Schedule Today

Unexpectedly Pregnant: “How Do I Approach This with Extended Family?”

If you’re coping with an unexpected pregnancy, chances are, various “how” questions are echoing through your mind:  How did this happen?  How will this impact my life?  How do I approach my loved ones with my pregnancy news, if I choose to share this at all?  Questions like these can be challenging to explore because they don’t always produce clear answers.   Sometimes, they require contemplation and customized planning, but this process of self-reflection can lead to greater insight.

Maybe you’ve shared your pregnancy news with your immediate family, and now feels like the right time to tell extended family members.  Or, you’d be most comfortable going to someone like a grandparent or cousin first.  Lots of women have closer relationships with extended family members than they do with parents, siblings, or even partners.  If you feel compelled to share your pregnancy experience with your family, your own best approach is going to be totally unique.  Careful consideration and good communication methods will pave the way to productive conversations no matter what.

Navigating an unexpected pregnancy is a step-by-step process that will lead to one of three outcomes, unless the pregnancy ends on its own: having an abortion, making an adoption plan, or choosing to parent.  This choice is a significant one, but many other decisions may cross your path first, like how to approach your unexpected pregnancy with extended family members.  Avenue Women’s Center is here to support you in your own process of figuring this out.

Discover our first-step pregnancy services at Avenue!  We’re a limited medical clinic offering free, confidential support to help you discover your best outcome.

Considering Your Approach with Care

Managing an unexpected pregnancy with your family members may feel stressful and awkward sometimes.  It’s a private matter with the potential to impact those closest to you, so it’s often a difficult situation to navigate within relationships.  Inviting your family into your pregnancy experience may also be an opportunity to receive encouragement, insight, and support.  Do you believe that disclosing your pregnancy news to your extended family may be necessary or helpful to your coping process?  If so, your best approach will be uniquely tailored to you, your family, and your overall circumstances.  Consider asking yourself questions like these:

  • Which members of my family do I feel most comfortable opening up to?
  • Will I share my pregnancy news individually or within a group setting? Verbally or in writing?
  • What boundaries will I set? How will I ask my family to respect my privacy?
  • What cultural considerations should I account for? What are my family’s main values?

You will need to use your best judgment and work within practical limitations.  For example, you may prefer to speak with an out-of-state family member in person, but end up having a phone conversation instead.  It can be really beneficial to create a plan going in.  If someone like a parent, sibling, or spouse already knows about your pregnancy and has been supportive, consider processing your plan with them and asking for their feedback before moving forward.

Communication Tips

As you plan to have a conversation (or conversations) with your family members, consider some of these tips, which may help you approach this subject with greater confidence and a sense of preparedness.

  • Be clear and concise. It’s okay to be brief!
  • Express your feelings about the pregnancy to the extent that feels comfortable and appropriate.
  • Expect questions. Consider which questions you’d be open to answering and how you’d like to answer them.  Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know,” “I’m still figuring that out,” or “I don’t feel comfortable answering that right now.”
  • Empathize with your family members’ thoughts and feelings, if those thoughts and feelings are communicated with kindness and respect. Remember, having a follow-up conversation later is an option if you or your family members need some time to process.
  • Firmly and respectfully set boundaries. For example, you may ask your loved ones to please consider your privacy, and avoid gossiping.
  • Ask for your family members’ support. It’s possible for them to support you, even if they disagree with your past decisions or the future choices you’re leaning towards.
  • If you’ve already shared your pregnancy news with someone you trust, consider asking this individual to be present for emotional support. Having a hand to hold through a difficult conversation can make a huge difference.

Next Steps With Avenue Women’s Center

No matter what circumstances you’re facing, our expert staff at Avenue Women’s Center is in your corner.  It’s our goal to be a consistent source of encouragement, practical support, and reliable information throughout your pregnancy journey- regardless of how others may be responding.  Avenue’s early pregnancy services are designed to empower and equip you for your next steps. 

When you reach out to Avenue, you’ll be met with warmth and compassion- never judgment.

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.