Announcing a Pregnancy

How do you tell someone you’re pregnant? When? Why? Who do you tell first?

I got started thinking on this question several weeks ago when a woman on one of my ultra-mainstream internet mommy groups posted that on a forum. She was newly pregnant, and wondered how to tell her children and when. I forget exactly what I said, except to make sure that she didn’t tell her children too much before she wanted everyone else to know, because her children (I think one of whom was three) would probably spill the beans.

Some women may not want to tell everyone before the end of the first trimester, in case of miscarriage. That’s a consideration. After all, you don’t exactly want someone hearing about the pregnancy, but not about the loss, and come up to you a couple of months afterwards asking when you’re due. Depending on how emotional you may be after a miscarriage, it may range from a slight annoyance to a crushing reminder of your loss. One of my friends had signed up for one of those “your pregnancy week by week” websites, had a miscarriage and forgot her password — she kept receiving emails telling her how far along she was and when she was due and what she would be feeling (the baby moving and so forth), and couldn’t unsubscribe. While she wouldn’t exactly forget that she had had a miscarriage and “ought” to be pregnant when she wasn’t, it’s another thing to have it being consistently thrown into your face when you are merely checking your email. My sister had somehow been signed up for the typical “pregnancy” things, and a few days or weeks after her first baby would have been due, she got a letter from a local photography place cheerily reminding her that it was time for her newborn’s baby pictures. Quite upsetting.

There have been some friends whose pregnancies that I didn’t know about until the woman announced that she had lost the baby (sometimes at 4-5 months). And there are some women I know who didn’t tell that they had even been pregnant and had miscarried, until years later, or if the specific topic came up, and the woman had to explain her emotional state. While you miss out on all the prayers and emotional support by never telling, you also get to miss stupid things people may say. For my part, I do not regret telling everyone I was pregnant, even though I do have the occasional twinge of having to tell people who heard I was pregnant (I put it as my facebook status) but did not hear that I had miscarried (also a facebook status). It would have been easier not to tell at all, or merely to have the first and only news being that I had miscarried.

I wrote the bulk of this post several weeks ago, to be the post in which I announced my pregnancy on my blog, but I started spotting before we had told anyone other than my mother and my mother-in-law, so with a threatened miscarriage, that became the first news; and I am changing this post. Since that time, since I have miscarried, I can say that all the prayers and well-wishes were worth any pain or regret at having to “un-announce” the pregnancy. And, with miscarriage being so common (even if it’s not commonly talked about), hearing stories from all the women who had had miscarriages or threatened miscarriages, that I had never known about, was also helpful.

The circumstances of the pregnancy would likely make a difference in the above questions. Some women and girls hide their pregnancies the whole nine months, or at least until they can’t hide it any more. Some women tell everyone and his brother that they’re trying to conceive, and will announce a pregnancy as soon as they take one of the “early predictor” pregnancy tests. My mom was so regular, that she told my Grandmother that she was pregnant because she hadn’t started her period earlier in the day like she was supposed to. My Grandmother said, “You can’t possibly know you’re pregnant yet!” But my mom did know.

One distinct disadvantage to telling everyone early, is that it makes the pregnancy seem that much longer to everyone else, and you tend to get the “are you still pregnant??” looks and comments when you’re not even due yet. But if you tell everyone at 4 months, then when you actually have the baby, every says, “Already??”

Does anybody remember Minnie Pearl, from the Grand Ole Opry? I read a biography or autobiography of her for a book report back in high school, and among the things I remember about it (aside from her given name, Sarah Ophelia Colley; and that her trademark — the tag hanging off of her hat — started as an accident, when she bought a hat for her gig and forgot to remove the price tag before going on stage), was that in her family, the children didn’t even know that the mother was pregnant until their father would usher the family (all girls) into the bedroom every so often, to show them their mother with a new baby. I guess that’s just the way some people did things back then.

