Telling your mom about an unexpected pregnancy can be one of the most terrifying experiences you can ever go through. You may be worried about how she will take the news. Will she be mad, sad, or worst of all, disappointed? Is she going to yell? Will she cry?
Your relationship with your mom is one of the most influential of your life.
If the relationship is strong with open communication, telling her difficult news may feel tough, but doable. If your relationship with her is tumultuous, telling her about an unexpected pregnancy may feel a bit like climbing Mount Everest in flip flops.
These tips will help you navigate this conversation so both you and your mom feel heard and empowered to face what lies ahead.
1. Write it down
When you’re in a stressful or uncomfortable situation it can be difficult to express your true thoughts and feelings. When the stakes are high, it’s easy to succumb to pressure from the other person. We don’t want to upset people. We don’t want to be a burden. For this reason, it can be easier to stifle our own voice in order to keep the peace.
But this is your life and your choice. You owe it to yourself and your mom to be open and honest about your feelings and to leave space for her to express her own.
Take some time and write down how you feel, your plans for the future, and any questions you need answered. Taking a focused and direct approach to a difficult topic opens the lines of communication. You may learn things about your mom you didn’t know before. And she will leave the conversation knowing where you stand.
2. Talk with your partner or trusted friend
Having someone in your corner who can act as a sounding board for you as you develop a plan to tell your mom is critical. It’s important to recognize that your mom’s life will be changing right alongside yours.
This is especially true if your child will be her first grandchild. The news may be shocking. How will you feel if she is disappointed? How will you react if she surprises you with grace and support?
Talking through potential outcomes with your partner or trusted friend can help you keep your emotions in check during the actual conversation.
The truth is that we don’t ever know how someone will react when we deliver unexpected news. The only thing you can control is your own thoughts and emotions. Your partner or friend can help you prepare.
3. Bite the bullet
Sometimes we try so hard to plan our course of action and try to predict how the person will react; what will be the outcome? This can lead to overthinking and manifesting conflict and drama where it doesn’t exist. After you feel confident in your decision and ready to face the situation head-on, it’s time to act. No matter your age, pregnancy and motherhood change you. Having the maturity and courage to face difficult conversations and situations head-on will be step one in becoming the person you want to be.
Your mother’s influence, positive or negative, is likely a powerful force in your life. Telling her about an unexpected pregnancy can feel impossible if you’re not prepared. Managing your own emotions will pay dividends in helping the conversation go as smoothly as possible. With proper planning, you can both leave the conversation feeling heard, seen, and valued.
At the end of the day, this is your life and your choice to make. You can allow space for your mom’s feelings and advice, but no matter the outcome, surround yourself with those who will support you.
Southside Women’s Services has trained, compassionate staff who will walk alongside you as you navigate what lies ahead. You are not alone.