About a year ago I watched an episode of “16 and Pregnant.” Soon after discovering she was pregnant, a young mother decided that she would inform her own mom of the news. She couldn’t work up the nerve to have a “family discussion,” so she decided to just text her mom while she was in class. This turned out to be not such a great idea. #1—her mom thought it was a joke. #2—the mom didn’t appreciate such serious news being shared via text.
This is just one of the many mishaps that can occur when trying to convey the news of pregnancy to an unsuspecting parent or guardian. It’s very difficult to navigate this conversation. Let’s keep from making the same mistakes. Here are a few examples of what NOT to do:
- I think it’s safe to say, texting is not a great option. Although it’s a very valid form of communication today, people in previous generations value face to face conversation—especially for a topic so serious. Sending a text can be viewed as “the easy way out.”
- Along with texting, any other form of impersonal communication is discouraged. Don’t email. Don’t send a certified letter. And definitely don’t have someone else break the news for you! The best method will come from YOU personally.
- Don’t mention the news in passing. (For example, when you are running out of the door to catch the bus or packing up to leave for vacation.) This doesn’t allow for any family processing to occur and can make the situation more difficult.
- Don’t blame your parents. It can be easy to point a finger, especially given a difficult circumstance such as an unplanned pregnancy. However, be careful of assigning blame. Take responsibility for what is yours and share honestly about your situation. Use “I feel” statements, expressing your emotions regarding your pregnancy.
- Don’t yell, scream, or start throwing punches. That usually doesn’t go over very well. A calm, honest, face-to-face conversation is going to allow for both parties to be heard. Express your thoughts, then allow your parents to share theirs. It may not always turn out as you hoped, but these steps will help create a healthier environment for the news to be shared.
Informing your family members of an unplanned pregnancy may be difficult and awkward no matter what steps you take. However, there are things you can put into place to help make it as successful as it possibly can be. So, when thinking about the best way to break the news to YOUR parents, make a plan that best suits your individual family…and always remember what NOT to do!
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.