Pregnancy, Truth, and Consequences: When Good News Gets Out

pregnancy test and ultrasoundWhen Claire found out she was pregnant, she was happy and wanted to tell everybody—or did she? She decided to wait a bit, to be sure, and to relish the news privately with her partner, Mike.

After several days they told their parents, who were very happy for them and for themselves, too. A baby was joining the family! Claire’s mother was a little nervous, though, about being a new grandmother. Mike’s dad cried. Everybody hugged.

Claire began telling her friends, most of whom jumped up and down with excitement, but Claire was worried about telling Ann, who wants desperately to have a baby but can’t get pregnant. She told her gently, privately, while eating lunch in their favorite place. Ann was glad for Claire, if a bit envious.

Mike and Claire talked about how to tell their good friend Frank, who was terminally ill with cancer. How could they express joy when he was in the depths of illness? Their lives as parents were beginning while his was ending. But he would want to know, so they told him gradually, slowly, so he could take in the news. He’s glad for them but also sad for himself; he doesn’t have children, and it doesn’t look like he will.

It can be hard to share good news when some of the people on the receiving end of that news may be in a bad spot and may not feel joyful themselves. You might feel guilty for being so lucky, which is how Claire and Mike felt—an odd mix of joy, guilt, sadness, and regret that not everyone could feel as happy as they were. You might back away from people who are struggling, as though their circumstances might be catching somehow, as though walling yourself off may protect you. Or you might simply not know what to say or how to say it.

If you stay tuned into the moment, you will figure it out.

Then there are the “crazies.” Two of Claire’s friends warned her about the “pregnancy crazies,” people who feel free to walk up to a pregnant woman in public and dole out advice and stories about pregnancy and childbirth, all in the guise of helping. What’s the deal with these people?

It can be hard to share good news when some of the people on the receiving end of that news may be in a bad spot and may not feel joyful themselves. You might feel guilty for being so lucky, which is how Claire and Mike felt—an odd mix of joy, guilt, sadness, and regret that not everyone could feel as happy as they were.

The pregnancy crazies, of course, are simply training you for the baby crazies—people who walk up to you and your baby and tell you what they think you are doing wrong.

Consider what happened to Claire’s friend Linda as she was walking down the street on a beautiful spring day, carrying her new baby in a chest pack. Suddenly, a large man ran up to her and started shouting that she was smothering her baby. He ordered her to remove the baby from the chest pack. Linda, though upset and scared, ignored him and kept walking.

Another friend talked about the problems she had at work once her colleagues knew she was pregnant. Her boss nagged her and subtly threatened her job security, even though that’s illegal. Claire debated when to tell her boss she was pregnant. On the one hand, she wanted to delay as long as she could because she, too, was scared she might lose her job. On the other, she wanted to deliver the news personally before her boss found out from somebody else. U.S. law protects pregnant women from being discriminated against, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Claire shared her fears with her mother, talked things over with her friends, and decided to wait a bit before telling her boss. But not too long. She was very scared for a while, but now it looks like things will work out and she will keep her job.

Remember the game “Truth and Consequences”? We’re all playing it all the time. Claire and Mike just got advanced training.

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Lynn Somerstein, PhD, NCPsyA, C-IAYT, therapist in New York City, New York

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • maxwell

    maxwell

    November 6th, 2015 at 6:25 AM

    Why should you feel guilty for having good news? when someone loves you they will be happy for you

  • Kyla

    Kyla

    November 9th, 2015 at 6:25 AM

    I do not believe that friends who love you would be angry at your good news. You should never feel like you have to withhold, you can be polite about it and even express that you worried how this would make them feel but again, if they are close to you they will pout aside thei own feelings and they will be happy for you.

  • Tim

    Tim

    November 9th, 2015 at 4:07 PM

    Why should we have to hold in our good news when we just want to share all of it with others?

  • winnie

    winnie

    November 10th, 2015 at 8:10 AM

    I have always wondered what it is about being a new mom that allows others to think that you are always seeking out their advice? When clearly you are not?

  • Cal

    Cal

    November 10th, 2015 at 3:11 PM

    hmmm maybe we should just all learn to mind our own business

  • Maisy

    Maisy

    November 11th, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    You must learn that this is not a time to take your cues from others. Of course if people want to be excited for you and with you then you need to let them. But if they are only willing to be happy for you when they feel that they are getting something out of it, then these are people that are going to be toxic in your life. My advice is to leave all of the toxicity behind

  • Yasina

    Yasina

    November 12th, 2015 at 7:05 AM

    Well it isn’t like this is info that isn’t eventually going to come out anyway

  • ella

    ella

    November 14th, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    This is 2015 and are there seriously people who think that they have to worry about losing their job because they get pregnant?
    That is sad if that is true because that has been illegal for a very long time now so I am shocked that there are still those in management positions who are allowed to convey that kind of message to their employees.

  • Lynn

    Lynn

    November 14th, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    Ella, it is shocking and it is true at all levels of employment. Disgusting, no?
    Thanks for writing your thoughts,
    Take care,
    Lynn

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