Wednesday, 27 August 2008

How Do You Tell Someone You Are Pregnant?

Before you have time to wonder, I'm not.

I write this post not for my regular readers but for those who, within 7 minutes of seeing the double lines on the pee sick are on the internet wondering what the best way to share the news is.

"I'm thinking maybe a room full of blue and pink balloons. Or maybe ginger-bread men but this time its ginger-bread babies, I'll give them out to the people at work and see how long it takes them to work out why I am grinning like a moron and rubbing my tummy. Fuck it, a fly past by the red arrows spelling out 'I'm having a bbbaaaaabbbbyyyy'".

This is a friendly caution.

You do not know who is trying to conceive.

You know that girl who always goes "Urghh babies! Clearing up shit and puke all the time and not being able to drink for nine months "? She might be trying.

The old bloke at work; him and his lady friend who jet off to the Algarve every three months, they are well past baby making age and don't have kids, they won't give a toss, right? Actually, they may have tried for years and never made it. Never assume they are 'safe'.

My answer? By email. A short, happy one, not too full of details.

Preferably to an email address that you know that they won't check at work but will see at home when they can absorb the news, maybe have a little cry, compose themselves and prepare an appropriate response.

Now I'm not saying tell your partner like this, or your parents.

But, I'm asking you to consider others. Even those who don't seem to want and have never had children. It might well be that even if they have chosen not to have kids there will be a little twinge, and if they are trying/ have tried unsuccessfully it will really sting.

I've told you what to do, here is what not to do:

Don't tell someone at the beginning of the evening when, if they are upset, they have no escape route to breath/ cry/ bang their womb against the wall.

Don't phone them, it might seem impersonal to you to email but consider how long someone whose heart is breaking can keep up the squeaky banter that is required when someone tells them they are having a baby. "Brilliant! Great! Umm! Brilliant?.."

Don't tell anyone how easy it was 'one shot'; you were both pissed; it was a wedding you forgot the condoms. We don't need to know.

If you are a bloke, don't tell everyone how you have super-sperm and stand leg akimbo glancing towards your crotch all evening.

Don't assume that this is the biggest thing that has happened to anyone, anywhere, and will be the natural basis of all conversation for the next 9 months.

Now, I need to point out that this email is a pre-emptive strike, because I don't know who will announce their pregnancy next. I just want to get in there now before the next announcement and when I can give advice without offending the last person to announce their pregnancy.

This is what I reckon.

I might be wrong.

What do you think? How do you want to be told about the next pregnancy?


  1. I am dreading being told about the next pregnancy, and I think it's going to happen every day. When my husband gets off the phone with his brother or with his best friend, I literally sit there and wait for it: the news. And, I absolutely dread it because I know it's right around the corner.

    I love your advice about the e-mail. I think that would give me the opportunity to compose myself, get myself together so that I can have a socially acceptable response to such news.

    I, too, am sooo tired of men who want to brag about their virility when they "got the job done" in one try. Please.

    By the way, you read my mind (as I'm sure you did with scores of others!) - your post title was a real tease!

  2. E-mails are wonderful. Or blogs.
    As you said, it gives me time to secretly hate the person for a split second without having to pretend the tears are happy tears. Dont get me wrong, I really AM happy for the people who are or get pregnant. It just stings at first. Thats all.

  3. I know what Leslie means about dreading the next pregnancy announcement - with our friends, there seemed to be a sort of domino effect and it felt like every time we went out someone else would have a 'little announcement' to make.

    I agree with you that email is the best way. That way, those of us who may be dealing with infertility have time to let the news sink in. Although I'm always happy for the couple in question, I do find such announcements difficult, as they inevitably remind me of all that I myself cannot have. Once I have had time to compose myself, I can then phone the person in question to congratulate them.

    We had some friends (a.k.a. the smug fertiles) who knew that we had been trying for some time. They sprang their pregnancy announcement on us in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Mr Smug Fertile then followed it up with the immortal line, "you'll be next". Fortunately, I had the composure to snap back, "I'm sorry, I didn't realise that it was a race to the finish", but my venomous feelings towards him persist even to this day.

  4. The last pregnancy announcement I heard was via text message, which I thought was a good way of doing it. Mind you, the girl in question had a miscarriage at 13 weeks a few months back, so I was really pleased to hear her news. And she waited until 13 weeks to tell everyone.

    My husband's younger brother told us their news a few months back in a genuinely sensitive way. We had been out for a family lunch, and were just about to head away home. I was waiting in the car and brother in law cornered John and told him quietly. I was of course a little teary when I realised what they were talking about, we both were, but I thought fair play to him for getting us on our own, rather than announcing it to us in front of everybody. It's thoughtfulness like that that makes him my favourite brother in law.

