Do you tell people you're trying for a baby?

Do you share the big news that you're trying for a baby?
Do you share the big news that you're trying for a baby?  Photo: Getty Images

Gone are the days of waiting until 12 weeks are up before announcing you're expecting. These days, instead of waiting until they're pregnant, couples are sharing with family and friends that they're trying for a baby.    

Thanks to a social media-induced culture of oversharing, fewer topics are classed as taboo, and what used to be kept private is now often shared publicly. Importantly, many couples who are trying to conceive (or, as forum users say, 'TTC') value the support of their inner circle during what can be an exciting – and sometimes stressful – time in their lives.

When Elaine and Chris decided the time was right to try for a baby, they were quick to share the news with family and close friends.

"At first we just couldn't contain our excitement that we had finally made the decision to start a family. We didn't even think about keeping it a secret," says Elaine.  

"Most people were unfazed by hearing the news as it was a natural progression in our relationship and they appreciated our honest approach. Within our friendship circle family planning isn't a taboo topic – bouncing off each other and sharing information and experiences is how we came to make the decision to start trying in the first place."

Psychologist professor Jane Fisher, director of the Jean Hailes Research Unit and a Monash University academic, says while these days there's much more openness about reproductive life, being choosy about who you tell is a sensible approach.

"You need to be thoughtful about who you disclose this information to, as it's better to disclose intimate matters to people who you feel will treat them respectfully," she says.

"You want to be confident that the person you're talking to is not going to treat your disclosure disrespectfully by, for example, passing it on if you don't want it passed on."

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The main deterrent to couples sharing that they're planning to start a family is, of course, the fear that something may go wrong and a desire to keep that information private.

"We're always happy to talk when things go well," says Prof Fisher. "If you say 'we're trying' and a couple of months later you conceive that's great – but if a year goes by and you haven't conceived it might feel humiliating, lead to a sense of failure, or invite questions about fertility that might not be so welcome."

Dr Bronwyn Leigh, director of Perinatal Psychology, recommends only sharing the news with people you believe will support you regardless of the outcome. "Be clear as a couple why you are telling people beforehand," she says. "If you don't feel like people are going to be a good source of support I would be questioning why you would tell them.

"For many couples it takes longer than 12 months to fall pregnant, so think about what it might feel like if that were to happen, and if you want that to be public knowledge. "Consider also that some people might have very strong views about any kind of assisted conception, and that there may be other views or unwanted advice provided that you might not otherwise have received."

Elaine fell pregnant soon after sharing the news, but says that if she had encountered any problems trying to conceive the couple would have turned to friends and family for support. They plan to share any future plans to have more children with them, too.

"Being unable to conceive or running into unforeseeable difficulties is a fact of life for many – had it happened, we would have been honest with our family and friends about that too," says Elaine.

"Whether some of our friends were anxious about this, we couldn't tell, but it didn't really affect our decision to tell people that we were trying. We would have wanted their support."