Despite the pivotal importance of disclosure to incest treatment and healing, disclosure has never been studied from the victim's perspective. How do incest victims move from keeping the secret to speaking about their abuse? Nine adult women were asked to talk about the first time they each told about the incest. They often spoke, not of "telling" in the commonly understood sense (i.e. giving information to someone who understands one's meaning), but instead of a time when some form of knowledge of the incest first entered an interaction with another person. Colaizzi's (1978) phenomenological method was used to analyze the interviews. Seven themes emerged: (1) living in the silencing home; (2) I am totally and particularly alone; (3) my mother, the focus of need; (4) incest as burden; (5) the secret must be kept; (6) disclosure: trying to balance above a chasm; and (7) disclosure as loss: no matter what, I still lose. The themes were then integrated into an essential description of first incest disclosure. Implications for nursing practice are explored.