Telling people that you are expecting a new family member is one of the super exciting things you get to do in early pregnancy. When you announce your pregnancy to family and friends, you expect people to jump up and down, to drench you in love, hoorays, and congratulations. However, if you have friends or family members that are suffering with infertility, there is a good chance that your pregnancy announcement will be a gigantic, painful blow to them.
It's not that they are angry with you or not happy for you. But when someone is dealing with infertility, every pregnancy announcement reminds them of what they don't have. There are some couples that have been trying for a baby for longer than it's taken other couples to make three or four babies. That feels so unfair! Many women feel completely alone as their friends move into the family phase of their lives and they remain childless. Suffering with infertility is a grief so intense that it can feel like being in constant mourning, and every pregnancy announcement is a reminder that they are still without the family that they so desperately are praying for. Infertility is a great life crisis that needs to be addressed with kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness.
So, given that scenario, spend some time thinking about how to tell those friends about your pregnancy.
Here are some tips:
1. Tell your friend first. Don't make a big announcement on Facebook or in front of a big group of people before you let her know. For your friend dealing with infertility, that feels like a giant kick in the stomach. Instead, tell her separately from everyone else and give her a few days to process it. You might also tell her when and how you plan to tell everyone else so that she can choose to be there or not.
2. Don't keep it from her because you think it might upset her. Women dealing with infertility have a keen sense of who might be pregnant around them. It's like every woman they see is a ticking time bomb full of embryos ready to hatch. If she finds out that you've kept it from her, she won't feel protected; she will feel betrayed.
3. Be very compassionate when you announce it to her. You might want to start with something like, "I wanted you to be the first to know that I'm pregnant. I know that you and Dave have been trying for a long time and though I admit I don't understand fully what you're going through, I want you to know that I care about you deeply and I want to be there for you." You might even tell her over the phone or in an email so she can react the way she needs to. Don't expect her to whoop with joy for you. She might need to get away from you so she can feel her feelings first. This is not about you, so try not to be upset. Understand that your pregnancy is just another thing that reminds her of her own loss. Yes, infertility even without miscarriage is a loss.
4. Don't press her on it. If she doesn't call you back or talk to you for a week or so, just check in with her via email or text. "Thinking about you, check in if you feel like it. xo"
5. Don't sit around and talk about baby stuff or doctors appointments to her or around her. It's obviously the center of your world right now and that's great. But it's something that you have other people to talk about with. If she tells you that she wants to know and wants to talk about it with you then by all means, do it. Let her take the lead in how much or how little she wants to know.
6. Be okay with the fact that you might lose a friend, at least for a little while. While it's not fair for you to lose your friend due to something that you can't control, it's also not fair that she's dealing with infertility. Just be patient, kind, understanding and open. Tell her that you are there for her and remember to do nothing more than just listen. Whatever you do, don't try to give advice. Women who are dealing with infertility know way more about getting pregnant than women who get pregnant after 1-6 months of trying.
7. Because infertility is such a private thing to many women, you might not even know that you have a friend who is going through it. If you know of someone who doesn't seem to be super excited about your pregnancy, don't ask them questions about it and don't go on and on about your pregnancy with them. Just be considerate and allow them to take the lead. They might or might not tell you if something is going on. Don't press for information.
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