Soon after, the Marchmans told their siblings and close friends, "figuring that if the pregnancy miscarried we'd need their support." They waited until about 12 weeks to notify their own grandparents and everyone else about the impending arrival of Will, now 17 months.
Chavka knew she wanted to surprise her husband with news of their first child, so she bought a pack of diapers and wrapped it in colorful paper with balloons on it.
"When I gave him the gift, at first he had a panicked look on his face as if he had missed a birthday or anniversary," Chavka says. She reassured him that was not the case. After he unwrapped the gift and realized what it meant, she says, "I will never forget the look of joy, surprise, and emotion I saw in his eyes."
Which Way is Right for You?
When and how to tell people your good news depends on whether you tend to be gregarious or private. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:
- A family visit or seasonal gathering can be the perfect time to tell relatives, even if it occurs before the end of the first trimester. For example, the Saxtons called family members who weren't there right afterward. "There was no way we could have waited until after the holiday meal," Saxton says, "because my morning sickness was so bad, I couldn't be in the same room as that turkey!"
- Keeping the news secret for a while can create a special connection between you and your husband. Amy Ober of Kent, Connecticut did not tell her parents or her husband's parents until 12 weeks along so that the couple could "enjoy the excitement together, in a relaxed manner, before everyone knew and started offering advice," she says.
- You may want to tell only a small support group of people in the first trimester in case anything happens with the pregnancy. Be aware that most miscarriages occur in the first trimester. Many people "tend to want to tell friends and neighbors and family . . . as soon as they get a positive pregnancy test," says Kim Kluger-Bell, a psychotherapist in Berkeley, California, who specializes in fertility, miscarriage, and reproductive issues and is the author of Unspeakable Losses: Healing From Miscarriage, Abortion, and Other Pregnancy Loss. "In most of the cases it really will work out just fine, but in some cases it's not going to work out, and they need to be aware of that, both for themselves and for the people they let in on that news."
- In addition, be sensitive to the prior pregnancy experiences of those you tell. Kluger-Bell suggests pulling aside a friend who has had miscarriages or infertility struggles before making a big announcement. You could say, "'I know this might be hard for you to hear, and I wanted to let you know about it ahead of time, but we are expecting,' and then just let the person have whatever reactions they're going to have," says Kluger-Bell. "I certainly don't want to ever deprive anyone of the joy of making that wonderful announcement, but it's just a little thing to be aware of."