If you are actively trying to get pregnant, do you tell your friends and family or keep it to yourself? I am a private person in most aspects of my life, and my reproductive ambitions were no exception. My husband and I quietly ditched the birth control, with excitement, and a little bit of nerves. What if it happened right away? What if it didn’t happen right away? Little did we know, we would spend the next few years going down the rabbit hole of infertility treatments. It was an emotionally trying experience, so to me, I was glad not to have invited other people on that journey with us. It would have been more of a stressor than a help. This isn't the case for everyone, but before you start excitedly discussing your family plans with all of your friends, family, and the barista at Starbucks, here are a few things to consider.
1. Who To Include in Your “Inner Circle”?
Whether you’ve just decided to start trying for a baby, have been trying for a while, or are undergoing fertility treatments, it is likely that you will have a small group of people or an "inner circle" that you share with. The key to deciding on who to include in your inner circle is how private of a person you are and how you feel about entrusting people with very private information. If you think any of the people you choose to disclose to will not keep it to themselves, you may want to remove their "inner circle" privileges. Ultimately, you want your inner circle to consist of who you can trust and who will be a good support.
2. Do You Clue Family in on Your Baby Plan?
Family can be a big source of baby-related pressure. Questions about your baby plans tend to surface once you reach a certain age or have been in a relationship for a period of time. It is possible that sharing your desire to start a family can buy you some breathing room. But it is also possible that as soon as you decide to share, the question may only change to: “are you pregnant yet?"
Family-related pressure may not even come directly from family members, but from the pressure you put on yourself. Perhaps you feel an internal pressure to give your parents a grandchild or your siblings a niece or nephew. The extent to which you feel this internal pressure may also be a factor in who you choose to tell.
3. Your Fertility Journey and Your Work Place
A workplace situation can be tricky to navigate as it is generally not the ideal place to share very personal news. It may also depend on your type of work, and your relationship with your superior. I would advise against sharing that you are trying to get pregnant, only because it may cause an unfair bias against you. If you boss thinks you are going to be pregnant soon, they may hesitate to give you new projects, promotions or more responsibility (despite the fact that this is generally illegal as it would be a form of discrimination).
The only time I would suggest confiding in your boss would be if undergoing fertility treatments due to the many medical appointments you may be required to attend.
4. Do You Care How Early People Know You are Pregnant?
When would you prefer for people to know that you are pregnant? Some people are so excited they can’t hold in the news and share it as soon as the pregnancy test is positive. Others are more cautious, waiting until they pass the 12-week mark, when risk of miscarriage is reduced significantly.
If you choose to share right away, it is possible you may need to share potentially uncomfortable (and definitely sad) news if something is to go wrong in the early stages. At the same time, if you choose to keep the news to yourself, an early loss may end up feeling like a burden you bear alone if others weren’t even aware you were pregnant. There is a delicate balance between bursting with excitement and being cautiously optimistic when deciding the right time to announce a pregnancy.
5. What If You Don't Get Pregnant Right Away?
It is also possible that you don’t get pregnant right away or end up needing fertility treatments. Would you regret having told people early on when you started trying if you knew this was the route you'd end up? Will you continue to share details if you end up pursuing fertility treatments? Or if you didn’t tell anyone in the beginning, would you share now?
The longer the period of time you are trying to get pregnant, the more stressful the situation can become. Will having friends, family or coworkers in-the-know be helpful or will it further strain the situation?
6. Is a Support Group Right For You?
It is often difficult for those who have never had the stress of trying to get pregnant for an extended period of time, or have not undergone fertility treatments to understand how difficult the process can be. This may cause well-intended people to offer unsolicited (and sometimes hurtful) advice or comments. Sometimes those who understand best are those that are going through similar experiences. Finding an infertility support group, whether online or in person can be an invaluable tool.
If you decide to share the ups and downs of trying to get pregnant, you may have an amazing support in those you choose to share with. Rather than feeling alone, there will be people you can reach out to, who will hopefully be able to provide comfort, if not at the very least a distraction. The bottom line: when choosing to share your fertility journey, think about the kind of support you would find the most beneficial and who in your life would be best to provide that support.