I knew that my situation wasn’t what society deemed the normal progression for welcoming a baby into the world. However, I was completely unprepared for the utter lack of excitement when I made my announcement. I was met with disbelief, anger, judgment, laughter, pity and a number of other negative reactions.
Part of me wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t married. I was in one of those post-college, temporary-at-best type jobs. I had a long list of things working against me (and that was before I got sick). The other part of me wondered why not one person offered a simply congratulations. I understand the disappointment but my family was always one who touted the “babies are always a blessing line,” as were other people that I associated with at the time. Apparently blessings only count when they surprise other families, not your own.
Whatever the case, I’ve made my peace with the fact that I wasn’t given one of those cutesy “You’re Expecting” cards. No one bought me flowers or balloons or celebrated the fact that I was going to become a mother. However, I’d like to point out that I’m seven years removed from my initial disappointment that I was the only one remotely excited (but totally scared) about my pregnancy. It’s taken me a long time to move past the feelings of inadequacy and sadness that people weren’t being supportive. As such, I’d like to offer a few words of advice if you’re feeling equally bummed by the reactions of your family and friends.
1. Remember, they’re shocked, too. While the positive pregnancy test may have knocked your socks off, the reaction of your parents or other family members can be just as deeply shocking. Not many teens or young 20-somethings think, “Gee, I hope to end up with an unplanned pregnancy someday.” Similarly, not too many parents want that life for their children either. Allow them to adjust to the idea. Which brings up the second point.
2. Give them time. Time is a great healer. Anger subsides and excitement may take its place. Whether you choose to parent or place, giving those around you time to adjust to your decisions is key. That may involve not talking to them for a few days so that they have time to cool down. Remember that you can’t rush anyone into accepting anything. They need to find their own way to being okay with your pregnancy.
3. Remember, this is your pregnancy. Whether or not they’re supportive, you can still be excited. Even if you’re planning on placing your child for adoption, there are things you can do to celebrate yourself as a mother and your child. Allow yourself to feel giddy when you feel your baby kick or hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Don’t allow others’ reactions and emotions to ruin your experience.
Keeping things in perspective while your hormones are also soaring and sinking is difficult at best. However, if you can keep these three bits of advice in your mind, you might not feel so low the next time someone responds negatively to your pregnancy. Whatever your decision, you can be excited and enjoy this time!