Okay, so the title of this post is really “How to tell your friend who is struggling to have a baby that you’re pregnant”, but that was too long, so forgive me using the word “infertile” when I mean “possibly infertile” or “struggling to fall pregnant”.
I’ve had a lot of practice lately hearing pregnancy announcements. And, as someone who has been trying to get pregnant almost 2 years now, I’m a bit of an old hand at the kick in the guts a friend’s pregnancy announcement brings. On the flip side, I have a lot of friends who are trying to get pregnant and, although this is possibly a bit narcissistic to assume (but I’ve been told it’s true), a lot of friends who are worrying about how to tell me when they actually do.
This post is for them. For you, if you have a friend like me.
How to tell your friend who is struggling to conceive that you are pregnant:
Via Text Message
Under normal circumstances, nothing beats a face to face pregnancy announcement. But when you’re in the midst of grieving for a pregnancy that wasn’t or a baby lost, it can be a bit hard to hear.
There’s nothing worse than hearing your friend is pregnant in a room full of people when everyone is excited and you want to burst into tears. Someone telling you their joyous news and watching your face for a reaction, and it being hard to hide your pain. Them calling and it becoming impossible to keep the tremble from your voice.
A text message sent just to them gives the space to react in their own time and on their own terms, without having to take anything away from the joy of the announcement for you, or have them feel pressured to respond correctly.
It may be impersonal, and not how most people communicate big news like this to their close friends, but in my experience a text message really is the best way.
Before it’s Public
If you can, give your friend a heads up before they hear it with everyone else. Give them the space to acknowledge whatever they are feeling, feel it, and get over it so when it is made public they can be truly happy for you with everyone else, rather than having to fake it, swallow their feelings or make an excuse to leave.
Acknowledge Their Situation
Let’s not pretend the elephant isn’t in the room. You have managed something your friend is dying to do. You’re going to have something they so desperately want. Well done you! But it’s a bit rough for them, and it’s hard to pretend it isn’t.
That doesn’t mean you need to dwell on it, or be too worried about them. I bet they’re pretty tough at this point. A simple “I hope it happens for you soon too” or similar will do the trick. It acknowledges their situation, making them feel understood, while not taking away from the joy of your announcement or making your happy news about them.
The last thing they want right now is you to remind them how they should be feeling.
Don’t Expect A Response Straight Away
We’ve all done it – sent a text message, email or social media request that made our stomach drop and then been anxiously awaiting the reply. But it might take some time for your friend to get past their own feelings before they’re able to respond to you.
Take it from someone who knows – in addition to the heartbreak of your friend achieving something you can’t/haven’t, there’s a whole lot of guilt associated with not being selflessly happy for them and it’s really hard to respond properly in this situation. It’s a complete emotional upheaval and even the person doesn’t know what their initial reaction will be – I’ve reacted completely differently to different friends, for no reason I can pinpoint, and when I am upset I then get upset with myself for being upset. Not an experience I want to share.
You don’t need to lie or pretend it’s not incredible news for you, because it is! You don’t need to hide your excitement or your joy, your friend would be over the moon if they were in your situation and although they’re sad for themselves, they are still happy for you. They are still your friend.
And, trust me, they already feel bad enough that they aren’t able to be solely, selflessly, happy for you, they don’t need you to dampen your joy for them. The only way I could feel worse about a friend’s pregnancy announcement is if I felt I was ruining it for them by bringing my own baggage to the table.
Have you had to tell a friend who’s struggling to fall pregnant that you are? Have you had experience being the friend who got told about others’ pregnancies? Do you have any extra tips?
Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons, text added