Some friends of mine did this sort of thing recently. They had lost their first baby on their due date; so didn’t tell anyone they were expecting until part-way through this pregnancy — and some of their more distant friends didn’t even know they were expecting until the father said that they were going to the hospital for the induction!

I’ve heard of some cute or clever ways of telling friends and family that you’re pregnant — like announcing at Thanksgiving, that you’re thankful that you’ll be having a baby next year; or having your Christmas present to your parents or in-laws being various baby things (rattle, diapers, or an early ultrasound picture). I’ve heard of women who were able to delay telling their husbands for several weeks or months, but I always wonder how the guy couldn’t notice that his wife hadn’t had her period and wasn’t PMS-ing. [Yeah, I know, some guys are just clueless; some don’t notice what’s not, but only notice what is; and others may just travel a lot, and aren’t around all the time.]

Sometimes I can get pretty creative, but in this, I’m not — I take the pregnancy test, tell my husband, then our mothers, then our family, then everyone else. This past time was a tad different in how I told “everyone else” — since I’m on facebook, I put the positive pregnancy test as my “profile picture”.  What about you — how did you tell everyone you were pregnant?

14 Responses

  1. Wow, Facebook has changed the way we do things! Positive pregnancy test as profile picture – clever! Very original! One pregnancy for me. My husband was the one who read the “not pregnant” because I have very bad eyes. My dad came over about an hour later. I told him and he almost cried! I went to my mom’s that night and showed her the test. I asked her not to say anything, but that did not work! We waited to tell my mother-in-law until we could see her in person, at five weeks. She is an awesome cook and loves to feed us. We made a sign: “We are hungry. And, so is your grandchild!” We added a picture of a grandma holding a newborn. More details than you wanted, I am sure!

  2. Awesome, the facebook profile pic is a great idea.

    I totally thought I would tell my family and husband a cute way this second time around, but when I found out I was way too excited to not just scream and tell my husband right away. I then called my sister, parents, and texted my sister in law at 11pm! I keep having this hope that I have conceived the last couple of days which would make it so I would find out right before Christmas. If this is the case, I will definitely wrap a present or something.

  3. With our first baby, who miscarried, we waited to tell people – no reason, we just thought that was what we were “supposed to do” – and waited too long, as we miscarried three days before the Sunday we were going to tell our church family. So, since we still wanted to share our baby’s life with our church family, we had to tell people, “Um, we were going to tell you we were pregnant, but we just lost the baby.” Rather awkward. Still totally worth it, as we really valued having them a part of the baby’s life, but we really wished that we’d told everyone sooner. And we’d just told our families a day or two before the miscarriage, so Joe had to call them all back and tell them we’d lost the baby. So with our next baby, we told everyone the same day I got a positive pregnancy test! With our last, we waited 24-48 hours just so I could get accustomed to the surprise myself, but we again told everyone right away. There’s always the possibility of miscarriage, but we have decided that we want our friends and family to be a part of that journey rather than having to mourn in secret or tell everyone about the baby only when it’s gone.

    I plan to write out my own m/c story when I have time, and I’ll be linking to yours. I’m so glad you’re doing okay so far – but I’m so sorry that you have to go through all this, esp. at Christmastime! Thinking of you,
    D.

  4. My parents waited til quite late to tell anyone they were pregnant with me. No one at my dad’s work (except his direct superior) knew until days before my birth. I think they even waited to tell their families until month four or five. It’s funny though, I was with some aunts and uncles for Thanksgiving one year (without my parents) when I was about 20, and one of my aunts expressed something like “your parents were so happy to have you even though they didn’t mean to get pregnant” but luckily another aunt had known ahead of time that they had been trying, so she set the record straight.

    I think my mom just felt that she didn’t want people asking her about it all the time at least until her “bump” was obvious.

    • It may also have had something to do with just how things were back then — remember “I Love Lucy” generated a bit of a scandal, when she said the word “pregnant” on TV! Also, there may have been more… “modesty” isn’t exactly the word, but something along those lines, that kept people private. Perhaps, also, the miscarriage rate was high, so people may not have told until they were “sure” that she wasn’t going to have a miscarriage?

