When you announce that you are pregnant (especially for the first time), you will get various reactions. Even from strangers, some of their reactions might take you aback. You might not even know how to respond. I remember being utterly shocked at some of the things people said to me when I was pregnant. Somehow, when you grow a baby inside you, your body, reproductive health, and family planning become socially acceptable for anyone to react to. Let’s talk about some of the more shocking reactions and how they might make you feel! Perhaps you will be able to relate to some of these.
“Aren’t you a little old/young for that?”
Everyone seems to have an opinion regarding your child’s conception, and one thing that people rush to judge is your age when you announce your pregnancy. However, healthy pregnancies can happen for women of any reproductive age! Besides, as someone who had her first child in her 30’s, age is just a number! It is important to remember that when you choose to start or expand your family, it is nobody’s business but your own.
“Did you try for a boy or a girl?”
The funny thing that many people do not understand is that gender is not necessarily something that you can “try for.” There are many old wives’ tales and conception strategies that claim that you can select the gender of your child. Things such as timing intercourse before or after ovulation or using a certain position, but those are just that – old wives’ tales. In modern medicine, we have IVF gender selection, which makes sense for some families and their circumstances! Most couples try for a baby and are happy for whichever gender they conceive. That’s not to say that gender disappointment isn’t a real thing, but most couples simply want to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
“I thought so. You’re already showing!” or “You don’t even look pregnant.”
When you become pregnant, you’ll also be surprised how people think it’s okay to make comments about your body. You’ll need to remind yourself that they—more than likely—have good intentions and aren’t trying to be hurtful even though what they say may hurt. No one wants to feel like they’re too big or are too small because we all ultimately want a healthy baby. The best reaction and thing someone can say regarding appearance is, “you look beautiful.”
“How many children do you want?”
Once you announce your pregnancy, perfect strangers find it acceptable to openly discuss your family planning, which I find to be quite awkward! It’s even more awkward when it is close family members. Some families are complete with only one child for many reasons. Not all single-child families have only one child by choice, which is something to consider when asking a mother or a family how many children they want to have. Asking this question puts a family on the spot to explain or even defend their reproductive choices.
“Do you think it could be twins?”
It is so interesting to me, at least, that people always want to ask if twins run in the family. Multiples are such a blessing. And so are singletons! However, I don’t know how moms of multiples do it, to be honest. We shared our pregnancy with friends and family very early, by choice. When I was early in pregnancy, the prospect of having twins terrified me, so any time someone asked me this question, it sent my anxiety spiraling.
“Congratulations! I am so happy for you and your growing family!”
If someone tells me that they are expecting a baby, the first thing that I always do is congratulate them and share in their excitement. I do my best not to pass judgment on that person and their family and celebrate with them in this moment of joy. There is nothing more exciting than welcoming a new baby into this world! In my opinion, this is the only appropriate reaction when you share your pregnancy news with family, friends, or even a perfect stranger.
If you like to celebrate a pregnancy announcement with a gift, I recommend a few books that are great reads for any expectant mother. Mom Truths by Cat & Nat is laugh-out-loud funny and provides a realistic perspective on what motherhood is really like. Expecting Better by Emily Oster is a scientific-based approach to addressing myths and old wives’ tales related to pregnancy. Let’s all join together to celebrate pregnancy announcements and remember the impact your reaction could have on an expectant mother.
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