost as tell-tale as the two lines on a pregnancy test.
“I’m not even a scarf person,” said Courtney Rice, a health care consultant who lives in the North End. But when she found out she was pregnant on a Friday — and starting a new job the following Monday — she started accessorizing.
“I was fearful they wouldn’t think I was all in with my desire to sell for the company” if they learned she was pregnant, said Rice.
Even so, she added, a scarf can only take you so far. Rice waited until she was six months along to tell her employer. By that point there was no distracting from her belly.
“But no one asked me about it,” she said. “I don’t think anyone felt comfortable asking the new girl why she was gaining weight.”
Still, keeping the big news quiet can be difficult, and some pregnant women mention it before they can stop themselves, sometimes to their sorrow. In Winthrop, Lisa Schad, a 39-year-old middle school teacher, made the mistake of telling a colleague she was pregnant with twins before she made the news generally public.
“[T]hat colleague came up to me and rubbed my non-showing belly and asked how things are in clear view of many many students,” said Shad. “Sometimes she use[d] a loud whisper to ask me questions about the babies or tell me how happy” she was for the mom to be.
And yet, before Shad told her co-worker, she was having trouble making it through the day without mentioning the number one thing on her mind.
“It’s so hard to keep the secret for three months. I guess in the grand scheme of things that’s not that long, but it feels really long when you are in the middle of it.”
In London, Kate’s days of secrecy are over, but for other women, the coverup continues. But a word of caution: As Frere, the Newton mother, learned, ploys can backfire.
The morning after she drank four or five “martinis” (really fruit-based drinks) at Toro in the South End, a cousin called her husband. “I’m impressed by how many martinis Marie Laure can drink,” she said. She sounded a bit concerned.