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?