Most women know that when they’re pregnant, they’re supposed to limit the amount of stress they put themselves through. Too much stress can be harmful to both mother and baby. A planned pregnancy has plenty of stressors, but when you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, your life is riddled with stress. Everything about it is difficult. So you might be wondering, “How do I tell my parents I’m pregnant ?”

When I found out I was pregnant, one of the hardest things to do was tell my parents. I knew they would be upset. So I came up with what I believed to be the fairest way of telling them.

1. Plan a time to tell them.

Make sure that allotment of time gives you both a chance to talk (if they’re willing to talk) and say everything you both need to say. This may be very quick, but it can also take a lot of time for questions, expressing feelings, and instances of silence to process the information. When I was choosing a time to tell them, I decided to wait until they were off work on a Friday so they would have time to process everything.

2. Decide which parent you’re going to tell first, or if you’re going to tell them together.

Every family is different, so choose which way works best for your family dynamic. I chose to tell my parents separately. I first told the parent I thought would be less upset. I did this so they could say what they wanted without feeling silenced with another person around. It also took a slight burden away when going to deal with the more difficult parent.

3. Decide where you are going to tell them.

Telling a parent something so important when driving or in a professional setting would not be very fair to them, nor would it be safe in some situations. It is difficult on you (I would even argue that it’s hardest on you), but it is still difficult for most parent as well. So please make sure you give them a setting of safety and comfort so there can be a conversation. The only time I would recommend being in a public setting when you tell them is if you feel you or others in your home would be in danger if alone. I chose to pick up the first parent from work and parked so we could talk in the car. We then went home so I could speak with the other parent with others in the house.

5. Rehearse what you need to say.

It might sound dumb, but when you’re already under a lot of stress, you don’t want to blurt things out the wrong way and make matters worse. You don’t have to be confident and well put together, this is a highly emotional time; just be prepared. Knowing my parents, I chose the simple route and just said, “I’m not going to beat around the bush, I’m pregnant, and I’m going to place the baby for adoption.” From here, one parent sat in silence for a few minutes and said they would support my decision. The other went on a rampage and did all the interrogating. Both ways, I said my piece and they got to say theirs.

Telling your parents you’re pregnant when it’s not expecting to be can be fine for some families, but if you’re like me, it is a big deal. Being as prepared as possible will ease some of your stress and help you to think clearer. I’m not saying it will be easy, but you will have more control over the outcome if you have a plan for the time, the setting, the order, and the narrative. Do your best to be understanding, as they will probably have strong feelings about the situation as well.

However, do remember that this is your child, and you choose what is best for them. Do not, I repeat, do not let them tell you what to do with your child. Do not let them make any decisions for you that you, as the mother, will regret. This is not a situation where you want to rush to a decision. If you waited a few days like I did, consider your options. I knew abortion was out of the question, and my conscience wouldn’t allow me to parent with my circumstance. You can change your mind, but don’t let them, or anyone, pressure you into doing something you feel is wrong. This. Is. Your. Child.