Finding out you’re pregnant, whether you’ve been planning for it or not, is a lot to take in. If you think you might be pregnant, it’s best to confirm this first by taking a pregnancy test or visiting your GP. Once you know for sure, there are some people you probably need to have discussions with.
For some young people, telling others about the pregnancy may be tough. It’s normal to feel nervous about this, or to want to avoid having the discussion. Perhaps you know your parents will be unhappy about it. Or perhaps you need to tell the other person, and are unsure how they’ll react.
If you’re not sure how to broach the topic with other people, here are some tips to help.
Process it yourself first
You might be happy with the news that you’re pregnant, surprised by it, or disappointed. You may even feel angry or upset. It’s completely normal to feel a range of emotions. Before making any decisions or asking other people for their advice, take a moment to think about what this means for you and what you want.
This also applies if you're the other person involved in the pregnancy. Finding your place at this moment can be tricky, which is why it can be helpful to take some time to process your role in the pregnancy, and the range of emotions this may bring.
There are some things you may want to think over first.
- Do you want to have a baby?
- How will having a baby affect your life, or your ability to work or study?
- How might it affect your physical or mental health?
- How might it affect your relationships?
- Do you have religious beliefs that may affect your decision to have a baby?
There’s a lot to think about, so take your time and remember that whatever you choose to do from here is your choice.
If you’d like support in thinking over everything, you can give Pregnancy Counselling Australia a call on 1300 737 732. They offer compassionate and confidential phone counselling 24/7 specifically for people who are pregnant.
Tell a trusted friend or family member first
Once you’ve had a moment to think over the pregnancy yourself, it’s a good idea to speak to someone you know and trust about it. This might be a close friend, a parent, a sibling, an elder, a teacher or a mentor.
Whoever it is you trust to help you, make time to talk with them distraction-free, so you can be open and honest. You might want to discuss how you feel, what your plans are for the pregnancy, and anything else that’s worrying you. If there are people you’re nervous about telling, see if your trusted person can come and support you when you’re having the conversation.
Seek support if you need it
Finding out you're pregnant can feel stressful and overwhelming. It’s important to remember that pregnancies happen all the time – both planned and unplanned – and it doesn’t need to have a negative impact on your life. You can still live a full and rich life with a child, doing all the things you’ve planned to do. Or, if you decide to terminate your pregnancy, you can move on and achieve what you want in life.
If this news is a bit much for you to process, or if you’re worried about the affect it will have on your relationships when you tell certain people – get some professional help as soon as you can. You can visit your local headspace centre to speak confidentially with a professional about your concerns.
Make a plan before you tell people
If you’re anxious about telling your parents, friends, or the other person, it could be because you think they might get angry or upset. Having difficult conversations, when you’re not sure how someone will react, can be really challenging – but there are some ways you can make it easier.
Firstly, remember that they may not have the reaction you expect. You won’t know until you actually talk with them, so keep an open mind.
Before having the conversation, it may help to plan out what you’re going to say and write down some notes or dot points. This way, if people get upset you can stay focused on what you’d like to say without getting lost.
Make a time to talk when there’s nothing else going on, and you can even bring your trusted friend or family member along for support if you need. It may be best to come right out and say that you’re pregnant. Just remember that if people get upset or don’t react in the way you expect, their reaction shouldn’t affect your decision about the pregnancy.
Getting pregnant can be stressful and overwhelming, and sharing this information with others may be hard. If you need help planning how to tell people, you can always reach out to your local headspace centre for support and advice. It might also help to see what other young people have thought and done when they found out they were pregnant, and what our eheadspace clinicians’ advice was. Check out the eheadspace group chat on pregnancy.