When Should You Tell People You’re Pregnant?

We already told all 8 soon-to-be grandparents, 1 of 2 soon-to-be great grandmas, 2 soon-to-be uncles, 1 soon-to-be aunt, and 1 couple in our neighborhood. I told my boss (she has a 5 month old) and 3 friends at work. Did I just wildly, horribly, inappropriately jump the gun?

One of my coworkers is a health care professional and says she encourages her patients to only tell their families and close friends and refrain from telling the rest of the world until at least 10 weeks. If you end up having a miscarriage, you don’t want to have to go there with every single coworker and acquaintance.

So, I’ve decided to put a lid on my enthusiasm until week 10. However, I don’t regret telling the people I’ve already told. Letting the secret out put a damper on my urge to tell random strangers in the grocery store that I’m pregnant. It helps to know that somebody else knows and shares my excitement—especially at work where I spend so much of my time. And if I go through the heart-wrenching experience of a miscarriage, I’ll need people in my daily life who can support me through it.

When did you tell the world you were pregnant? If you haven’t been pregnant, do you think you’ll be able to contain your enthusiasm until week 10?

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About The Preconceptionist

Where personal experience meets clinical and cultural preconceptions about birth and women's health.
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16 Responses to When Should You Tell People You’re Pregnant?

  1. A says:

    I’m still all !!!!!! about your pregnancy.

    I’m pretty sure that everyone I know will know about my pregnancy the very minute I find out. Everyone who knows me already is intimately aware how much I want a baby, and most know that it could happen at anytime (coughnobirthcontrolcough), and I get people asking if I am pregnant almost daily. The only people who aren’t in the loop about my um, psychotic baby-want are my in-laws, and I’m pretty sure I should tell them before I tell everybody else in the universe, so yeah. I might leave it off Facebook for like, a week or something, though.

    I think there isn’t one right way to do this. I am a chronic over-sharer in all aspects of my life, so keeping this a secret because I ought to goes against my nature. As long as you’re aware of the pros and cons of telling, then whatever choice you make is going to be right for you.

    I also don’t really think the other people’s comfort regarding a possible miscarriage is a valid reason not to tell. If you would have a hard time breaking the bad news to your friends, then by all means keep it a secret, but don’t do it because someone says you shouldn’t burden others with this possibility. I am with you in thinking that I would need the support of pretty much everyone around me, and I certainly qouldnt have to say

    • A says:

      Ugh, accidentally published. I was saying (typing) that I wouldn’t want to have to break the news of both my pregnancy and my miscarriage to say, my boss when requesting a few days off to grieve.

      Sorry I screwed up the comments. This is what happens when I try to post from my phone on the bus.

    • That’s a really good point, A. I’ve had that nagging thought in the back of my mind too that maybe the tradition of keeping it a secret comes from wanting to not bother other people with the potentially awkward, uncomfortable possibility of miscarriage. It’s a very small start to wide-spread problem that peaks with people being uncomfortable watching a laboring woman in pain and watching a mother breastfeed in public.

  2. Sara says:

    I think about this a lot. I think I would have a really hard time containing such a big secret, but there are a lot of people (mostly family) who live out of town that I’d really like to be able to tell in person. Where work is concerned, I think I would tell one person right away just in case I am not feeling well or have some sort of emergency while in the office, and otherwise keep it a secret as long as possible. Good luck keeping your big news under wraps!

  3. waj306 says:

    I am a wait kind of girl myself! With my first pregnancy we waited a few weeks to tell even close family and didn’t tell friends until 12 weeks! The second one we told close family right away and didn’t tell friends… glad I didn’t because then I didn’t have to call and tell them, hey guess what. I told them when I was ready and didn’t have to chance somebody asking me how I was feeling. Didn’t stop the ‘when is number 2 coming questions’ though!

    Good luck keeping in the news and congratulations!!

  4. angeci13 says:

    I think it is all about what you and your significant other are comfortable with. I think it is ok to tell close family and friends, those people that are able to support you with the good and the bad; however, work is a different story. So I agree with the other posts on that one.

  5. Thanks everyone for your input. I feel like I need to make one clarifying point. For the most part, I do think it wouldn’t be most people’s first choice to tell their boss at 4 weeks. Actually, that sounds insane! I chose to because I’m very close with my boss, who just had a baby, went out on maternity leave, and has her baby in the office right now. My company has unbelievably friendly maternity policies. My boss also knew I’ve been wanting a baby for quite a while now.

  6. Tooje says:

    Ah, what a dilemma. 🙂 I’m surprised that anyone would encourage you one way or another, but actually….no I’m not surprised. At all. Pregnancy, as you will find, is one of those life changing and very personal events that everyone around you seems to find THEIR business. Pregnancy, your belly, thoughts on family planning, what you should do, what you shouldn’t do….everyone seems to think it’s open “season” and will spew all sorts of advice and opinions on you. Be warned.

    As for when to tell? Whenever you WANT. If you know that you’ll receive good, positive feedback, go for it! I’ve had three. We told everyone at 6 weeks with our first. We found out a couple weeks before Christmas, so that was a fun surprise, putting a spit rag in a present.

    When we got pregnant for a second time, we told everyone around 6-8 weeks, but miscarried literally the next day after announcing. It was difficult to tell everyone what happened, but took solace in the fact that we already had one beautiful boy, and what happened after that, happened. We did choose to wait until nearly 12 weeks with the next two, however, just because I wanted to be sure everything was okay.

