Waiting for Baby Bird, When Someone You Know Is Infertile

When Pregnancy Announcements Hurt: The Surprise Group Announcement

Portrait of a young woman sitting in outdoor restaurant with her friends

Have you ever been there?  That place, that moment, when you look around the room after a friend or family member has just announced they are expecting and you realize in a dazed stupor that you are the only person not jumping up and down. You are the only one not squealing with excitement. Shouting congratulations. Singing praises while dancing around the room. Or drenching them with love.


But it is not because you are unhappy for them because deep down you are. It’s just that every pregnancy announcement brings a tsunami wave of emotions that crashes over you, am I right? And the intensity of these emotions leaves you breathless. And numb. And scared.  And…well…not yourself. Because it’s within the first 60 seconds of their joyous announcement, you instantly feel bitterness and anger, as well as sadness and grief. Even resentment. But not necessarily towards them. Just towards your circumstances. Because why haven’t your prayers been answered? Are you not worthy? Don’t you deserve a child just as much as they do?

But it’s also within that same 60 seconds you feel joy and happiness for them, even a sense of relief and hope. Relief that they will never have to endure the pain of infertility and also a rare form of hope. Hope that maybe, just maybe, it might be your turn next. And honestly? These emotions come so fast and so hard, making them difficult to juggle. Especially in a group setting…with an audience. It’s in this moment that you are convinced, everyone is staring at you and waiting. Waiting and wondering. Waiting for your reaction. And wondering what you might be thinking. Or feeling…

Will she cry? I wonder if she is jealous? Did you see her look away? I bet she is mad!

Before you know it, the Academy Award goes to…YOU!  Because you, my friend, were able to work up a decent amount of joy and excitement in record timing so that you could join with the others and dance around in bliss. But I also know that despite the awards you have received countless times, group announcements still scare you. No; they terrify you. They put you on edge anytime someone clears their throat at Christmas because they have “something to say.”  Or when you hear the words, “we have an announcement to make” while eating dinner with friends. And it is because anyone struggling with infertility will tell you that their emotions are so unpredictable. Therefore hearing the news for the first time with others can be extremely difficult. Even personal telephone calls can sometimes be hard because you know there is always the chance of an awkward moment when you won’t win the Academy Award as you won’t be able to hold back the tears and give them the joyful congratulations you know they deserve.

Once again, it’s important to note that it’s not because you are not excited about this new life that will soon enter the world; it’s just that you are struggling. You are in pain. And you can’t stop the feelings you feel from the hurt of infertility at that moment. Or stop the fearful thoughts you have that this joy and excitement of announcing your own pregnancy may never come true. And it’s hard. It makes you feel like an awful person because you know the right thing to do is set aside your pain for their joy, but sometimes at that moment, you can’t. You want to, but you just can’t.

I realize not every woman struggling with infertility feels or reacts this way because while I may not always like being told in person or a group setting, my friend would prefer it. In fact, the thought of someone else treating her differently or handling her with “kid gloves,” as she calls it, infuriates her, and that’s okay. We are all different and struggling in our own ways as we deal with different wounds. Different scars. Different past experiences. Not to mention, we are all in different stages of grief. But I believe despite the differences and struggles, we are all in need of the same grace.

Grace to help us rejoice to the best of our abilities.

Grace to overcome our unpredictable emotions.

Grace to see us through our painful circumstances.

And grace to help us never give up hope that maybe our announcement will be next.

But with that grace, I also believe there needs to be compassion. And so if you are reading this today and are among the fertile, can I make a suggestion? A suggestion on how to share your pregnancy news in a group setting that has someone you know struggling and praying every day, every minute, or every second for their own two precious pink lines to appear?  Because while I know, it sounds like an awesome opportunity to announce it in front of your friends or family members at the big annual family cookout, it’s probably going to place your infertile friend or family member in an awkward position. Maybe even potentially reopen a wound that was starting to scab over.  Or cause them embarrassment as they cannot hold back the alligator tears that sometimes accompany the pain they are feeling.  And so, to possibly help shield her wounds and allow her to “rejoice with those who rejoice” to the best of her ability, can I offer you my number one tip or suggestion or piece of advice (however you want to look at it)?  

If so, here it is…

Tell her before the event. Perhaps tell her a day (or two) before the big reveal so that she has time to process the information. Process her grief. Process her emotions. She really does want to support you, and she really does want to be there with everyone else, but she might need that extra time to pull herself together to do so. And that’s not too hard. It’s doable, right? Because telling her in advance still allows you to share your news in front of family and friends just like you have always dreamed of doing. Yet, it still also gives her the grace and compassion her soul desperately needs during this unwanted season in her life. And to me? That’s a win for everyone.

