Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood
Nope. That decision is super personal, and you can do whatever you like with it. In the age of oversharing, some people feel it’s their right to know all your business, which can make you feel pressure to share it all — even the aspects of yourself you want to hold close. This can even result in you feeling like you’re lying or inauthentic if you’re not completely open about your journey to conception. I don’t want that for you. I want you to feel free to choose who you do and do not share this intimate information with, and to know that you’re not less-than if you don’t feel like shouting it from the rooftops.
You might also still be processing how you feel about using a donor. Maybe you’re exploring what it’s like to be pregnant with a child who is not biologically related to you. Or maybe you’re supporting your partner through that journey. It can muddy the emotional waters to share information you’re still unpacking.
On the other hand, you might also be yearning for a few special people to talk with about your donor decision — a few people who won’t judge or ask insensitive questions. Creating this carefully curated group can give you a pillow of support when you do tell people who might not be as understanding as they should (for example, uptight parents or in- laws) and your child, when they’re old enough to understand.
What to do
Think long and hard about the people you trust implicitly. The people who never raise their eyebrows when you tell them something deeply personal. The people who have your back no matter what. Make a list of names. If you have a partner, make this list with them. Then do the following:
- Tell those people. I recommend having a private meetup with each of the individuals on your list, where you share your exciting news. You can also request that they don’t share this information with others until you give the go-ahead.
- Request support. If you’re struggling with emotions around your genetic connection to the child or are nervous about telling certain people, ask your core group if they’d be willing to support you through this process. They’ll likely appreciate you being up front with your needs and will probably jump into action to make you feel held.
With this team of ride-or-die confidants in place, move on to phase three…telling the family members you’re not excited to tell.
- Having the tricky talks. Before we dive into this, I want to note that it’s not absolutely necessary to tell anyone — even family members. I cover how to share this information with family because many women feel it’s easier to tell them than to try and preserve the secret. But of course, whatever choice intuitively feels right for your unique situation is the right one.
If you choose to share your decision to use a donor with the family, make a loose script for what you will say, writing down any information you’re willing to provide and what you’re keeping to yourself. You can also create a script for what to say if they ask questions you don’t want to answer or are judgmental. For example, if they start hammering you about why you used a donor instead of doing X, Y, or Z, clearly tell them that you’re not there to discuss your reasoning and have no obligation to do so. Express that you’re telling them out of courtesy and do not need them to agree with your decision. State that you’ve shared every- thing you’re willing to share, and request that they find a way to support you. This might seem harsh, but I want you to remember that you don’t need their approval. You’re an adult who is following the path to parenthood that is right for you and, if applicable, your partner.
If you’re really nervous about having these conversations, ask someone from your support group to accompany you so they can back you up, or pull you out if the situation gets toxic.
You are a champion for moving through the intense journey of conceiving with the support of a donor. It’s a long road, and you deserve to be honored for your commitment to bring a new life into this world. Don’t let anyone dim your light.