How To Tell Your Infertile Friend You’re Pregnant

youre pregnant

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.

And, finally…

Be Happy

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

  • shelie

    Some other advice for this situation I’ve seen in a infertility subreddit, in addition to the above, is to reassure your non-pregnant friend that you understand if they want to stop following you on facebook or something, if the pregnancy updates get too much. That made a lot of sense to me. I can only imagine that sometimes, if you get caught unawares, that ultrasound photo or pram purchase or whatever popping up on your newsfeed when you’re riding the bus home etc may catch you in a bad moment and so maybe it’s better to unfollow, and specifically visit that friend’s page when you’re in a good place and want to see their updates.

    • Tamsin Howse

      That’s good advice too. I would be really uncomfortable with unfollowing a friend on social media, I would feel like I was being a total bitch, but I get where they’re coming from.

  • Hugzilla

    Yes to all. Email, text or public FB announcements were my preferred form of hearing that kind of news so I didn’t have to hastily throw on my game face and was able to work through those feelings in private, so when I did get to see my friends I could be happy and excited for them.

    • Tamsin Howse

      So glad you agree. I admit, I panicked a little that no one would agree and I was weird not wanting to hear in person.

  • Delilah

    You may be feeling sensitive as you struggle to concieve but there are women who know they can never have children, who are genuinely infertile/sterile who have to deal with pregnant friends and they do it without laying down rules. Do you have friends who are infertile? How do you plan on telling them when you fall pregnant? Will you take the same precautions or follow the rules you have set for others?

    • Tamsin Howse

      The problem with putting yourself out there and making yourself vulnerable is that, inevitably, someone will take your words, manipulate them, and use them against you.

  • Natalie

    I am currently pregnant with our second and whilst it only took 6 months to conceive I do remember that feeling when I would hear about other people getting pregnant. My biggest issue with social media was that just before we announced our pregnancy it was miscarriage awareness month and I would struggle with a fair amount of guilt on my happy pregnancy posts when a huge amount of friends were announcing their losses.

    • Tamsin Howse

      I don’t think it takes long to know that feeling. Despite the statistics, I think we all secretly believe we’ll fall pregnant first go.

  • Jennifer

    A very good question.. Thanks for your post