Bad Reactions to Pregnancy Announcements

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The big day is finally here — the day you’re going to share your pregnancy announcement with the world. You are probably feeling a bit nervous, anxious and excited all rolled up into one big bundle of nerves. Your mind is probably racing. You might have planned the conversation out in your mind from how you tell these people that you are pregnant to how they respond.

While it’s true that you can control what you say and how you say it when you make your pregnancy announcement, the one thing you can’t control is how someone else takes your pregnancy news. Sometimes you might be worried that they will be upset or angry and you become pleasantly surprised when they are truly happy for you. I remember when my sister said she was pregnant, we all knew my mom was going to blow her stack. Instead, she wound up being a totally, over-involved grandma from the get-go. Though there are other times when you share the news and the response you get is hurtful, either directly by saying things that are rude or mean-spirited or simply by ignoring your announcement.

Five Ways to Cope With Negative Responses

Here are some ways to deal with less than ideal responses from people when making your pregnancy announcement:

  • Consider Who You Are Dealing With.
    • Sometimes you’re dealing with people who love you and you really wanted them to be as happy as you are or at the very least supportive. So this reaction is a double whammy, not only are they not happy but they are trying to leech your joy as well. Whatever their reasons are for being upset, and they may be valid concerns that you have under control, it doesn’t excuse their behavior. Try to be the bigger person and move on.
  • Tell Them What You Expect Their Response to Be.
    • If you are expecting a negative response, try framing your conversation with your expectations. “I need to talk to you and I need you to just listen. When I’m done talking you can share, but I need you to remember that what I really need right now is your love and support…” Then launch into your pregnancy announcement. While this might not be a cure-all for every negative comment, it can go a long way to disrupting the fire.
  • Go Away and Regroup.
    • Depending on the reaction you can simply choose to walk away and figure out what to do in response later. This can actually help you if you tend to be hot-headed or make rash decisions. More than one pregnant woman has refused grandparents involvement forever based on the reactions of new grandparents-to-be. This is rash and is probably not what you mean. Simply say something like, “I really wanted you to be happy for us…” and walk away.
  • Kill Them With Kindness.
    • When possible, some try this technique. You simply respond to everything they say with something positive. This can be a hard campaign to mount if the other party is preferring to play the ignore game — pretending that you’re not pregnant. That might require a whole separate conversation.
  • Set Them on Ignore.
    • When all else fails you can out and out ignore them if their response to your pregnancy announcement is out of line. This isn’t mean or hateful, it’s protective of you. When an arrangement can be worked out that satisfies both of you, then you can reevaluate the relationship.

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.