    One time at work, six weeks after my first miscarriage, a colleague of mine told me that she was 16 weeks pregnant. She then said "Well it's all out in the open then". By that I thought she meant that she had told everyone else. Turns out she hadn't, and the following day she told the rest of our team excluding our boss, over lunch, in front of me. Then I had to listen to 20 minutes of "When are you due, you're not showing a bit, wow, this is the first baby in this department in years (ouch!! and the person who said that knew I had just miscarried). Cue a tearful Jane legging it out of the canteen, and home to cry my eyes out for the afternoon. Some people are just fucking clueless.

    I can't believe these people who want to tell the world and his wife straight away. I suppose a lot of people don't realise that the statistics on miscarriages are so high.

  5. I want to be told by a HPT that I am holding in my hand after having pee'd on it. Likely? No, not really.

    I prefer the email option but the next pregnancy announcement will probably be at a hen night I am going to at the end of September. Meeting up with three friends who are all trying for number two (second baby, not poo!). So, I'll be in a restuarant wanting to burst into tears and slam my head against a brick wall and all I will be able to do is smile and suffer in silence.

  6. I like what Sarah said about needing a split second to hate the person.

    I've experienced that so often and hated it.

    DEFINITELY do not announce it in a group setting.

    But at the same time, I'm really worried that 'fertiles' are getting a raw deal, I would hit the roof if it happened us, so I can't really blame the excitement that bubbles over from others.

    And for the most part, they are never trying to be insensitive or hurtful, especially if they don't know our situation.

    Saying all that, I think you should be forced to sign a register at the town hall that people can see.

    I jest. Probably.

  7. Hi Leslie, the virility brag, shudder. Sorry about the title - you can be sure when/ if it ever happens you won't guess from the header!

    Sarah, yes, exactly how I feel. Pleased for them, but need a moment.

    Ms Heathen,horrid when this starts to affect friendships.

    Jane, looks like you've both extremes good on your brother-in-law though.

    Secret D, Ha, yes a HPT is definately the best way.

    Xbox, I've said it bofore but just so people don't get the wrong idea most of my best friends are fertiles, I love the fertiles, BUT I just need a moment to remember that sometimes.

  8. NO way to tell someone is good. I have been really upset by all kinds of different anouncements and none of the anouncers ment me any harm.

    The worst was at my birthday party when I found out my friend was pg, conceived when I did but I had already mc. I smiled, congradulated etc. She said she was worried how I would take it, that I could hate her if I wanted. I said "no I dont hate you" smiled all night then when the last guest left at 1am I collapsed into hubbys arms in a crying heap.

    Another was on the phone when a friend I hadnt seen in months asked how the pg trying was going. I had to tell her I had just suffered a double loss and she felt like shit having to then tell me she was pg. Shortly later a family member txd to anounce their no 3, due near when mine would have been.

    All anouncements hurt like the hell, but yes preferably I would like to hear privately.
    When Its my turn I would like to shout it from the rooftops, but I know better. This crap rollercoaster called ttc has robbed us all of that too.Buga.

    Paint it Black

  9. VERY VERY well said. And SO true. I learned all this the hard way.

  10. p.s. Don't forget the, "Apparently I just roll in a wet spot and get pregnant!" line. *shudder* Actually, a very sensitive, good friend of mine (generally) has said that multiple times (4 children) even though she knows.

  11. Anon, ouch, ouch. Trying to be sensitive, but at your party tough to get through.

    Barb, That's clearly where I've been going wrong, from now on I'll bags the wet spot rather than pushing the husband on to it! Maybe.

  12. I'm all for the email. So sick of the big parties and all day announcements at work. Really I don't want to know how your "super sperm" worked, or that your so fertile your husband just has to look at you funny. I get it your pregnant, now I have to listen to you at work for the next 9 months. Yipeee!

  13. I've been reading your blog for the past few months. My husband and I have been trying the last year. I enjoy reading your story, though I have to admit I have to stay away for periods of time so I don't drive myself crazy with worry over my body.

    A good friend told me the other day that she was pregnant and it felt like a stab to my heart. I never thought I would react that way to something that usually makes me so happy. I cried for hours and went to sleep feeling very sorry for myself. The next day was better, but I understand where this post is coming from.

    You are right about subdued announcements. I am thrilled for anyone who is pregnant, and since the incident above I have decided that all my prayers for babies are sending good vibes out to my friends, and they are benefiting from my baby prayers, and God is not ready to grant me a baby yet, if he ever will be.

    I will continue to pray for you and your husband. I hope you meet your baby soon!

  14. Thanks anonymous, I hope you get there soon too. Best of luck.


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