Preparation for Delivering the News
First, allow yourself to feel your own reaction to your pregnancy. It is common to have a range of emotions, and for feelings to evolve during a pregnancy.
Second, think about good—not perfect—timing, like after dinner, not when your dad’s team is losing on TV, when your mom just had a super bad day at work, or they are having a disagreement.
Some women want the father of the child with them when they share the news. Others prefer to do this in person but by themselves.
If your parents are separated because of their job or divorce, you may want to consider telling them together—or not.
If long distance, think about a call or a “special delivery” announcement by mail while asking them to wait to open it until you are on a call, or facetime or Skype. Depending on how far along you are in the pregnancy, consider bringing a sonogram to show.
If a challenging situation, you may ask a counselor to accompany you.
If you are seriously concerned for your safety because of a history of domestic violence, consider doing this with someone else there (not a boyfriend they can’t stand), meet in public, or not in person.
Making the Announcement
You will want the ones you count on the most to support you, but they are not mind readers. You may have a feeling that you know how to react. Don’t project. Don’t assume. Don’t try to control their feelings. Instead, guide the conversation by simply stating the facts. Perhaps say something like, “I have something important to share with you.”
Allow them to absorb the news and tell them you would like their support.
They will likely want to know when you are due or ask how far along you are in your pregnancy. If you are not in a committed relationship, they will want to know who is the father of the child and may also ask who else knows.
They may have a different opinion than you do about the outcome. That’s OK, but you are in now in charge. Most women find that even if the circumstances aren’t perfect and planned, that their parents will be there for them, even if not initially.
Sometimes, parents (especially if separated or divorced) may play out their own issues. Perhaps one parent expresses support while the other is angry (translation: disappointed because their dream for your perfect life just ended, or they may feel that they have failed as a parent and are concerned what others will think about them).
Don’t accept being in the middle of their drama, but it is OK to give them a moment to feel disappointed if everything wasn’t perfect and planned. Or perhaps they will think you are too young—or they are too young to be a grandparent. Give them time to work out their own issues, but not at your expense.
If they are supportive of your decision, embrace it! And remember that you have time to consider what is best for you. If you are enjoying a healthy pregnancy, there is no rush.
If everyone has been hoping for a grandchild, then think of a creative way to share the news.
Order or bake a cake with messages such as, “Congrats, Grandmom!” or a mug with, “Can’t wait to meet my Granddad!”
One couple told their family to open the oven where there were two hot dog buns. Decoding the mystery, the brother-in-law exclaimed, “You have two buns in the oven??!!”
No matter the way they react, remember that with few exceptions, most parents love their children, and ultimately, they will want the best for you. Let them know you love them, too.
Remember that if your parents are not supportive, others will be. Create your own support network. You deserve better.
People will treat you as you let them. Expect and project a good outcome. Welcome loving reactions and reject negative ones.
These insights may help, but expect the unexpected. Most important, the focus should remain on you. You are the priority now. Know that you have strength in you that you may not have realized before you learned you are pregnant.
By Serrin M Foster