Dad’s going to be so disappointed. Mom’s going to cry. They’re never going to look at me the same way.

Every woman with an unplanned pregnancy has had similar thoughts. After all, your parents are some of the most important people in your life. You don’t want to hurt or disappoint them. 

Revealing your pregnancy, you fear, will do that and worse.

The good news is that parents often react better than you think they will. Additionally, you have more control over this conversation than you might think.

Use the tips below to learn how to tell your parents about your unexpected pregnancy with a positive outcome.

How should I tell my parents about my unexpected pregnancy?

1. Plan for the conversation in advance

The best way to keep the conversation calm and productive is to prepare mentally and emotionally in advance. 

First, decide how you want to break the news.

We recommend using gentle phrasing that recognizes their feelings (“I know this wasn’t the plan…” or “This may be hard to hear at first…”). You should also share how you feel (“This is big, scary news and I really need your support…” or “It’s unexpected but exciting to tell you that…”)

Next, think about what you want for your pregnancy. Your parents will have (and may voice) their opinions about the choice you should make, but this is your pregnancy and your decision.


Take some time beforehand to determine what you want. You can also visit a pregnancy clinic like Thrive Orlando to learn about all of your options and resources. This will help you make a decision you feel confident about.

A simple outline for the conversation may help you stay in control of the discussion as well. Even something like this could work:

  • Tell them about the pregnancy
  • Let them know what decision I want to make and why
  • Ask them to support my decision

You might also bring notes, practice with a friend in advance, or find another way to help you lead the discussion in the right direction.

2. Make sure you have support

In the best-case scenario, your parents will be supportive, even as they deal with the shock of your pregnancy.

Some parents, however, may not be supportive. If you believe a parent will react negatively, it’s okay to prioritize your well-being in this situation.

You could tell a trusted friend or family member first and ask them to come with you for the conversation with your parents. If one of your parents is more supportive than the other, you could tell them first and work together to share the news with your other parent.

You can also choose whether you want to include step-parents, your parents’ partners, or parents you don’t have a good relationship with in this conversation. You don’t have to tell everyone right away.

3. Sooner is better than later

The anxiety and stress you feel about this conversation will only get worse the longer you wait. Even worse, you risk your parents guessing the news or finding out from someone else before you can share your news. 

Instead, tell them as early as you can. You’ll have more control over the conversation. It will also help build mutual respect and trust.

Best of all, you can free yourself from the imagined worst-case scenarios and see that it might not be as bad as you feared.

4. Be prepared for an emotional reaction

There are many ways a parent might react to news of an unintended pregnancy. Your parents can control their actions, but they can’t choose how to feel. Give them space to work through their emotions. 

For example, think about your reaction to seeing that positive pregnancy test. Your parents may be feeling the same emotions of fear, uncertainty, disappointment, sadness, and regret about this unexpected news. 

Unfortunately, they may say things that they don’t mean or lash out. If the reaction is negative, let your parents know that you want to give them space to process the news. You can talk about it again when you are all in a better place emotionally.

If you need to walk away or leave to avoid an argument, for a few minutes or even permanently, that is okay.

Just remember that your parents love you deeply and want what’s best for you. Even if their wishes don’t line up with the choice you want to make, their love won’t change. You can discuss your options again and heal these hurts at a later time.

5. Remember your own power

A negative reaction from your parents can be devastating. Still, even if they don’t react the way you hoped, don’t lose hope in your future or doubt the decision you truly want to make.

No matter your age, you do have a voice and power in this situation. If your parents won’t support you, you can turn to other family members, friends, or even a support system such as the team at Thrive Orlando.

You are strong, brave, and more capable than you can believe. Don’t forget that.

Be empowered at Thrive Orlando

Information is the first step to finding the right option for your pregnancy. Visit our clinic to receive free healthcare, get information about all of your options, and talk with a Patient Advocate about your next steps, including how to tell your parents about your unexpected pregnancy.

Make your free appointment here.

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