You’ve got some delicious news to tell. Now, you just have to figure out who to share it with and when. We surveyed experts, parents and mothers-to-be. Here’s their advice about letting the world in on your exciting secret.
Broadcasting your news to the world
There’s no one optimal time to share such life-changing news. It depends on a number of factors, and on what matters most to you. Some say the earlier the better: “Friendships and community are so important for women, and in early pregnancy many can use that support,” says Mairi Breen Rothman, a certified nurse midwife and consultant at the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Having others to chat with can make the good news feel even better.
Some women, though, would rather wait until the pregnancy’s firmly established before sharing the news, and that’s fine, too. Since when to tell is one of the first decisions you’ll make as a couple or an expectant single, be sure the time is right for you. Some people bask in the light of having a delicious secret together; some with large families wait for the next gathering to tell everyone all at once. Some women we surveyed confided in their mom or best friend and brought the rest of the world in after they were feeling less tenuous. Others gathered their friends to break the news at a picnic or barbecue so no one would feel left out.
Telling the boss
Many women we spoke with preferred to delay sharing the news with their boss until they were actually showing. Though word of a baby’s impending arrival is celebration-worthy, your boss may not be as excited. Even if she’s a friend, she may feel inconvenienced by the thought that you’ll be out on maternity leave.
Instead, wait until after the first trimester, and be prepared. Get a copy of the employee handbook, know the company’s maternity-leave policy and ask yourself the questions your boss will ask you: Will you work through your due date? How much time off will you take? Just make sure to tell your boss before she hears it from the office rumor mill and early enough so she’s not scrambling. And because sometimes secrets do slip, be prudent about telling coworkers. (Knowing your secret may create a conflict of interest for them, even if you’re close.)
Some factors, including severe morning sickness, might play into your decision to tell your boss or a coworker early. If your job requires heavy lifting or working with potentially hazardous substances, consider checking in with your boss much sooner. You may be able to negotiate reassignment or take precautions above and beyond the usual. See a list of potentially hazardous substances at the Web site for Childbirth Connection, a national nonprofit maternity-care info source; also check with your doctor or midwife.
So take inventory of everyone you’d like to tell and consider all the reasons to share now or wait till later. And don’t let anyone tell you any different. After all, says Laura Zeidenstein, CNM, DrNP, director of the Nurse Midwifery Program at Columbia University, “the choice is extremely personal.”
Trust us: Creatively sharing baby news will be a highlight of your pregnancy. For an instant celebration, consider telling your loved ones at a big event (you’ll also avoid the hurt feelings that come when some family members find out after others). Show up in “Mom” and “Dad ” T-shirts, or present Grandpa with his version in front of everyone. Don’t forget to have your camera poised!