Finding out you are pregnant is a monumental, knees-weakening, joyful, terrifying, confusing rush of emotions. Take a minute, breathe in deeply, then breathe out slowly for as long as you can. Then, sit alone with your pregnancy knowledge for just a second. Try to identify each of the emotions you are feeling at that moment. Maybe even jot them down in a journal if you have one – one day, they will be a fun memory to look back on.
Your pregnancy may be one of the most significant pieces of news to share in your whole life, and that pressure can feel intimidating. We know questions flood your brain as soon as you see that line on the stick – who should I tell first, how should I tell them, when should I tell them? The Pulse has helpful tips for announcing your pregnancy and, maybe even more importantly, what not to do. Because once the news is out there, you can’t take it back!
Who to Tell First About Your Pregnancy?
Some people might disagree over who will be the first to know – their partner, mother, or BFF. Depending on their life circumstances and interpersonal relationships, people will share the news of their pregnancy with different people in a different order.
Once you have shared your news with your partner or spouse, people generally begin to broadcast their pregnancy news more broadly to close friends and family. Therefore, you and your partner must be on the same page about the timing of your pregnancy announcement and who you want to tell when. Good partner communication is critical here.
Some pregnant people report that they test the waters of revealing their pregnancy by telling strangers about their pregnancy before sharing it with close family or friends. It can feel less stressful and a lower-stakes way of sharing the highly-personal and impactful news of a pregnancy with those closest to you.
What If I Feel Nervous or Afraid About Telling People I Am Pregnant?
It is normal to feel worried or afraid about sharing your pregnancy news. Making such a big announcement is exciting, fun, and nerve-racking all at the same time. You can’t control people’s reactions even if you’ve planned the conversation (and their response) in your mind ahead of time.
Prepare yourself for the possibility that not everyone will respond to your pregnancy announcement the way you wanted them to or expected they would. Try to be the bigger person and move on if you get an unexpectedly negative response to your pregnancy news. You can try telling them what you need if you think they can move beyond their own emotional needs – something like, “I need you to remember that what I really need right now is your love and support.”
Sharing your pregnancy news can be more complicated if you have experienced a prior pregnancy loss or had an abortion. Some people with a history of miscarriage choose to wait until later to reveal their pregnancy until they feel more confident about their pregnancy continuing. Others with a pregnancy loss decide to tell friends and family early so that they can benefit from their love and support during the early, uncertain weeks.
When Is the Best Time to Announce Your Pregnancy?
The timing of your pregnancy announcement is very personal. Experienced moms disagree over whether it is better to tell the people in your life about your pregnancy earlier or later. Supporters of the early reveal say that sharing early will bring you:
- More support early in pregnancy, especially if you do miscarry
- Friends’ and family’s pregnancy expertise, such as recommendations for providers, morning sickness cure-alls, or advice on early prenatal screening
- Earlier offers of physical support and assistance
- More empathy if you are suffering from early pregnancy fatigue or morning sickness
The downside of telling your tribe too early is that everyone will know you were pregnant if you miscarry (this can be a good and bad thing). You may get lots of unwanted pregnancy advice for a longer time. An earlier reveal also means that you may be unable to tell everyone when and how you would like to because pregnancy news spreads FAST!
Others choose to keep their pregnancy a secret until their second trimester. Supporters of a late-reveal (after 12 weeks of pregnancy) feel that this strategy will:
- Give you and your partner time to process your impending parenthood on your own, together, and privately
- Allow you to make early pregnancy decisions without input, opinions, or unwanted advice from others
- Save you the pain of having to explain your miscarriage if you do have an early miscarriage
The cons of waiting to tell people about your pregnancy until later are that you might not receive as much support, positive encouragement, and all-around cheerleading in those (sometimes challenging) early months of pregnancy.
What About Telling Work About Your Pregnancy?
