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Relationships 4 min

If I Can Tell My Parents About My Pregnancy, So Can You

She Might Staff
telling my parents about my college pregnancy

1. The Good: Telling My Mom

2. The Bad: Telling My Boyfriend's Parents

3. The Ugly: Telling My Estranged Father

When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately thought, “My parents are never going to forgive me.”

At the time, I was a college sophomore who had moved away from home for a fresh start. My relationship with my parents was complicated, to say the least.

That was one of the main reasons I considered an abortion. I dreaded telling my parents I was pregnant and facing their anger.

And yet, through the support of my friends and boyfriend combined with the strength I found within myself, I eventually broke the news to my parents and my boyfriend’s parents as well.

Despite the obstacles, I came out of the experience a stronger and more empowered woman. This is my story—the good, the bad, and the ugly—with the hope that you can find the courage to break the news to your parents too.


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The Good: Telling my mom.

Within twenty-four hours of finding out I was pregnant, I called my mom. My mom and I had never had the best relationship. But I knew without her support, I wouldn’t be able to face the difficulties my pregnancy would bring.

It was a Sunday morning, and she was driving home from church when she picked up my call. “Mom,” I whispered into the phone, “I have to tell you something. I’m pregnant.”

In hindsight, I wish I would’ve scheduled a time to talk. My mom deserved a more comfortable environment that would have allowed her to safely process and absorb the news. But I couldn’t wait.

She instantly burst into tears, and I think it was a miracle she was able to safely drive the rest of the way home. “I have to call you back,” was all she responded.

I waited for three days while my phone sat silently next to me. I went to my classes, but I would immediately return to my dorm room afterward, sitting on my bed and waiting for her call.

Finally, on the third day, she called me back. “I love you,” was the first thing she said. “I love you and I want you to know that no matter what you decide to do, I’ll support you and your decision.”

From that moment on, my mother became my biggest supporter. 

From that moment on, my mother became my biggest supporter. Now, almost three years later, she still visits every weekend to watch my daughter while I go to work.

My mom, like most parents, needed some time to digest the news. Once she was given time to process, she was fully on board and ready to provide me with the love and support I needed.

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By Yasmeen Garcia

The Bad: Telling my boyfriend’s parents.

My boyfriend Brian and I didn’t tell his parents until I was six months pregnant. At the beginning of my pregnancy, Brian had asked me to keep it a secret until he was ready to break the news.

At first, I thought this was fine. I figured he would be ready to disclose our not-so-little secret in a few weeks.

But one month passed, and then two, and then three. By the time I was six months pregnant, his parents were still completely unaware, and I started wearing increasingly baggier sweatshirts to hide my growing belly.

One day in early April, we were meeting his parents for our weekly dinner and trivia game when his mother noticed my warm clothing choice.

“Anna,” she said, “I’m surprised to see you wearing a sweatshirt in this weather.” It was an unseasonably warm day, and I was wearing an XXL turtleneck mens’ sweater.

I couldn’t take it anymore. “Tell them,” I said flatly to Brian. “Ummm...well...” Brian started and then stopped, looking at me helplessly.

“I’m pregnant,” I blurted out, bracing for a strong reaction.

His parents weren’t mad or disappointed; they just wished we would’ve trusted them enough to tell them sooner.

Instead, what we received was compassion and love. Brian’s parents wrapped us in a tight hug and said they would support us. Later, Brian told me his parents weren’t mad or disappointed; they just wished we would’ve trusted them enough to tell them sooner.

Fast forward three years later, and my daughter Noelle loves spending time with her Namma and Boompa on her father’s side. Brian’s mom was just meant to be a grandmother, and Brian’s dad loves being a grandfather. If anything, Noelle has strengthened Brian’s relationship with his dad.

The Ugly: Telling my estranged father.

My father and I have a complex relationship. My mom and dad were not together when I got pregnant, and my dad was living with my grandmother.

During my childhood, we always had a fun time together, going sledding in the winter and chasing down the ice cream truck in the summer. As a little girl, I looked at my father like he hung the moon and the stars.

But when I turned 13, I started to realize he had a drinking problem. I vividly remember researching rehabilitation clinics late into the night and begging him to go get help. But he never did.

When I turned 18, I moved away to college with the goal of never returning home. I desperately wanted to escape the painful memories of losing my dad to alcohol day-by-day.

But things changed after I became pregnant. When I was 36 weeks along, I visited my grandmother’s house where he still lived and sat him down to tell him—or rather show him—I was pregnant.

“You’re no daughter of mine” was all he said. “You should’ve gotten rid of that a long time ago.” He pointed his dirty fingernail at my large belly.

I left the house crying, and I haven’t seen him or talked to him since.

Two years later, long after the birth of Noelle, my mother asked if she could take my daughter to visit my grandmother. I was hesitant to say “yes” because I knew my father still lived there. And yet, something in my gut told me to let her go.

He was completely awestruck by my daughter, "She’s so beautiful."

On a cold February day, my mom took my daughter to visit my grandmother’s house. I wasn’t with her, so my mother took pictures of Noelle and my father playing together.

I’m told he was completely awestruck by her and kept whispering, “She’s so beautiful.” That night, my father actually sat down and ate with the family, instead of skipping food and picking up the bottle as he usually did at night.

I wish I could tell you my daughter’s visit inspired my dad to get help— to reform himself into a loving grandfather figure in Noelle’s life. But that isn’t what happened.

On April 22, 2020, he was found drunk and unconscious, slumped against an air conditioning unit in the back alley of a gas station. From there, he was rushed to a hospital where he was diagnosed with severe hypothermia. He died two days later.

In the few months since my father’s passing, I have held my daughter even closer to my heart. Though I know addiction is a struggle, I still have feelings of anger and hurt towards my father.

Through my daughter’s visit, I was able to say goodbye to my father with love, compassion, and perhaps even understanding.

But I take comfort in knowing that he got to spend time with my daughter, and that he was able to meet her at least once in this lifetime. Even if it wasn’t a long visit—even if it didn’t change his behavior for good—it changed his behavior for one special night.

Through my daughter’s visit, I was able to say goodbye to my father with love, compassion, and perhaps even understanding.


Telling your parents and loved ones about an unplanned pregnancy is never easy. You can’t control how they react, for better or for worse.

Sometimes they respond with love, compassion, and understanding, like my mother and my boyfriend’s parents who have been such an empowering force in my life. 

And sometimes they respond with anger, grief, and disappointment. If they respond with hatred or even violence, my advice is to walk away. Create safe boundaries that allow you to focus on you and your pregnancy.

And no matter how uncertain things may be, remember that there is a village full of people ready to support you—they just need to be invited in. If I got through this, you can too, as a stronger and more resilient person.

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