How do I tell my parents I’m pregnant?


How would you want to be told about something upsetting?  If your dog had just been run over in the street, and your neighbor had seen it happen, would you want your neighbor to come running over and pound on your front door?  When you hurried to the door to open it, already scared half out of your wits, would you want your neighbor to shout in your face, “Your dog just got run over?”

  • Wouldn’t it have been better for your neighbor to gently rap on your door, asking if he could step inside to speak to you?  Once seated, he would tell you that your family is alright, but that he has something upsetting to tell you?  Then he would describe how he witnessed the unfortunate death of your dog.  He would sit quietly while you expressed your grief.  Once you regained your composure, he would ask if there was anything he could do for you, express his sympathy, and then leave.
  • In the same way, you do not want to “pounce” on your parents with the news of your pregnancy.
  • Think about which parent you want to tell first.  Or would it be better to tell them both at the same time?
  • When should you tell them?  Choose a time when they’re not getting ready to fly out the door, when they’re not over-tired or preoccupied.
  • Where should you tell them?  Choose a quiet and private place.
  • Prepare them for the fact that you have something serious to talk to them about.
  • Tell them that you’re all right, but that this is one of those times in your life when you’re going to need them the most.
  • Then simply tell them that you’re pregnant.
  • Give them time and space to react.
  • You may have known about your pregnancy for weeks already, and have had time to adjust to that reality.  They haven’t.
  • Don’t argue with them or defend yourself.  Let them express their shock, their disbelief, their anger, their disappointment, their sadness.  Perhaps they’ll cry.  Maybe they will yell.  Or they may just go “dead silent” and want you to leave them alone.
  • Sometimes people will have “knee-jerk” reactions to crises, and blurt out things that they later regret.  They may threaten you with punishments or tell you how you’re going to “handle” this.
  • Give them time and space to adjust to this news.  Saying something like, “I don’t blame you for being upset.  Let’s talk about this some more tomorrow,” lets them know that you are trying to deal with this situation in a mature fashion.
  • All of the suggestions here are ways of being sensitive and considerate to your parents as they are about to receive upsetting news.
  • Your behavior shows that you respect the fact that your pregnancy will not only impact your life, but theirs as well.  You show them that you respect their right to express their feelings.
  • Make a call on your own to your local Pregnancy Help Center.  Set up an appointment to go and talk to a counselor at the center about community resources and programs available to single mothers.
  • They have wonderful services and referrals for you that will help you walk through your pregnancy and prepare you for parenthood.
  • If you are open to it, they also have referrals for adoption counselors who will explain the option of making an adoption plan for your child.
  • In the days to come, as your parents talk more about your pregnancy, continue to respect them and be patient with them.
  • Gently remind them, when you need to, that you will be working very hard to be the very best mother you can be to your child.
  • Let them know that you are actively researching the education options available to you, job opportunities, daycare possibilities, health care coverage, prenatal care, and resources for baby supplies and equipment.
  • Let them know you are also educating yourself about adoption, so that you will have explored all the available options for parenting your child — insuring that your decision is being made with your child’s best interest at heart — as well as your own.
  • If your parents are set on having you get an abortion, please read the Q&A below, “Can I be forced to have an abortion?”



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