  5. I just told everyone! I was always TOO excited to think of some ultra creative thing. With our firstborn we did make her a shirt that said, “I’m the Big Sister Nov. 2006” but we miscarried. After that putting all the pressure into doing something “cute” to spread the news was just too much.

    We always tell everyone right away, as soon as that second line shows up! LOL! And I have had 2 miscarriages so I have had to share the bad news as well to everyone. I really appreciated all their support instead of feeling like I was all alone and no one knew.

  6. With my first, we told everyone right away. I woke my husband up at 5am on a day he had to work a 12 hr night shift just to tell him.

    Then, I got two positive pregnancy tests, and so we told a few people, but then I miscarried, so we had to tell all those people we told about that.

    Then, I took about six pregnancy tests a month later and we did wait a little while to tell most people because of the previous experience, but it all worked out. We just didn’t tell anyone when we went in for the induction.

  7. Since I have had six born, but 9 pregnancies, my way of telling varies. In fact, I don’t remember how I’ve told my husband each time. I know I waited to tell him over dinner or something special with the first. After that, I think I just showed him the pregnancy test. Family is another matter. I like to be in control of when they know. The first one, I believe we put it in a card or did something clever. I know with the second we did it at Christmas with a photo (the frame had two spaces) of the child we already had on one side, and a question mark in the frame on the other. We were still not shy about telling with our 3rd born. However, by the time we were pregnant with our 4th we began to delay telling family and often told close friends first. You see, our family wasn’t so happy after 3 for us to have any more. So when I was pregnant with another after my 4th born was one we waited to tell. We did tell friends, but mostly kept quiet. It was an awful feeling, because I was actually happy to be pregnant but dreading everyone’s attitude. I wanted the baby but didn’t think the timing was right. So when I went t the OB at 16 weeks, and found out the baby had no heartbeat, I felt great guilt. I had not celebrated this baby as I had the others (I miscarried between one and two but didn’t know I was pregnant). I did get a lot of family saying awful things like, “this one was probably going to be deformed” and “you’re getting older now, women shouldn’t have babies closer to 40” and “you already have so many, this is probably for the best.” I was told it was a warning (how can a loss be a warning again?), and my step mom really pulled out all the stops. While getting a D&E (I regret…I should have induced) she grilled my husband and told him how we need to save money and I should be working, that we don’t need another kid. Later in talking to me she said I was wasting my life staying home with my kids, and implied that my loss was a good thing. Needless to say, I had to figure out how to deal with telling people again since I’ve had two babies born since and have another one on the way. I have informed people in my family that I take what I get when it comes to what blessings God will give me. If I get any comments, I kind of do react quickly. We wait to tell until I’m past 12 weeks, though 16 weeks is still scary to me. I do not share any weird test results. I do have had trisomy 18 positive screen last baby, I shared this AFTER my last was born. I had a positive screen for Down’s this time, and though I think the bay is likely not affected by Down’s (sonograms have been good)…I have not told my family at all. They don’t know I did the 3 hour test for glucose (well my sister does but she doesn’t share it with everyone). I don’t wait beyond 12 weeks because I want to celebrate the blessing of being pregnant. Even if I miscarry, or have a still birth, I will celebrate the days of my child’s life. If some people don’t like it they will have to deal with me because it’s not their place to tell me how many kids to have, and not their place to tell me how to feel about having another baby. If I have a baby with a severe or mild disability, that is fine. I’ll take what I get and I won’t throw a fit, and if someone wants to throw a fit when we share our good news, they’ll be informed they can just go have their fit in private.

    I do share with friends on facebook, but consider it bad form to write on facebook before sharing with close friends and family. So I waited until telling my kids and the grandparents. We always tell the kids before we tell others (at least I feel like we’ve always done it this way.

