Those two words, “I’m pregnant,” can bring a flood of emotions. To someone not trying to conceive, the news of someone else announcing their pregnancy can be a joyous time filled with excitement. However, to someone struggling with infertility, these two words can bring a tsunami of emotions that include bitterness, anger, joy, sadness, grief, happiness, resentment, and even hope, all in about 60 seconds.
Recently, I received awesome news from one of my closest friends that she and her husband are expecting baby number 3! I am not 100% positive, but I think it only took one or two months of “trying” for them to get pregnant. She is what I have labeled as “fertile myrtle.” Actually, in my book, anyone who can get pregnant within less than a year is labeled as “fertile myrtle.”
I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her to tell me. I already knew they were trying and would often joke about her being pregnant soon. However, she would always insist that I would be next (she has been such a great encourager); but I am not next, and I’m sure she wished I were.
What I love most about my friend is her consideration of my feelings in how she told me. She didn’t brag about her ability to conceive in such a short amount of time; she didn’t tell me around a big group of people, she didn’t even tell me in person. I didn’t even get a phone call with the news. Instead, she told me via text message, and boy was I relieved to be in the comfort of my home and reading it by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely happy for her, but I had to take a sigh of relief that I wasn’t around a big group of people when the announcement was made.
I’m not sure how everyone else feels about how they receive news of such wonderful announcements, but text messages are the best way to go for me at this stage in the game. I am always happy and excited for others because I would never wish month after month of disappointments on anyone…not even my worst enemy. But I never know what kind of “emotional state” I will be in that day, and I don’t want that awkward moment of me either excusing myself out of the room to go cry (and everyone knowing why), or the awkward moment of everyone immediately looking at me for my reaction and thinking…Is she happy? Will she cry? What will she say? Is she mad? Even when I express sincere joy over the announcement, I feel as though everyone is thinking that I am being fake. Therefore, needless to say, I can’t express how grateful I am that when she shared her news, I wasn’t in a room full of other women where I would have to guard my feelings or explain my silence.
Telling your “fertility-challenged” friend you are pregnant is never easy. This is why I have created a list with a few tips that I think will help when “sharing” your news.
1. Please don’t try to hide your news. The worst thing ever is to find out from another friend, acquaintance, or through social media such as Facebook (unless it is a private message), Twitter or Instagram.
2. Let your “fertility challenged” friend know (if at all possible) when you are trying to conceive. I am not really big on surprises. I don’t like news that will cause an emotional “shock,” therefore, knowing that a pregnancy announcement might be coming soon, the pipeline has been beneficial for me to cope and deal with whatever emotions I might have in advance. The less of a shock, the better.
3. Before you conceive, find out how your “fertility challenged” friend would like to hear your awesome news. Personally, I would prefer that if it is going to be announced in front of a large crowd, I find out in advance (even if it is one hour before). This is important because if I do have any emotional reactions (tears, heartache, anger, etc.), I will be more prepared not to show it in front of others and therefore be potentially embarrassed. Facial expressions full of tears, anger, bitterness, and embarrassment are not my best look, and as a matter of fact, they aren’t anyone’s “best” look.
4. Let your “fertility challenged” friend know you love her and are praying for her. I love how my friend started off the text message letting me know how much she loved me and then ending it with her praying for me. She is the best!
5. Give grace (this goes both ways). Give grace if the person doesn’t react the way you want them to, and let them know it’s okay to cry, be upset, or not speak. Also, forgive them for whatever they do or say, and please don’t hold it against them. Your friend does want to be happy for you, but it’s normal for their first reaction to being that of heartache. This is about her feelings of loss and not because she is unhappy about your pregnancy. Giving grace is not just a tip for the person sharing the news but also for the person receiving the news. As “fertility challenged” people, we need to remember that not everyone knows the full extent of what we are going through, so we also need to extend that same forgiving grace to them for not “understanding” our emotions and the struggles we face.
I truly believe that most people want to be sensitive and heed to needs during this time; however, they just don’t know how. I hope this article will help as they do both; share their news while also respecting your emotions and struggles.
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