Pregnancy Etiquette Guide
From letting your boss know you're expecting to asking people to stop touching your belly, here's how to handle sticky situations with style.
When to Announce Pregnancy
Q. When should I tell people that I'm pregnant?
A. "It's fine to share the news with family and friends whenever you want," says Marjorie Brody, author of Professional Impressions: Etiquette for Everyone, Every Day (Career Skills Press). Although some people wait until after the first trimester -- when there's less risk of miscarriage -- you don't have to keep the news a secret if you don't want to.
Still, there are some benefits to keeping quiet for a while. "One disadvantage of telling everybody early is that they'll be asking, "How are you feeling?" for months, and you may grow tired of answering," Brody says. Holding off a bit may also spare some unnecessary worry. "Because older relatives are from generations when things went wrong more often than happens now, they may be really anxious about your pregnancy," says Dana May Casperson, author of Power Etiquette: What You Don't Know Can Kill Your Career (Amacom).
As for coworkers and bosses, wait as long as possible. "Hold off until the end of your first trimester -- even longer if you're not showing or if the news could interfere with a promotion," says Judith Bowman, founder of Protocol Consultants International, an etiquette-enrichment training firm. Then privately tell your boss. "You could say, I have exciting news to tell you: My husband and I are expecting a baby in [give the month you're due]," Casperson advises. "Reassure her that you will continue working for as long as possible and that you plan to return after the baby is born." Because your boss may want to discuss matters immediately, be sure to have researched the company's maternity-leave policy beforehand.
Sharing News with Infertile Friend
Q. How do I share the news with a good friend who's having fertility problems?
A. In a word, delicately. "Call or get together, and gently say, "Sarah, I'm pregnant. You're one of my best friends, so I wanted to tell you," Brody suggests. And though it's not necessary to be apologetic, it is wise to restrain your exuberance. "I would try not to overdo it with regular updates," Casperson says.
Whatever else, don't make a fertility-challenged pal the last one in your social circle to know that you're expecting. "It'll kill the friendship if she gets the info secondhand," Casperson warns. In fact, try to tell her in advance of other acquaintances so she'll have time to digest the news.
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