Once it has been confirmed that your partner is in fact pregnant, you will begin to debate when you should begin to tell friends and family that you are going to have a baby. You are going to be feeling the excitement of bringing a new life in to the world and your instinct is going to be to tell everyone. But before you update your Facebook status, send out that tweet or ping that message to the WhatsApp group, you had better make sure that you have come to an agreement with your partner. The reason for this is simple, miscarriages are awful. Sadly, they are more common than you would expect as well. According to research from the National Health Service in the UK, 1 in 8 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. Miscarriages are most common in the early stages of pregnancy and this is why many women want to wait. Its horrific enough to experience a miscarriage, having to then deal with it publicly can make the experience even worse. So be clear on when she is ready to tell people and work within that guideline. The good news is that once you get past three months, the chance of miscarriage drops significantly.
If you decide to tell people at the very beginning, make sure that you keep the circle small. It is very common that during the first month or so, only the two of you will know. If you do tell family, it is usually only your immediate family. But this is often a judgement call. If your parents are really intense and intrusive, it may be best to hold off for the moment. Your partner and you are only beginning to process the change that this is going to have on your life. Do you want your parents taking over, buying presents for the baby, organising doctors’ visits, deciding on a name etc? It can escalate quickly and lead to a hugely intense situation and a lot of arguments. However, if your family are calm and supportive, it can be incredibly helpful to include them at this early stage. It’s a judgement call but remember keep the circle small and if your sibling can’t keep a secret, don’t include them for now.
As you approach the 8-week mark, the chances of miscarriage slowly begin to subside. This is usually a good time for you to let one or two very close friends know. This is usually more for your partners benefit than your own. She is going to want to have someone to talk to, the 3-month doctors visit begins to loom, and she will have loads of questions and concerns. Whilst you may want her to confide in you, the truth is having a friend to discuss some of these things with is better for her. She may not want to let you know she is absolutely terrified of becoming a parent as she doesn’t want to freak you out, and her mother or your mother would just give her a lecture or remind her that she should have spent more time learning to cook instead of having an awesome career. For your side, the guys who are dads will basically give you a fist bump, tell you to ask them if you need any advice and then get back to talking about sport.
Once you have got to the three-month mark and the doctor has given the all clear (usually around 12-13 weeks) you can finally tell everyone. But remember to do it in the correct order. If you have decided to keep it secret from everyone until this stage, just to be safe, this is where you can end up making half your family angry. If some random person on Facebook finds out before you parents, don’t expect as much help babysitting. Map out a hierarchy of your family and friends and tell them in a specific order. It is OK for one of those down the hierarchy to hear from your parents or best friend. It is not OK to have your parents or best friend hear the news from that person you last spoke to at that party 4 years ago and added on Facebook the next day.
*If you would like a personal coaching session via zoom with myself to help you navigate your first time dad journey, you can reach out to me directly by sending me a message on social media or the “contact” page on my website to organise a session