How Do I Tell My Parents About My Unplanned Pregnancy?

“My family still doesn’t know.” 

Sometimes we hear women say these words at 6 weeks. Other times at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 20 weeks. Everyone has their own reason for hiding an unintended pregnancy from their family. Whatever the reason, fear is a strong emotion and an easy one to give in to. This unplanned pregnancy most likely sent your mind spinning, and you may anticipate it will do the same to your family. On top of everything else you have going on, you might have to handle their emotions and reactions too? No, thanks. 

Even if you’re expecting the worst, you may be surprised. Your family could end up being your biggest support system as you navigate this unplanned pregnancy. Below, we will outline some tools to help you tell your family. 

Before we get started, let’s address one important point first:

If you have experienced or are at risk of a violent and/or otherwise abusive reaction from your family, your safety is a top priority. Please know that there is help available for you. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 for support and more information.

Unplanned Pregnancy: Processing Your Own Feelings

Before you share this news with your family, you should have a good idea of where you stand with your pregnancy. Your family’s initial reaction may be either positive or negative, so it’s important to have an idea of your decision regarding the pregnancy before you tell them. Do you know your options? If you don’t want to parent, have you considered an adoption plan? Use this decision tool to get started. 

Remember, no one can force any pregnancy decision on you, the decision is yours to make. Still, having supportive people in your life during this time will help you feel safe and secure. If you are feeling pressured to make a decision you don’t want to make, reach out to us. We can help. 

If you would appreciate support during this decision making step, that is what we do best! Our team of nurses and patient advocates are here to listen and support you by providing good information and offering a safe space for you to share how you’re feeling. We also provide necessary medical information about your pregnancy that is needed to make an informed decision. Schedule your pregnancy confirmation appointment today.

Telling Your Family: Getting Ready for the Conversation 

Some conversations require a little more preparation than others. This is one of those conversations. Maybe you feel like communication is not one of your best skills, and tense conversations tend to go sideways. If that is the case for you, try rehearsing the conversation with a trusted friend or mentor. They may help you find the right words to say, and you can practice using the best tone of voice. It is important to share your pregnancy news gently but confidently. 

Here are a few examples of things you could say: 

  • “I’m pregnant, and I want to keep it. I know you’ll need time to process, but when you’re ready, I would greatly appreciate your support.”
  • “I have some news that might be hard to hear at first–I’m pregnant. I have thought through my options and made a decision. But because you are important to me, I still wanted to tell you so you can be a part of this.” 

Phrases like these can show that you have already processed what you want, and yet you’re still making space for your family members’ initial reactions. It also gives them space to offer a different reaction once their emotions settle.

Make Space for New Emotions

As you prepare for the conversation, it’s helpful to remind yourself: What was my first reaction to this pregnancy? Often, our first reaction isn’t always our best one. If this is the first time your parents or family are hearing the news, their first reaction might not be their best either. Remember how you first felt when you saw those two lines on your pregnancy test. Maybe you felt shocked, embarrassed, disappointed, or afraid. Chances are, your parents and family may feel the same emotions. 

Their reaction to this news doesn’t define you or mean you need to change your mind – just give them space to process how they are feeling. Their reaction might have more to do with their own experiences, memories, emotions, and expectations than it has to do with you. Try not to become defensive or combative at this moment. Give them their space, listen to them if you feel able, but have an exit plan in mind if you don’t. It is wise to have this conversation in a neutral or even public location where you know you can exit safely, if necessary. 

Remember, your right now is not your forever. Countless women have recounted to us that after the initial shock of the news wore off, their families stepped up and became their biggest supporters. 

Seek Additional Support

While we hope that your family will become your biggest support, that doesn’t mean they have to be the only support you have. Often, many of us feel ashamed to ask for help outside our families (or even within our families!). We think that strength means we have to do it all on our own. But that’s not true! Have you ever heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child”? We are not meant to do things all on our own, and neither are you. So much additional support is available to you, if you’re willing to receive it. 

Embrace Grace is a nationwide program offering support groups for single moms. Their mission is love, offering you a place of belonging and support wherever you are. Visit their website and search your zip code to find a group near you. And guess what? This program doesn’t only exist for single moms–Embrace Legacy offers a different curriculum for single dads. You don’t have to go at this alone. 

At Clearway, we are here as a first step. Our medical services include pregnancy testing, STI testing, and limited obstetric ultrasounds–these health services provide you important information as you step into this pregnancy journey (no matter where it takes you). Our nurse will go over your pregnancy options and answer any questions you may have. 

Our patient support services are customized to you. Your patient advocate will listen to what you feel are your areas of need and provide information on local resources to meet those needs. This may include support with housing access, education and scholarships, English language learning programs, material support, among other things. If you make the choice to continue your pregnancy, we also offer free classes to help you prepare for birth and newborn care. Your partner is welcome to attend these classes with you—in fact, we encourage it!

We are here to empower you. An unintended pregnancy does not have to stop you from achieving your goals. The road might be longer and windier, but you might surprise yourself with the strength you have to overcome. We believe in you. Believe in yourself too! 

If you would like to schedule a pregnancy confirmation and resource appointment, click the chat icon to start talking to one of our team members today. 

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