How to Tell Your Family About an Unplanned Pregnancy

Gabrielle Applebury
Unplanned Pregnancy

Sharing news about an unplanned pregnancy can feel stressful. Preparing and planning ahead when telling certain individuals can reduce your potential anxiety and create a more tolerable conversation.

Know Your Audience

The closeness of your relationship will dictate how you need to break the news and how much information you choose to disclose. You will also want to consider how supportive your audience will be, their anticipated reaction, and the levels of emotion that will accompany the conversation. By mentally preparing, you can better anticipate how the conversation will go. Before chatting with anyone consider:

  • Is this the best time to break the news?
  • Are they calm and not focused on any other tasks?
  • Do they have time to talk or are they rushing to leave?
  • Am I feeling calm?
  • How do I think they will react? Am I feeling prepared to deal with the aftermath if it's not a positive response?

Create a Plan

Coming up with a strategy beforehand can make breaking the news a bit easier. Keep in mind:

Create a Plan
  • You get to decide when it's right to disclose any and how much information.
  • You have the ability to set boundaries with whoever you disclose the information to and can refrain from answering questions or end the conversation if you feel uncomfortable.
  • You can share when you feel uncomfortable and can put the conversation on hold. You can do so by sharing how you feel or saying you'd like to discuss the pregnancy at another time.
  • Relaxation techniques can be very helpful to utilize before, during, and after the conversation.
  • Self care is of the utmost importance, not only because of the pregnancy, but for your mental health.

Telling Your Parents

Sharing big news with parents can feel daunting at times. Remember you know your parents best and can make a good guess as to what their reaction will be like. To best prepare, go over what you're going to say to them, how you think they will react, how you're going to feel emotionally, and how to best exit the conversation if you feel overwhelmed. The better prepared you feel, the smoother your part in the conversation will go. Although you can't control how they will react, you can anticipate their reactions and come up with a game plan for yourself. To get the conversation started:

  • Ask if they have time to discuss something with you and gage their reaction.
  • Take a deep breath and keep your news short and sweet as it may feel like a lot for them to process.
  • Ask if they have any questions and share what you feel comfortable disclosing.
  • If they react negatively and you feel uncomfortable, try not to engage any further and utilize your exit plan.
  • Take care of yourself and speak with a supportive friend or counselor to process the conversation afterwards.
  • You can say, "Even though this was not planned, I'm wanted to let you know that I'm pregnant."
  • If you're happy about the news you can say, "I'm really excited to share with you both that I'm pregnant."
  • If you're nervous about their reaction you can say, "I know this is not what any of us planned for, but I'm pregnant and I hope you'll be supportive because I really want you to be involved as grandparents."
  • You can also say, "Despite feeling a bit nervous about sharing this, I wanted to let you know as soon as possible that I'm pregnant."

Telling Your Siblings

Similar to telling your parents, chances are you have a good idea as to what your siblings reactions will be to your news. If you have some siblings you know will be supportive, begin by sharing the news with them in a private conversation. With less supportive siblings, again come up with a plan for what you're going to say, think about how they will react, how you'll feel after telling them, and come up with an exit strategy to keep yourself emotionally safe. Some ways to break the news include:

  • "I know you aren't expecting this, but I wanted to share that I'm pregnant."
  • "Even though I wasn't planning on getting pregnant at this time, I'm really looking forward to being a parent and I hope you'll be involved as an aunt/uncle."

Telling Your Children

When it comes to informing your children about an unplanned pregnancy, it is best to wait until you know for sure the embryo has implanted properly and the pregnancy has taken. Many women wait until around the three month mark to be sure before disclosing the news. With children it is best to err on the side of caution as sharing information about a miscarriage can be really difficult to explain regardless of age.

Remaining Calm

Check in with yourself often before having this conversation and be sure you are feeling as prepared as possible before taking action. Using relaxation techniques and connecting with supportive individuals after a difficult or stressful conversation can help you better process this experience.

How to Tell Your Family About an Unplanned Pregnancy