Imagine. You’re late for your period. Your breasts are sore. You drag yourself to the drugstore to buy a pregnancy test, with butterflies in your stomach, because what you’re about to find out may be life changing. If you’re a mom or becoming a mom, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
When I found out I was pregnant, I snuck to the bathroom without my partner and peed on a stick. A faint line popped up. The next morning, I did it again, and sure enough the positive line was much darker. Who would think a little stick could tell us so much about our futures? From the moment we find out about our pregnancies, we start asking lots of questions. Life’s changing. Fast.
I stashed the pee tests in my underwear drawer and sat my husband down to do the big reveal. I was so nervous about how he would respond. Truly, we did plan on having a child together, but we didn’t expect a pregnancy would take right away. When I worried and worried about his response, I finally drew the courage to tell him. He was thrilled. He couldn’t contain his emotions. I was relieved.
When it came to further conversations, my mind was plagued with more worry about my network’s perceptions of me as a mother and how they would respond to my news.
Moms are judged every day. Some of the things moms are judged for are: not having a solid, stable partner, not having a career, having too many kids, not feeding their kids properly, not dressing their kids properly, not disciplining their kids properly, not dressing appropriately by showing too much skin or not enough skin, unkempt hair and the list goes on and on. Moms are judged every day in every way – there’s no wonder we feel worried about how others will perceive us. Announcing pregnancy felt to me like an open invitation to others to start judging my lifestyle and me as a person.
Regardless of my underlying fears, it can’t be kept a secret for very long and there was, after all, relief in breaking the news at the right time.
- Future grandparents: told and relieved.
- Friends and family: told and relieved.
- Colleagues: told and relieved. (many wait until their second trimester to announce to colleagues)
Even though I felt so relieved after my announcements, it was like a weight off my shoulders, I still felt a little bit abnormal for my excessive worry. When I became pregnant and started obsessing over how I would announce to everyone, I didn’t read or see real moms talk about their same fears. Well, let me tell you, its not all as abnormal as I thought! All of my pregnant friends have at one point or another let it slip that they too are scared to tell someone. Despite many moms feeling this way, I don’t think many talk about it for fear of further isolation.
If I was given a chance to re-do my pregnancy, here’s the advice I’d give myself:
Advice for telling people you’re pregnant:
- Don’t overthink their reactions. You can’t know, don’t know what they’re thinking.
- Some people embrace change and some people resist it.
- Don’t. I repeat. DON’T set EXPECTATIONS of how people will respond. They likely WON’T meet your expectations. Their reaction will likely be different than what you expected.
- Don’t post the news on social media until you’ve gone through great lengths to tell all your close friends and family. Nothing hurts a family member more than seeing big news like this on Facebook.
We can’t “write-off” our networks and having our friends and families in our lives is imperative for our success as parents. If someone who is close to you has concerns about your child, their safety, or your safety, ask them to be direct but not malicious.
I hope this post helps other soon-to-be or current moms find comfort in knowing they’re not alone if they feel worry about being judged or feeling isolated for announcing their big change to their social circle.