A pregnancy announcement is usually a person’s way of sharing some very exciting news. If they’ve included you in the list of people they want to know, hooray, you can now consider yourself an important part of their inner circle. To stay there, it’s important you react to the news in an appropriate manner. To help you out, here are a few suggestions of things you shouldn’t say in response to a pregnancy announcement:
Anything along the lines of ‘about time’ is probably best avoided. Remember, this isn’t a bus. It’s a baby. And no matter how long you feel you’ve been waiting for this moment, now is not the time to start whinging about how long it has taken. Other people don’t live their lives according to your schedule (unless you are the person in charge of the timetables for public transport), so resist the urge to dramatically look at your wristwatch and instead congratulate the happy couple. After all, the very fact that you feel this pregnancy is overdue implies you are excited about the news, so try to focus on that instead.
#2: Was It Planned?
Before these all too commonly uttered words leave your lips, please take the time to stop and think about what they mean. In detail. Yep, it’s a pretty personal question, and probably not one you should be asking. Just assume that if your friend wants you to know all of the gory details about the conception, she’ll volunteer them. Do. Not. Ask.
#3: Are You Joking?
Perhaps your friend is a bit of a joker, and yes, maybe this is a joke, but take a few moments to consider things before asking this question. Imagine that your friend is joking, and you believe it, so what? People will laugh, the end. But if your friend really is pregnant, and you assume it is a joke, you could potentially hurt your (hormonal) friend’s feelings by implying that the idea of her with child is nothing short of a joke.
#4: Birth Sounds Awful…
Today is about your friend’s wonderful news, it is not the time to start sharing childbirth horror stories. Please keep your labour-gone-awry stories to yourself. Don’t spend the conversation fixating on how the baby will make a grand entrance into the world, and instead just focus on how excited you are for your friend. Motherhood is about a hell of a lot more than just the birth.
#5: I Thought You’d Put Weight On!
If you value your friendship (read: life), do not say this sentence.
Now is not the time to ask why, that bun is already cooking away quite nicely in the oven. If your friend announced that she was thinking about starting to try for a baby, of course you could ask more about her reasoning. But once that pregnancy has been announced, the why and wherefores hardly matter. This question also implies that you simply cannot fathom why a person would want to have a baby, and is best avoided on the day of the big announcement.
#7: I Guess You Won’t Be [Insert Something Fun Here] Anymore
Contrary to popular opinion, pregnancy does not signify the end of personal identity. Your friend will probably still be able to wear those designer heels, jetset across the world ticking off places on her travel bucket list, and climb the career ladder. She’ll even still be able to spend an evening drinking cocktails with the girls – once the baby arrives, of course (though she might join you for the odd mocktail before then). Do not see her pregnancy as a ‘The End’. Things may chance, of course, but your friend will still be very much herself.
If you’re not thrilled about the news, for whatever reason, you might think keeping your mouth shut is a polite way of handling the situation. In truth, however, your silence will speak volumes, and anything other than a ‘Congratulations’ will let them know exactly how you feel. Fake it till you make it, and give your friend a huge hug and tell her how happy you are for her.
As a general rule, anything other than a ‘Congratulations’ is probably the wrong reaction.