How (and how not) to tell people you're pregnant
Telling others you're pregnant can be tricky, so you might like to think ahead.
When I announced my pregnancy, about the only person who didn't ask me if it was planned was my partner. I had never presented myself as the maternal type and we weren't married. We'd only just begun cooking meals instead of ordering take-away together, but we'd planned this baby for more than a year and we were ecstatic. It turns out I have an excellent poker face.
One of the biggest pregnancy announcements you make is the one to your employer. I told my boss when he called me into his office to talk to me about concerns of burn-out, because he'd noticed I never took holidays anymore. "I have a plan for all that annual leave," I said in an expressionless manner, before going on to announce my pregnancy. He congratulated me then acknowledged his surprise - his theory had been that I was saving up annual leave for a big overseas trip. I replied, "No, nothing as exciting as that."
You could do worse than 'I am pregnant and I am annoying' as your Facebook announcement
Clunk. I don't know what I was thinking when I said that, because my pregnancy was everything to me. I'll hazard a guess that I was wanting to keep a 'career woman' image intact, to appear loyal to my job, and to keep private something as tender as the joy I was feeling. I even managed to look a little despondent during the discussion. But I veered right on past 'quietly pleased' and on to 'disturbingly flat', consequently giving the very awkward impression that I was announcing an unwanted pregnancy.
Fun ideas for announcing pregnancy
The fortune cookie announcement can be a big surprise for loved ones: Buy a box of cookies, then use tweezers to remove all the fortunes. Print new fortunes with personalised messages, then insert them into the cookies to distribute among your guests.
Literally any announcement you make to your own work colleagues will be better than my effort.
How will you tell your friends? My research suggests that the modern woman is going to tell everyone via Facebook. The internet also thinks that when you do this you'll be very annoying about it. I could say something here about how social media connects us all, and doesn't deserve the bad reputation it gets. I could also say that if we can be patient with Facebook announcements about cooking endeavours and favourite football teams, then perhaps we can also manage a little patience for the woman posting about the minutiae of having a baby.
But instead, I will say to get used to this, because once you become a mother every single thing you do will make you into a 'type' and that type is always going to be annoying to someone. As a mother with a baby you will think you are tired, bored, in-love and a little bit scared, but everyone else will think you're trying to annoy them by being smug. My advice is to embrace it. You could do worse than "I am pregnant and I am annoying" as your Facebook announcement. But don't overdo this tone, or you'll find yourself inadvertently making an 'unwanted pregnancy' announcement like mine at work.
There are two areas where I have some genuine advice about announcing your pregnancy, and that's in the event of miscarriage, and when you're telling someone who is experiencing infertility.
The possibility of miscarriage or a late-term abortion are the reasons for caution about the timing of pregnancy announcements. If you have a miscarriage, know that they are very common events but that no-one talks about them, so you and your partner might feel very alone.
Secondly, everybody you announced the pregnancy to will now need to be told about the miscarriage. This is not fun. You will unfortunately hear unhelpful condolences like, "It could be worse" and "It will happen when it is the right time".
On the other hand, if you didn't tell anybody about the pregnancy and you lose the baby, you get to experience a different sadness to receiving all those misguided condolences - that is, complete silence. This will feel sad, too. As someone who has experienced a miscarriage, my advice is that there is probably no escaping the hurt, so you should just go ahead and make your pregnancy announcement whenever feels right.
Finally, how to announce your pregnancy to somebody having trouble conceiving? Having seen a loved one go through the journey of infertility, I can confidently say that most of us have absolutely no idea how much hell they're going through. Don't contribute to their pain. Tell them about your pregnancy when you're alone with her, rather than forcing her to quickly muster her 'game face' in front of people. I would advise saying something like, "I know you'll be happy for us, but I also understand this might be difficult news for you. Please tell me what I can do to make life easier for you." And then be gentle to them. When your baby comes, you're going to need as many people on your side as you can, because that first year is a wild ride - and you will have already annoyed everybody else on Facebook.
Now, go forth and announce. Good luck.
Andie Fox blogs at Blue Milk. This article first appeared on Daily Life.
Looking for fun ways to announce your pregnancy? Check out our gallery of 30 ways to break the news.