Sharing the news of your pregnancy is usually an occasion you look forward to.
You imagine tearful grandparents-to-be, excited to hear about the newest family member, your friends excited to take on an important role in your child’s life, and people surrounding you with excitement and good wishes.
But it doesn’t always work out like that.
There are lots of reasons why you might be feeling a little hesitant about sharing the news with your loved ones.
Perhaps you are worried that they will think you are too young, or don’t have the stability to raise a child.
Perhaps they struggled with fertility, miscarriages or postnatal mental health problems, and you worry that they will feel negatively about your news.
If you anticipate a negative reaction to your pregnancy, you may be finding it difficult to look forward to sharing the news. You may even find that you spend a lot of time worrying about it, leaving you unable to fully enjoy the first trimester (morning sickness and fatigue aside).
Here are some tips to help you cope with potential bad reactions to your wonderful news:
Tip #1: Try To Relax
Yes, it’s easier said than done, but you have enough to worry about during your first trimester without adding in things that might not happen. You can’t predict how people will react to your news, so try not to spend time obsessing over what may or may not happen. Instead, focus all your attention and energy on looking after yourself as you go through the first stretch or pregnancy. Get plenty of rest, eat well, and enjoy the fact that you and your partner are the only people who are in on the secret.
Tip #2: Don’t Pre-Judge People
People will surprise you. When it’s finally time to make the announcement, you may find people react in ways you weren’t expecting. The people you thought would be less than thrilled may surprise you by being overjoyed at the news of your pregnancy. You may also find that some of the people you thought would share your joy are a little less taken with the news than you were expecting. You can’t predict what people will say or how they will feel, so don’t try to, or you will create unnecessary stress and anxiety for yourself.
Tip #3: Focus On Your Feelings
You are probably experiencing a hurricane of emotions, especially with the massive hormonal changes taking place inside your body. You may find yourself overjoyed one minute, and weeping with fear the next. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal. Focus on all of the reasons why you are excited about the pregnancy. Write them down, and keep them with you so that you can look over them whenever you start to feel worried about how people might react to the pregnancy.
Tip #4: Talk To Your Partner
Talk to your partner about your concerns, and encourage him or her to open up with any worries of their own. Talking about how you feel may help you to resolve any feelings, and you may feel reassured after opening up. What you need is a strong support system to help you deal with any negative reactions, and your partner is the first place to look for that support. By letting your partner know you are worried about it, you are getting the support system ball rolling, making sure support is there should you need it.
Tip #5: Remember, This Isn’t About Them
If you do receive some less than positive responses to your announcement, try to remember that this isn’t about them – only their responses are. It can be upsetting when people aren’t excited by your good news, but try not to let it spoil the pregnancy for you. This is your pregnancy, your good news and your baby, so focus on that. Yes it is hard to feel that you aren’t supported by your loved ones, but try not to forget all of the joy you yourself feel about the pregnancy. Don’t let other people’s feeling make you feel less excited about becoming a parent.
When people respond negatively, it’s based on their experiences, how they feel about themselves and even fear of how things are going to change. You never know – a friend may have been struggling with infertility or experienced a miscarriage and not disclosed the information to you, or they may have other issues going on that you don’t even realise. Be gentle – to you and them.
Tip #6: Surround Yourself With Positive People
There will be people in your life who are excited about the pregnancy, and by surrounding yourself with these people you may find that you are able to feel more positive. If you find that certain people are leaving you feeling less than excited about the pregnancy, try to spend less time with them. There’s no need to cut them out of your life completely, but you would be absolutely justified in wanting to spend less time with people who are making you feel upset about the pregnancy. It’s important to keep stress to a minimum, and if that means spending less time with certain friends or family members, then so be it.
Tip #7: Break The News Gently
If you think there are certain people in your life who may react negatively to your news, be sensitive to this when you break it to them. If you think your parents might be less than thrilled about becoming grandparents, it’s probably not a great idea to tell them on live television. Tell people privately if you think they may be uncomfortable with the news. If you think the news may come as a shock, make it clear in advance that you have a special announcement to make. This might give people chance to prepare a little, and could minimise any shock-induced hurtful comments.
Tip #8: Make Your Feelings Clear
This is your good news, so make sure everyone knows that it is good news. Tell them you are excited, and can’t wait to become a mother. Happiness is contagious and simply sharing your joy could be enough for the negative people in your life to realise that this is great news. If not, then see tip #6.
Tip #9: Don’t Get Defensive
Negative reactions are always hard to deal with, especially when you wanted people to be happy for you, but now is not the time to get defensive or create long term damage to your relationships. A screaming match isn’t going to leave anyone feeling any better, and certainly won’t help with your stress levels. If a person has reacted negatively to your announcement, simply express your sorrow that you feel that way, and then excuse yourself from the conversation. You don’t have to stick around to listen to negative comments.
Tip #10: Give People Time
If a loved one wasn’t pleased to hear your news, give them time to get used to the idea. They may have been in shock, and perhaps need a little time to come to terms with the huge changes taking place in your life. They will be in touch when they have something positive to say, so keep the lines of communication open, and be willing to talk when they get in touch. All of us have reacted abruptly or badly to things in our life — everyone deserves a second chance.