    I’m long winded in this one…but wanted to share that this time I took my pregnancy test at 5 weeks past my period, and then waited a week to tell my husband (we’re having financial issues as always). We were at the pool, and I said casually, “this will be hard next summer with a 4 month old around.” He said, “are you sure, I mean how did it happen?” I laughed because I thought he meant how did I get pregnant, but he was asking if I took a pregnancy test. I had a positive result on one test pretty clear, so I told him. He said he was worried, we have a very full minivan and cannot afford another van at this time. He was much more excited probably a week later. When we told people, he was often the one toannounce and he told the kids. He is definitely happy…and gets really funny happy when the baby comes.

  8. While I would kind of like to do something ‘cute’ to tell my husband I am pregnant, he really wants to know the same time I do. So with our first pregnancy he was with me when I took the home pregnancy test and we flipped it over on the counter right side up after the waiting time so we both found out together. It was New Years Eve so we found it quite appropriate (date wise) to call everyone immediately. The only people we waited to tell was I didn’t tell anyone at my work until after the ‘official’ test at the doctor’s office. (stupid office politics and no official maternity leave so didn’t want to have ‘the talk’ with my supervisors until I needed to but had good friends at work and knew it would come up) With our second pregnancy I took the test in the bathroom and then planned on not looking until I went out to the livingroom where my husband was, but the silly test responded ‘positive’ immediately! So hubby was a bit disapointed (seriously, he was) that he knew a whole 30 seconds after I did.🙂 We called our out of town relatives (husband’s side of family) and told them over the phone the next day, but waited until we saw my family in person this time, later that week. We felt it would be better to wait until we saw them in person because we knew that, while everyone would be happy about a new child on the way, no one was really thrilled about the timing (we hadn’t told anyone we were trying again) and most of our family hadn’t really gotten over the very traumatic birth of our first child and we knew news of the new pregnancy was likely to start a 9 month argument, which it did. (my parent’s first words? “you’re having it in a hospital this time right?” fyi the choice of homebirth/midwife team had nothing to do with what went wrong at the first birth, so we are trying to avoid the hospital this time as well but most of the family doesn’t really know that yet, waiting for the fight until we KNOW we have a midwife/birth place set up.

  9. I haven’t been pregnant (yet!), but my aunt had a very cute way of telling me. She was fairly early in her pregnancy when I got married, and she hadn’t announced it publicly yet, but wanted to let me know. So on the tag for our wedding gift, she wrote “from the SoandSo family: Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, and Shhhhh!”

  10. Perhaps another time I will share the stories of announcing my 2 pregnancies, but I feel like this is a good place to share a little insight on facebook announcements.. In the past, I fully planned to do the same (Status update or profile pic announcement), so I don’t want to blame anyone who takes that route.. but just a suggestion that you might want to consider how many friends you have on facebook.. While the same can inevitably happen even when you have a smaller friends list, the bigger your list, the higher the likelihood that you’re sharing the news with people who really aren’t that important to you, but who may have just experienced a miscarriage themselves. There have been several facebook announcements from my friends in the past year (even though I’ve kept my friends list small), during which I miscarried both my pregnancies. One announcement was within 24 hours of finding out I was miscarrying my first, and multiplied the pain that I thought couldn’t get any worse.
    By no means am I suggesting you avoid facebook announcements – just suggesting that you consider the possible ramifications if you have hundreds of friends on your list.
    Thanks!

  11. I was 12 weeks preganant everything was fine but ill have spotting here and there the divtor did a sonogram the baby was fine hearbeat wasfine i went to work on a friday starting getting in extrme pain like labor pain left and went straight to the hospital in my car i started gushing oit blood i mean i know i was having a misscariage as soon as they got me.on a bes i had an erge to pish so i.push a lilttle and felt something ciming out i was a wreak i was crying so i push a second time and the doctor said it was a miscarrige i push out the fetus i was heartbroken to know my baby died and i didnt know what to do its been a few days im greving alot and cant eat cant sleep i sobstress

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