First off, let’s acknowledge that there is no perfect way to share you pregnancy news with someone who is suffering from infertility or pregnancy loss. There are better ways, but no perfect way to tell them that will avoid pain.
We have been trying for 3 years to get pregnant and have had lots of failed IUIs and 1 failed IVF cycle. We are now pregnant with twins from our 2nd cycle. I have a friend at work that is also infertile. We have shared a lot of our struggles together. After I told everyone at work last week, she hasn’t spoken to me since. How should I have told her? I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost a good friend.
No matter what you do, your infertile friend will hurt. She can be happy for you, but she still feels devastated and hopeless. Your understanding of that goes a long way to lessen the blow.
Do’s of Telling Infertile Friends You’re Pregnant
Tell them soon. Don’t let them hear your news from someone else.
Tell them privately. Nothing is worse than having to hold in your emotions in a crowd – faking it until you can escape to someplace private to fall apart.
We did a poll of our community and most people preferred an email or letter, but some preferred to hear in person. I favor an email or letter, so that your infertile friend can react however they want without worrying about you, but depending on your level of intimacy you may need to do it in person.
Give them space. They need time to process and space to be self-protective. They may get over their need for distance quickly, but it might last throughout the pregnancy and beyond.
Don’ts of Telling Infertile Friends You’re Pregnant
Don’t take their reaction personally, even though you really want to.
Don’t say you understand how they feel unless you’ve actually been there.
Don’t put a happy spin on it. “I just know that you’ll be next” doesn’t help.
Don’t apologize for your pregnancy.
Don’t set a time limit on how long they need to distance themselves.
Try These Words
Depending on your relationship, try something like this:
I wish there was the perfect way to tell you this without hurting you, but there isn’t. I’m X weeks pregnant. I’m telling you privately (or by email, or letter) not to be rude, but to give you the space you might need to process this information. Please know that I care about you (or love you) and am sorry to be adding to your pain.
Now here’s the thing. You could have done all the above and your friend might still have responded poorly. Her grief may be too raw or her coping resources too low at that particular moment. She too probably feels like she’s lost a friend that is sharing her journey. She is once again on the outside looking in. That sucks.
Or, let’s face it – she may be a fairly self-centered person in general, and the added insult of infertility doesn’t bring out the best in anyone.
How have you told your infertile friends that you are pregnant? What worked and what backfired?
Image credit: Nishanth Jois