Human resource and healthcare providers advise waiting until your second trimester to tell your boss or employer that you are pregnant. Remember, it’s illegal for your employer to factor your pregnancy into considerations for raises and promotions, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, even unconsciously. Some people postpone their announcement if they are up for a raise or promotion.
It is advisable to tell your boss before you tell your other coworkers. This conversation works best if it is brief – Say you have some happy news, make the announcement, and share your due date. It helps if you’re ready to discuss your preliminary thoughts on when you might start and end maternity leave and coverage while you’re gone, but you don’t have to have all of the answers at this time either. It’s okay not to be sure of your plans yet.
Once you’ve told your boss, a regular team meeting can be the best place to share your pregnancy news with your work colleagues. Again keep it simple – here is a sample script: “I have some personal news to share. I’m pregnant and due at the end of February. In the coming weeks, I’ll have more info to share about my maternity leave and the coverage plan, but for now, I just wanted to share the news.” If you don’t have regular team meetings, you could send it in a group email (if that wouldn’t be weird in your company’s culture) or tell people individually. But if you tell them individually, just make sure to talk to all coworkers within a day or two to keep the work rumor mill from exploding and feelings getting hurt.
The next step of your work pregnancy announcement plan should be to schedule an appointment with your employer’s human resources department or representative to start figuring out your maternity leave plan and your maternity health coverage benefits.
How to Spread the Baby News?
Head to Pinterest, IG, tiktok, and other social media to see the wealth of creative ways people announce their pregnancies. For some, it is all about the dramatic reveal, while others like to savor an intimate one-on-one heart-to-heart in person, via Zoom, or phone call.
Sometimes a more subdued and planned conversation is best when you tell friends or family members with a history of pregnancy loss or abortion about your pregnancy. Tell people with a history of loss first before you make a larger group announcement. They will be more hurt if they hear your good news from someone else. Acknowledge their loss, let them know you care about them and understand that your happy news may be hard for them. Allow them to be sad and don’t take it personally.
And should you announce your pregnancy on social media? This is also a very personal and hotly-debated question. In today’s digital era, social media is used for almost every other personal revelation, so using it for your pregnancy announcement seems like the obvious choice. But, again, we caution you to take a breath and pause before pushing “post.” Suppose you decide to announce your pregnancy on social media. In that case, most savvy pregnancy communicators advise waiting until the second trimester (15-20 weeks), when your risk of miscarriage drops significantly from the first trimester. Creative ideas include posting photos of ultrasounds, pictures of buns in ovens, and letterboard announcements.
The pros of making a social media announcement are the flood of positive, supportive, well-wishes, and excitement you receive. This can be especially helpful if you are having a tough pregnancy (physical or emotionally) or if you live far away from your closest friends and family. The Comment Section is a great place to ask questions about your pregnancy and get helpful feedback from those who know you best. Finally, social media can serve as a living record or memory book of your pregnancy announcement- a digital guest book for you to look back on years down the road, maybe even with your grown child.
The cons of making a social media pregnancy announcement are that sometimes a pregnancy announcement elicits negative reactions or unhelpful comments (i.e., “Better start saving for college now!”) Consider whether certain friends or family members might be offended if they found out on social media rather than in person. You could potentially upset friends or family who are survivors of prior loss if you have not had a chance to talk with them first. And you might want to make sure that you have let your work know about your pregnancy if there is any overlap in your contacts and friends. It could be painful and challenging to announce a miscarriage over social media if you posted earlier in your pregnancy as well. However, it could go a long way towards breaking down some of the silence and taboo around miscarriage which happens in 10-15% of all known pregnancies.
Announcing your pregnancy to the world can be one of the most fun parts of growing a tiny human. It is also a deeply personal and emotionally-loaded decision of who to tell, when to tell them, how to tell them, and what to tell them. Follow The Pulse’s advice and take a deep breath and a minute once you see that line on the test before spreading the news. We can help you think through the best kind of pregnancy announcement for you and your partner.