Revealing a pregnancy can be a complicated, drawn-out endeavor. For me, there were a number of people (family, close friends, my supervisor) who knew before other people (other family members, close but not-as-close friends, colleagues) who still knew before other people (Facebook land, absolutely everyone else). Some people needed to be told in person, some were sent a text and some figured it out on their own, when they accidentally saw my nausea wrist bands or when my attempts to brush off concerns over my pending doctor’s appointments failed miserably. And, well, some of these complex conversations ended with (sadly) some of the worst responses to saying “I’m pregnant”. When you share your pregnancy news multiple times, in many ways, you're bound to receive a plethora of reactions. It's just science, I think.
This is not to say that a pregnant woman needs to be coddled or that you should censor your feelings when someone reveals a pregnancy. Obviously, everyone is entitled to their own emotions and reactions to big news, especially when it's as big as procreation. However, I ask that you, perhaps, pause and consider how your responses is going to make someone who’s embarking on a major life change, someone who’s probably not feeling super awesome, and someone who potentially feels like a throbbing blob of hormones, actually feel. I mean, you might be shocked or concerned or some other emotion, but just imagine what the woman who is actually pregnant is feeling. From experience, I can tell you that it's not all joy and happiness. Sure, she may be happy, but she's probably also scared and unsure and a bundle of juxtaposing emotions that can make her reality a bit, um, heavy.
So, honestly, it's just better to err on the side of sensitivity and support your pregnant person in those first few moments. There's plenty of time to voice any concerns you may have as her pregnancy progresses and she has had a chance to wrap her mind around the fact that she's having a baby. So, maybe just promise not to respond to pregnancy news in any of the following ways, OK? OK, good talk.
Yes, pregnancy involves lots of body fluids and plenty of other things that make people squeamish. And yes, eventually another human being is either going to be pushed out of or cut from a woman's body. If that is "gross" to you, okay, sure. That's fine. But there's really no good reason to let a pregnant woman know that you can't handle child birth, because she will have to.
"This Is The Worst News I’ve Ever Heard"
No. No, it's not. But now's not the time to bring up a bunch of other terrible stuff, either. Remember, you're not the person who is pregnant. So, if pregnancy is literally on your list of, "worst things that could possibly happen to me," that's okay, but don't share that list with someone who is already pregnant. Be happy they're with child, and be glad you're not.
"Did You See Who Was Kicked Off The Bachelorette Last Night? Most Dramatic Rose Ceremony Ever!"
I mean, maybe she did while she was laying on her couch and nursing her nausea, so I suppose it's a fair question. But give her a few minutes before asking her about it. Let's act like her telling you she's going to have a baby is a little more important than some strangers vying for love on national television, okay?
"But What About Coachella?"
Yeah, maybe next year. She's going to be a little busy for a while. Her life is going to change in so many ways that, honestly, your music festival plans probably fall a little low on her list of priorities. Sorry?
"But What About Your Career?"
She has plenty of time to think about this. You two have months and months to discuss her career and how it might, maybe change if she chooses. Let her have this time to not pretend like it's a major issue.
"But What About ME?"
If you need an explanation as to why this isn't a great thing to say, well, I'm sorry. I just don't have it in me.
"Can I Have All The Wine And Soft Cheese In Your Fridge?"
I mean, there's a chance that this could be helpful for her. But it's a very, very slim chance. Maybe give her an opportunity to say goodbye first?
"You're Going To Get Fat"
Try again, just spell it P-H-A-T. She'll appreciate it! Honestly, the idea that a woman will somehow "ruin" her body when she gets pregnant just needs to die.
"See You In 18 Years"
Um, unless you're embarking on an 18-year-expedition through the Andes or some deep, dark jungle, not seeing her for 18 years has nothing to do with her pregnancy. This is arguably one of the least supportive things you could possibly say. Pregnancy is a time in a woman's life when she needs the most support and the most help and the most friends to help her. Don't bail.
"Did You Know It Costs Three Hundred Trillion Dollars To Raise A Kid?"
Trust me, she knows. Finances are never fun to talk about (although, they should be discussed on the regular because we're all adults and things cost money) but there's no need to bring up how a baby could maybe, possibly, potentially break the bank. I mean, do you say that to someone when they announce that they got into college? No. You celebrate because that's a great thing. Just pretend she got into college. I mean, having a baby is a lot like going to school, it's just that the entrance exam is a little more intense.
*A Blank Stare*
Oh hey, so usually when someone shares something with you, they expect a response. I know, I know, communication can be hard. But try it. You might like it!
"But I Thought You Swore To Never Have Kids After We Saw That Epic Meltdown In Target?"
She may have changed her mind, or conveniently forgotten about that moment in time and her vow to never procreate. Either way, what was sad back then really doesn't matter. She's pregnant now.
"So I Guess This Means You Found Someone To Sleep With You!"
I guess there could be some scenarios where this is a genuine response but, even so, I'd recommend against it. There are other things to think about now.
"I Can't Believe You're Bringing Someone Into This Garbage World"
I know, right? Nothing like a little hope for the future generation to help get your mind off that, though.
"Tell Me Your Thoughts On Vaccines And Cloth Diapers And Maternity Leave And Everything Political That Has To Do With Child-Rearing!"
This isn't the best time to discuss parenting ideologies and their implications on society. Text her later. Better yet, give her a while to figure it out because she's going to be new at this (maybe) and there's going to be so much information thrown at her (definitely) so, you know, lay off.
"Please Stop Talking"
Unless you have major news of your own that trumps a pregnancy ("I'm having TWO pregnancies!"), or you're in a theater and the movie's about to start, this is super inappropriate. Give the pregnant woman the floor. In a few years time, she'll have a toddler and trying to talk over those little buggers is going to be damn near impossible.