Have you ever had a negative reaction to positive pregnancy news?



We were sent a message over on the Larger Family Life Facebook page yesterday from someone who had received a negative reaction to what they considered was happy pregnancy news.  They asked whether bad reactions were something we had experienced.

Had we ever?!

It made me dig out this old post on when a pregnancy announcement doesn’t get a good reaction.

Reactions we’ve received over the years have included being advised to abort, to being told in no uncertain terms that I/Mike/both of us need to be sterilised (no reason given – just because that’s what the dictator was dictating), to being warned – very seriously – that ‘this better be it’.

The saddest thing of all?  All these reactions were made by the grandparents of our babies.  In fact, we didn’t even get congratulated by one in particular this time.  Actually, stony silence followed by pretending it had never been said was the reaction.  No doubt this person was annoyed I hadn’t heeded their regular warnings that ‘there had better not be any more’.

The comments we received on Facebook after I linked to the the post were plentiful.


Unfortunately, because it quickly became apparent that we were not alone.  And even more upsettingly, a regular story was that these comments were made by closer family members the majority of the time.

Sometimes I’d wonder if the comments were well meaning, mis-guided and ill-thought out and badly worded concern.

Certainly that is what I would like to think of them as.

I have since realised that no, actually.  They’re just people, any people, who think they have a right to stick their noses in and tell us what to do – unable to handle the fact that we – a working husband and wife couple – can decide for themselves whether or not to have children.

We can and we will.  Because it is ours and our decision only.

But here is a message to those who think it within their right to say something nasty (or nothing at all) instead of congratulations – or even something a little bit nice.

When the baby arrives, don’t bother.

Don’t bother pretending how happy you are.

You give it away when you sit there holding baby whilst telling us how ‘there had better not be any more’.  If you can’t see what a gift you’re holding, and how any more would be equally as precious, you don’t deserve to be holding that soul in the first place.

What about you?  Have your pregnancy announcements been celebrated or have you had to deal with negativity too?


14 thoughts on “Have you ever had a negative reaction to positive pregnancy news?

  1. Wow, that’s terrible. Perhaps it isn’t meant in a nasty way, perhaps these grandparents are concerned about your health but if so they’re certainly not expressing it very well. It seems to be so unusual in our culture to have a large family now, people seem to forget that not too many years ago people had many more children. In fact my great grandmother, a strict Catholic had 22 children, if she were still alive she’d probably laugh at people who said I had a large family with merely 6 children! I’m very lucky because my children’s grandparents know that there opinions won’t change mine so the ones that aren’t too approving of my babies just keep quiet which suits me fine.

    1. My parents said they felt sorry for me when we told them our happy news!! They thought we shouldn’t have another baby ( number 6) and wouldn’t talk about it at all. They are slowly starting to get better about very thing but its too late – the words have been said and the damage has been done already. My husband and I feel like we don’t want them to have anything to do with our new baby. My dad also continually goes on about how we won’t be having any more will we? And when’s my husband booked in to be sorted out?! I found it so annoying and rude!

  2. I’m still hurting from the comments made by my father-in-law when we announced that I was pregnant with no.5. Putting the news in context, before Christmas I had had a nasty fall on the ice and snow and I broke my elbow. i was in agony. 2 weeks later, I lost the baby I had been pregnant with. Was the miscarriage caused by the fall or not, I’ll never know. All I know is that our precious baby was gone :'( Fortunately I got pregnant again very quickly and this helped ease the pain and deep sadness I felt about losing the baby. When we finally felt ready to tell our family that we were expecting again, DH’s Dad!s reaction was “Oh dear!” How could you possibly say that?! He knew we had lost our baby! He knew how devastated we were! He knew how our new baby was wanted and would be adored just as much as our other children! I’m usually a really forgiving person but I’m not sure I’ll ever quite get over what he said.

    After our little man was born FIL kept on asking dh when he was going to get the snip. I absolutely do not want him to have the snip done at the moment. I told dh how much it was upsetting me that FIL kept putting pressure on him and dh has told his dad to back off and that it is a decision we will make as a couple.

    FIL isn’t an unkind man at all but he has a set idea about how many kids you should have. Not sure how he’ll react if/when we tell him we’re expecting no.6.

  3. As you know Tania, we have been there too and we only have 4! Family wasn’t ecstatic when we fell pregnant with our 2nd (our first was only 8mths old) but thankfully didn’t experience comments. When our 2nd was born we were told to “stop there” after all “you have 1 of each, why would you want any more?”. I fell pregnant again 2yrs later and family weren’t happy, although they didn’t say it to our faces. You could just tell in the tone of voice. Until I lost the baby and my mother turned round and said “Oh well, probably for the best!” and proceeded to tell me not to get pregnant again. I’ve since had 3 more pregnancies resulting in 2 more children and none if them were congratulated, just met with “oh”. And they wonder why we didn’t spill the beans on our last pregnancy until I was 22wks!

