Nope! End of article.
But let me make my opinion clear from the start here: mama, you don’t “owe” your news to anyone it doesn’t directly influence.
Expecting a child is an exciting but overwhelming time in a woman’s life – especially for a stepmom! It comes with a laundry list of its own worries and fears, but as far as this stepmom + bio-mom is concerned, delivering your news to your stepkids’ mom should not be one of them.
If you’re on great terms with the mom, have a good relationship with her, and feel EXCITED to tell her? Awesome. See how your husband feels about it first, then by all means tell her. (With a disclaimer that you’d like to be the ones to tell the kids so she doesn’t beat you to the punch!)
But if you’re lying in bed at 12 weeks pregnant, stressed about how you’re “supposed” to tell your stepkids’ mom you’re expecting, or wondering if you’re “supposed” to tell her before you tell the kids so she has a warning, stop right there.
Acknowledge this truth right now: she doesn’t NEED to know you’re pregnant. Eventually she WILL know, either by the kids telling her or you showing up one day with a baby, but nowhere in that court order does it say “ex-husband and new wife must disclose any and all personal news or decisions for their family to ex-wife prior to celebrating with the children.”
It’s not in there. I promise. You don’t need to worry about the how or the when, because you don’t need to worry about it at all.
So what DO you do?
You keep your sweet secret between yourself and your husband until you feel completely comfortable with saying it out loud.
Then you tell your parents, if they’re VIPs in your life. Or your best friend. Or whoever is closest to you that you can’t wait to tell, but who will keep it on the down low for a little while.
Then, when you’re ready for anyone and everyone to know, but before you post that clever letterboard and baby jumpsuit on Facebook, you tell your stepkids. Celebrate with them. Get them hyped. Tell them what a great big brother or sister you know they’ll be. Then tell them that they may tell whoever they’d like, because it’s their news to share too.
Don’t worry, they’ll tell their mom. She will know. You may get a text, like we did, that says “the kids just told me the news, congrats” (for the record, this is exactly how she “told” us about her pregnancy too, and it was fine!) or you may get no acknowledgment at all from her until you’re 8 months pregnant walking around with a bump that no one can ignore.
Regardless, there is a certain beauty in doing it this way, and it is this:
It gives everyone involved their own space to process how they feel.
It gives you space to focus on picking a pediatrician and remembering to take your vitamins, instead of losing sleep trying to figure out how to approach the topic with someone whose opinion does not (or at least should not) change how you feel about the decisions you make with your partner.
And it gives her space to process the news however she needs to, instead of being put on the spot by you and having to respond. You don’t truly know whether she’ll be fine and not care, or be happy for you, or whether she’ll spend a few hours crying because to her this means there really is no chance she’s getting her ex-husband back.
But by not calling her or pulling her aside at pickup to tell her, you are choosing not to put her in a position to process and respond simultaneously, and that’s a good thing.
You can’t control her knowing about your baby, and you can’t control how she feels about it. All you can control is whether or not you solicit feedback from her.
So give up the guilt, mama. It’s okay for her to hear news about your family via the only thing you share – the kids. It’s okay for her to not have a response to give you. It’s okay to ensure from the get-go that she sees the situation for what it is: a decision that she is not invited to influence, that she knows about simply because it affects her kids.
You don’t owe her an explanation or a preemptive “heads up.” You owe it to yourself and your baby to prioritize your mental health and focus your attention on preparing yourself, your marriage, and your family dynamic for the addition of a wailing bundle of joy.
You only have so much worry to spend. Spend it on what’s most important to you, and let others spend theirs however they’d like.
PS: Does being a stepmom make you terrified of having a baby? We totally get it.