    I read your comment about how you’d feel going back to work after maternity leave, on Baby Making Machine. It hurts. But I love the socialization my babies get at daycare. And it can be a good adult time for you. You will survive. Promise. 🙂

  7. missohkay says:

    I think it’s great to tell anyone early that you want to share the excitement with and that you would tell anyway no matter what happened! Whatever you’re comfortable with is what’s appropriate – don’t worry about what’s common.

    I’ve had two miscarriages. I told no one about the first pregnancy because everyone says not to, but I ended up telling several people when it was over. It was hard for me to handle other people’s excitement the second time, so we only told 3 people until after it was over. At this point, I’m not sure I’ll be facebook-public until birth 😉

  8. Lauren says:

    So excited to have stumbled upon your blog!! (I actually followed a comment of yours from another baby blog, “HBCS”…). Reason I’m so excited: I also JUST found out, as in last Friday, that I’m pregnant with my first as well! It’s hard to articulate all the emotions other than to compare it to the feeling of being a kid on Christmas Eve. I’ve got that butterfly-ish anxious excitement in my chest, all the time. It’s a trip! Anyhow!! My husband and I just keep looking at each other with wide eyes and big smiles and pinching each other and asking, “Can you BELIEVE it?!?” We’ve decided to wait before squealing to our families, since it would be Grandbaby Numero Uno and we don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up in case, heaven forbid, something goes wrong. P.S. In hopes that nothing does, I am stuffing my body with every fruit and vegetable I can get my paws on. We did decide to tell a couple who are dear friends of ours (and neighbors…slash, future babysitters?) and I have to say, it felt awesome to get it out in the open. Anyway, I (and my April baby) will be following your blog. I might start one of my own…? Thanks for writing! Congratulations!! x0x0

  9. db says:

    I think it’s totally up to you. last year in August got pregnant and told everyone close to me at like 6 weeks and then miscarried at 9w. I had told my boss too and he was totally supportive and so amazing when I needed a few days for a D&C and to grieve. he even sent me flowers. The awkward part came when a few people congratulated me who had heard thru the grapevine I was pg and then I had to tell them I wasn’t pregnant anymore. and after all the “congrats” e-mails I got- it’s amazing how awkward people feel afterwards—usually they didn’t say anything to me. That was just not fun…people didn’t know what to say. But I wasn’t upset that i had told a lot of people, I got a lot of support.

    however i got pregnant again 2 months later and waited to tell most people @ 12w after our 3rd ultrasound. I never put it on my FB status either time. Never wanted acquaintances to know to be honest. And I’m due in 5 days! I think either way it’s fine to tell people, whatever you are comfortable with. either way you’ll want support and I understand wanting to tell people–I can’t keep a secret to save my life!!!

  10. Carrie says:

    I just found your blog and decided to comment. I just miscarried at 13 weeks. My baby died at 11. If I were in the “nobody knows unless family” boat I would wait until 16 weeks or later to tell acquaintances. It has been extremely awkward having to tell people. Plus, to expect, or even hope for understanding from the people around you is too generous. Unless, or even if, the person had a miscarriage themselves the majority of people don’t seem to respect the woman’s right to mourn. Most people expect you to just get over it and move in with your life.

    This was my second pregnancy and giving birth to my dead baby was just as intense of labor as with my daughter at full term. I also have to deal with hormones and post partum depression, which most people don’t understand.

    If I get pregnant in the future will I tell anyone? Yes, I will tell the people who were supportive of me with this miscarriage, but the general public, no way. I feel it is appropriate to educate after a miscarriage, tell anyone you want, BUT be warned that having to untell people you are pregnant is way more painful than telling people you had a miscarriage and asking for support.

  11. Carrie, I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I think that if I were to experience a miscarriage, I would be more cautious about who I tell in future pregnancies. Right now ignorance is bliss. I can’t possibly know the full implications of early disclosure unless I actually experience a miscarriage.

  12. nerkola says:

    i am 6 weeks pregnant with my third baby and have told my bro, sis, mum and dad and 2 best friends. I have also told my oldest daughter who is nearly 9! My hubby told his parents too.

    I am finding it so hard not to tell eveyone as i love sharing the exciting news.

    I am also always very sick with pregnancy so if people knew i was pregnant they would understand better why i dont want to go to th cinema or met for coffee etc etc

    dont want them to think i am being rude!!

    but i will try my best to wait til around 10 – 12 weeks before facebooking my big news!!

    is hard!

    good luck with everything

  13. Ashley Arestad says:

    Hi there! I found your blog while doing some research about the “growing pains” I am having, I am 4.5 weeks. …cant wait to continue to follow along!

    Anyway….My husband and I have told just about everyone, and at first it was fine (we arent superstitious people)…but last night I started to have doubts about if we should have done that…This is our first birth and we have been trying for a VERY long time (3 years) for this baby so we were just so excited that we immediately told everyone! I guess I am not so much worried about telling everyone if heaven forbid something bad happens…I guess I am worried that I have jinxed myself…(lol guess I am a little superstitious after all). I talked with my husband about my worries last night and he told me that he has banned all bad thoughts from his head and I should try to do the same. So today I am going to try not to dwell on all of the bad that could happend and just focus on the great news we have!

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