I’ve had four babies now (the last just this June!), so you might think I’d have baby announcing down to a science. Not quite. I actually tend to get awkward about it and end up never making an official announcement, leaving people wondering if I’m really pregnant or just putting away the cheesecake.
In a classic example of do as I say, not as I do, here’s a rundown of best pregnancy announcement practices. Good luck, and happy sharing!
Spilling the Beans to Family
Family members first, right? Or at least let them think they’re first, especially when it comes to pregnancy news. While you might not be ready to announce your status to the world until you’ve at least reached the 12-week mark and have entered the second trimester, it’s OK to let close family members in on your secret whenever you feel ready. If an early pregnancy ends in miscarriage (because they sometimes do), understanding loved ones will be there to be your support network.
Parents like to know before everyone else (so if you’ve already told your sister, make sure she keeps hush!). It might not be feasible to announce to both your parents and your partner’s at once, but try not to show obvious preference when you tell one set of would-be grandparents before the other. You might choose to divide and conquer: You tell your family, and let your partner tell theirs. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, and it could be the best option depending on relationship dynamics. However, it’s also nice to present the happy news as a couple (especially if it’s your first time), showing that parenthood is a united effort that you’re approaching together.
When you tell siblings, individual phone calls (or visits if you live nearby) will mean so much more than a group text. (And seriously, don’t let them find out via Instagram.) If your siblings are already parents themselves, a little face time (or literal FaceTime video chatting) can really boost your bond—experienced parents love to give advice to newcomers, discuss the details of your pregnancy symptoms and chat about all-things-new-baby!
The actual announcement can take shape as a serious conversation, a clever hint or a funny surprise. (There are a zillion creative ways to do this. Just consult your handy dandy Pinterest app.) Your baby announcement can set the tone for your pregnancy—are you feeling spiritual and grateful about it? Somber and concerned? Fun and excited? The way you introduce your pregnancy will influence the way your family approaches the subject for the next nine months.
Giving a Heads Up to Your Boss
Working at Pregnancy & Newborn, getting a positive pregnancy test is a career builder, in a way. I shared my news of my second pregnancy with my awesome boss almost before I told anyone else. For the rest of the office, I placed framed pictures on my desk: one of my 3-year-old and the other of my little ultrasound gummy bear. I was fortunate to find myself pregnant in the most understanding work environment of all time.
Of course, I realize that the typical workplace may not be as encouraging. Lisa Abramson, best-selling author of The Wise Mama Guide to Maternity Leave, recommends announcing your pregnancy at work at the end of the first trimester or early in the second, “after the risk of miscarriage decreases, but before your baby bump starts to show” (sometime between 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy). Abramson says, “Prepare for the conversation with your boss by researching your state’s family leave policies, searching your intranet or employee handbook, and talking with women who have taken maternity leave within your company (keep the conversation casual).”
Talk to your boss before telling people in your office. In your first conversation, tell your boss you’ll begin working on a plan to cover your responsibilities when you’re gone. Then schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss your plan—this will leave your boss assured that you’re not going to leave her high and dry. When you share with other co-workers, they will also be less likely to feel resentful when they know you’ve prepared a low-stress solution for your absence.
“Remember, taking maternity leave isn’t a special request. It’s your right. So don’t apologize or feel bad when approaching this topic with your boss,” urges Abramson.
Because pregnancy loss is especially common during the first trimester, many moms-to-be choose to wear a poker face until the chance of miscarriage has lessened. After that, there’s still risk involved, but if you’ve heard baby’s heartbeat and received good news from your OB-GYN, you can feel more confident in announcing your pregnancy to friends, either on social media or face-to-face—though it’s a personal decision on whether or not you tell the social world at all.
Just as with family, close friends will expect to be told before the general public. Ask yourself, which friends might feel miffed if they don’t get an intentional update before your online announcement goes live? Which of your girlfriends would you expect to hear from if the circumstances were reversed?
Things to Consider
Also, consider the feelings of any close friend who is struggling to conceive. Infertility concerns are extremely sensitive. While your friend may feel hurt that you’ve conceived and she hasn’t, she’s likely to feel worse if she thinks you’re hiding your news from her out of guilt or discomfort. It’s usually best to have a private conversation—let her know you’re expecting and express honest regard for her feelings. Then, throughout your pregnancy, watch your words. Anything that sounds like either gloating or complaining could be hurtful to a friend who wants so badly to be in your position.
Once your VIPs have been briefed, you’re free to share your news with a more public audience. When you do decide to air your tiny, sweet, pastel laundry on Instagram, will it be after you’ve learned baby’s gender? This would likely put you around the 20-week mark (or halfway through for you mathematicians), so your pregnancy will seem to go by faster for those following your progress. You’ll also have fewer questions to answer if you come forward with the baby announcement and gender reveal all in one.