For many women who have just learned that they are facing an unplanned pregnancy, telling others about the situation is a huge fear. Even before you’ve made any of the tough situations that you’ll have to make later on, this can be the first obstacle.
This step is tough for almost everyone. But even tougher would be traveling down this road without the support of your friends and family. Holding the truth in – your secret will just grow and grow, eventually straining your relationships and damaging your own emotional health.
You have to tell them, but how?
How Do I Know When To Tell My Friends & Family?
Unfortunately, the answer for most of the following questions will be deeply personal. It’s not really unfortunate; you’re journey will be unique and every decision should be something you’re comfortable with. But it would be nice if someone else could just tell you what to do and how to do it every step of the way.
That’s not going to happen, nor should it. This is your life, and your pregnancy, your baby and only you will know how to handle things.
But there are lots of different ways that you can go about telling a friend, a family member or your partner. Here are some ideas to think about:
Should I tell everyone at once or different people individually?
Telling each friend or family member individually allows you to tailor what you say to each person. If you know that certain people will respond well to different phrasings, you might want to tell them separately.
But remember that this is your choice, not somebody else’s. It’s likely that at least one person in your life won’t react well to your news. They may even react with anger. Give them time to process the new information; some people just need a little longer to work through their feelings. You don’t have to be there when they do it.
And if telling people about your pregnancy really stresses you out, you might not want to do it over and over. Telling everyone you love at once means you’ve started this journey in one fell swoop.
It might also help to have an ally with you when you tell other people about your pregnancy. If you know someone who will accept your situation unconditionally, it may help to tell them first and then ask them to accompany you as you tell others.
How do I start?
You might want to try beginning your conversation by mentioning how it makes you feel:
- “I really need to tell you something, but I’m afraid that you’ll react poorly…”
- “I need your support with this…”
- “I think this is going to be difficult…”
But in the end, you just have to say it. “I think that I’m pregnant,” if you’re not sure yet, or “I just took a pregnancy test and I’m pregnant” might be the easiest ways for you.
Handling Their Reaction
Again, everyone processes information differently. Remember when you found out you were pregnant? You were probably flooded with emotions. You may have been upset and needed time to sit with the reality and just take it in. Let your family members and friends do the same.
You might even want to give them an “out,” so they know that it’s okay that they need a little time. You could say “You don’t need to respond now. Let’s take some time and talk about it later.” That will allow them to step back, absorb the news and you can broach the subject again when you’re both prepared to continue the conversation.
You could also write a note, leave it for them to see and allow them to bring it up when they’re ready.
If they react with anger or disappointment, try your hardest to ignore these words. When they’re finished, reiterate how important it is for you that they support you.
Can I predict their reaction?
It’s best not to assume how people are going to react, because everyone does things that surprise us, things that seem “out of character.” But you know your family and friends best.
Have you ever had to tell your parents or loved ones something really big? Did you every come to them with a problem or have them find out that you were in trouble?
Getting pregnant isn’t wrong, and you didn’t do anything wrong. Remember that always. But some people react as if it is. If you think your loved ones might react that way, and you’re not sure that you will be safe, try bringing a friend or someone else you trust to the conversation. That can help diffuse the situation from the beginning.
If you think things might get really bad, pick a place where you feel safe. Avoid rooms with knives or other things that could be used as weapons. If you think that you’re parents may become violent, or kick you out of the house, contact a friend or family member beforehand and ask them whether it would be okay to stay with them for a while. Try to find a place that won’t interrupt your school or work.
If you think things are going to be bad, and you won’t feel safe returning home, pack a bag with all the things you’ll need: identification, insurance information, money or a bank card, school stuff. Store this somewhere away from home. Before you tell your parents, call an adult that you trust and ask them to check up on you after you tell your parents.
Discuss your situation with a pregnancy counselor
Telling your loved ones that you are pregnant can be one of the most difficult conversations you’ll ever have to have. If you’re still not sure how to start the discussion, or have any other concerns, it might help to speak with someone objective.
Our experienced pregnancy counselors are here 24 / 7 to help you work out your feelings and decide on the best way to move forward. We just want to support you, in any way that we can. Call 1-855-711-1609 any time to speak with someone who can help.