    Some people just can’t help themselves! Having a baby should be fun. My husband won’t let me have any more now & I think part of that is due to reactions and how his family will be (not that we ever ask for help). I don’t talk to my family so I couldn’t care less what they thought lol!

  4. I am mother to nine and for the last 5 children my mother has had a very negative response. After child 7 she even offered to pay for my husband to get the snip. I find it very sad the way people respond to large family’s. I have never asked for help with my kids and will never but people still feel the need to belittle me and tell me I will never manage with so may kids. My children are my life I love and cherish everyone of them. All those people with 1 or 2 kids are really missing out.

  5. I’ve only just read this post. Sadly it could have been me writing it. And yes, how dare they sit there gushing over your newborn baby when they’ve been giving you such a hard time throughout your entire pregnancy and will do exactly the same thing if you are to be blessed with another one. I am sick of having to justify to certain family members why I have chosen to have a large family. I don’t expect them to explain their lifestyle choices to me so what gives them the right to dictate how I should live my life and how many children I should have.

  6. Just had to post a comment as I have been there. We have ds 4yrs, dd 20 months & ds 6 months. Most comments were negative when we announced the third preg and like RachelG said, people were shocked we wanted another child after having a boy and a girl. My dad said “Oh well, but you don’t want to be pregnant for the rest of your life”. What people didn’t know was that we had been trying for our 2nd child for a year (foolishly thought we could be in complete control of fertility) so then decided that babies were gifts and we would accept each one. It so happened the 3rd came quickly after. I would welcome more but at 34 know things start to slow down. Ironically as time went on as we were trying for number 2 a few folk stated they ‘presumed’ we would have given our son a sibling by now! You can never make people happy and at the end of the day its not my job to. I also think some family members were embarrased to pass on the news to their friends as closely spaced children and large families are not common anymore…..however this is from a Catholic family!!!

  7. I have 4 children under 6, and when my sil announced on this year family holiday she was pregnant my mil turned to me and said I don’t want to hear you saying that again. My mil had 7 children so find it hypocritical. Funny though I am a Mormon and even in the church I get negative comments about having a large family. People have opinions and I just get on with it.

  8. It makes me so sad reading all of these posts…

    Nobody has made any such comments to our faces – but then we only have the 4 so far.

    However when I announced my pregnancy with number 3, when number 2 was less than a year old, a lot of comments were made behind my back. Little did they know I was already 25 weeks pg and there was only 15 months between them!

    My family have always been thrilled with each baby – but then they have no reason not be as we never ask for help at all. Friends and even strangers have made passing comments ( yep we have a telly, yep I know what cases it, nope I am not trying for a footy team, nope we werent trying for a girl…yada yada yada) and it does sting because what right do they have?

    I dont care what anybody says or thinks. Let them have their opinion if it makes them feel better. We are the lucky ones with our beautfil large families.

    K x

  9. My mother said to my dad “I hope you’re paying for the abortion.”

    Yes, I’d only just turned 20 but that doesn’t excuse it. My son is now 6 months old and she has nothing to do with either of us. When we’re in the same house, she doesn’t even look at him.

    Her loss.

  10. I am so glad I stumbled upon this website. I am very sorry for your family’s reaction but my family also has had a negative reaction to my fourth pregnancy. I am now 7 months but when I told one of my younger brothers, he offered to adopt my baby (although adoption wasn’t something I wanted to do anyway). Then when I said no, he and his wife called my mom and told her how selfish I was being because 3 is enough and that I can’t afford another baby. This is completely untrue, which he wouldn’t know anyway because he doesn’t care to have a relationship with me and hasn’t for years. He and his wife are not able to have kids, so I figured this might have something to do with the reaction. However, it has been 6 months, and I see his wife posting all the time how happy she is that she is going to be an aunt again because her new friend is having a baby or her coworker is having a baby or how happy she is to be an OB nurse. They are happy for everyone but me. My other brother and my dad just refuse to talk to me at all now because they don’t want to hear about the baby.

  11. MIL said: “ohhh you guyssss.” pinching her nose bridge like a migraine was coming on. And proceeded to argue with DH that he wasn’t ready, had a bad habit of going in blind and getting screwed unnecessarily and proposed what it we were to not work out. A year and half later, with a downie for a house, 2 cars- 1 fully paid off, both full time at more than minimum wage and benefits, hes 28 i’m 25. We’ve never had a baby scare even once, this was planned and tried for. We’ve wanted this for longer than 9 months straight. What would we need to do to be ready? And when? Can’t you just…shut up? Say congrats or shit, ask us for some alone time to absorb the info rather than all the toxic fight picking she responded with. And being the first person we told? Kinda makes me not want to announce it to anyone else.

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