Family dynamics during the holidays can be stressful. Throw an unplanned pregnancy into the mix, and things may become even more complicated. If you’re looking ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas with a bit of anxiety about sharing your news, you’re not alone. Below are 4 tips to help you feel more prepared for the holidays:
1. Tell someone you trust before the family gatherings
If that person will be present at a family event, even better. Knowing you have a friend or family member in your corner who can offer verbal support or even subtly redirect conversations will make all the difference. Talk to that person ahead of time about what would be most helpful for you in those moments.
2. Decide ahead of time what you do and don't want to share
If you’re still considering all your options about your pregnancy, is that something you’re willing to discuss with family? Do you want to talk about the father of the baby? Consider making a list of the things you’re comfortable sharing vs. the things you’d rather keep off-limits. Knowing this before a family gathering will help you redirect or avoid certain topics of conversation. (These are also great details to go over with your person from tip #1!) Remember, it is ok to simply respond to a question by saying, “I’d actually rather not discuss details right now. So what’s going on with you lately?”
3. Go in with a plan
An unplanned pregnancy may feel overwhelming—in fact, feeling anxious or overwhelmed is completely normal. One practical, proactive way you can counteract those feelings of anxiety is by gathering resources and making a plan. Even if you’re not sure what decision you plan to make (parenting, adoption, or abortion), you can start by confirming your pregnancy and getting fully informed about each of your options.
At The Pregnancy Network, we can offer you a free pregnancy test and limited ultrasound by a trained registered nurse. Your nurse will provide you with in-depth information about each of your options, as well as a comprehensive list of local resources that can be helpful to you. (Resources include free pregnancy and parenting classes, housing referrals, assistance enrolling in Pregnancy Medicaid, and more.)
Having this information will empower you to feel more confident heading into conversations with your family. Showing your loved ones that you’ve taken the steps to consider your options and the implications of each choice will go a long way.
4. Be prepared to show grace
Think back to the moment you first found out you were pregnant. You probably experienced a wave of multiple emotions—shock, fear, excitement, anger, anxiety. While you’ve had time to work through and process some of these feelings, your family members have not. You may receive lots of questions, unsolicited advice, anger, or even silence. Do your best to communicate as clearly and kindly as possible, and give your family the space to receive your news.
When you make an appointment at The Pregnancy Network, your nurse and trained peer advocate will work with you to help build a plan for sharing news with your family. We are here to support you throughout your pregnancy. You can do this, and we will help you.