To Tell or Not to Tell: Sharing with Co-Workers Your Plans to Try to Conceive
You and your partner have made the emotional (and physical!) step to try to conceive. In some moments you want to shout it out loud to every stranger you pass on the street; in others, you don’t even want to reveal the news to your loving (although at times meddlesome) closest friends.
When you’re trying to conceive, how much – and who –should you tell?
Dr. Vicki Panaccione, child psychologist, parenting expert, and founder of Better Parenting Institute, says, “Initially, it’s so much fun to share the decision of TTC (trying to conceive) that it’s great to share your excitement with others and celebrate the important step you’ve taken in the relationship.”
You’re excited about this life-altering move, and so you want to share it with the world. Dr. Panaccione says, “It’s just important to know that if things don’t happen fairly quickly, the excitement can turn to real disappointment.”
Panaccione knows. After struggling for years with infertility (she’s now the proud mother to a wonderful son, Alex), she says, “ . . . the most painful question that folks can ask is, ‘Do you have any kids?’”
At first, it may seem easy to answer this question with a nonchalant, “We’re trying,” or to disclose you are hoping for a baby by next year this time even without being asked. If all goes well, in six months or so you can pass around the ultrasound images in the break room and allow everyone to ooh and aah over your soon-to-be bundle of joy.
But what happens if conception takes a bit longer than you like? If you suffer a miscarriage, don’t immediately find yourself expecting, or have to take alternative routes to getting there? Those well-meaning coworkers you told months ago about your plans may not understand the frustration you’re experiencing now, and their questions, though mostly well-intentioned, can leave you feeling stressed and depressed.
Dr. Panaccione suggests sharing the decision to try to conceive with people who you know will be supportive and who will understand any requests you may make in the future, such as eliminating the “Are you pregnant yet?” repertoire and waiting until you disclose what is going on without being asked.
Don’t completely shut down, though, during this time. Dealing with pregnancy problems alone can be isolating, and smiling through the pain can be emotionally draining. A few close confidants – those who know when to come forward, but also when to step back – can ease some of the stress.
“It can be very isolating to go through the process alone,” says Dr. Panaccione, “so share with people who can be there to take you in their arms and hug and love you without the needs to say a lot.”