With Love

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82 thoughts on “When Pregnancy Announcements Hurt: The Surprise Group Announcement”

  1. every single word of this is how i feel! Like, a friend calling you inviting you to dinner and getting a pit in your stomach because this COULD BE the dinner telling you she’s pregnant. It’s tough no matter how you look at it 🙂 Great post today!!!

    1. Thanks so much! And you are sooo right!! Lately I feel like I have antennas up and so I can usually predict when someone is pregnant before they announce. Even if my “antenna” is wrong, at least I have prepared myself for if I am right 😉

  2. This is so true. I am always so grateful to my friends who have been compassionate and tell me over text about their pregnancy before we see each other in person. It’s so much easier to have the moment of sadness alone and then be ready to shower them with love when the time is right.

      1. It’s all good, I totally have teared up before, you just smile and say, “Oh I am so happy for you” and they think they are happy tears 🙂

      2. hehe! Very sneaky 🙂 And you are the one of the ladies that deserves that Academy Award! I think I am going to have to use this tactic next time 🙂

      3. It totally works 🙂 Sneaky, yes, lifesaver, absolutely 🙂
        Why thank you, I would like to thank the Academy and my drama teacher in Uni who said I couldn’t act, I showed you buddy hahaha.

  3. Even thought we are moving forward with adoption, I still have some of these emotions when we are told about a pregnancy. I think I always will. And I have to say the ones that hurt the most are from people who know about our struggle and don’t tell us in advance of the big reveal, obviously it doesn’t change their reality and our reality, but it demonstrates that they are compassionate and trying to be supportive of us. And that just means the world to me.

    1. Exactly! I honestly think some people do not even realize the emotions we go through during this time. And that’s why I wanted to write this post. To explain that we love and cherish the new life coming, but we just need time to grieve away from others.

      1. Exactly! And the gift of time to privately grieve is the best gift anyone can ever give to us. For us, the people who have done that will always hold a special place in our hearts.

  4. I don’t know how many times my coworkers have done this in our staff meetings, most recently last week. I hate it! Most of them know I’m infertile, since they wouldn’t stop bothering me about when we were going to have a baby, so I finally just told them. I wish they’d give me a little warning instead of just dropping the bomb. I’ve given up on even pretending to be happy, I just sit and stare at the floor until everyone is done celebrating.

    1. Ugh! I am so sorry girl! Perhaps you could share this post with them? Or maybe on your Facebook wall as a “passive” way to let them know. hehe! I’ve come to the conclusion that unless someone has been in our shoes, they can’t even begin to know the depths of the emotions we face in moments like this. :/

  5. I’ve had this happen 3 times with my sister in law.. She’s announced during family gatherings.. But one time she told me before hand and I would’ve rather her treat me like everyone else .. But I felt the opposite when she announced around family.. It sucks either way., I see everyone else around me having what I want. And it’s devastating….

  6. Oh yes. You have the gift of putting all this in such a graceful way. I tell my friends to email me ahead of time before we talk or see each other in person so I have the time to process my emotions. Such a wonderful post, friend!

    1. Yes, for me email or text message is fabtabulous!! hehe! Some days I can handle it like a champ in public but if my hormones are all a rage, a big group announcement is sooo not my thing.

  7. I dealt with this situation last week. A friend had hinted that she was pregnant, and I found out through another friend that there was going to be an announcement at our girls night. I did not want to be told in person, so I texted the friend who was expecting and had her confirm. Her heart was in the right place, and I know that sharing news like this when someone you love is going through IF treatments, but in person is not the right way. By texting, I took control and was able to be happy for her. Since the feelings from last week are still a little raw, your post has me a little misty eyed. Thanks for writing this 😊

    1. Our loved ones usually always have their hearts in the right place. Most of the time they don’t even know or realize the emotions we could have during these moments. Thank you for sharing your story and heart with me. Hugs! Xo

  8. So true and good advice. It is an awful feeling – to be so divided. Love and joy mixed with your sadness and a dollop of annoyance/confusion that you’re even feeling that way and being ungracious. In the beginning, I was one of those people who really did not get upset. By about the 3.5 year mark my resentment and bitterness kicked in and I started to get more erratic in my responses to pregnancy announcements.

    1. Same year…I could have cared less about a pregnancy announcement in the beginning of my journey. But now? They sting a little :/

  9. Oh girl, you just said what every infertile woman is feeling. Thank you for writing this. The announcements feel like a dagger stabbing you right in the chest, and no matter how hard you want to be happy for someone, the happiness doesn’t come right away.

  10. I absolutely love how you can put into words the thoughts and feelings that I have had throughout the years. While I know that I will NEVER get to have those 2 pink lines and make my own announcement, I am happy for my loved ones who are or will be expecting. I think all of this is much harder now with my daughter being 10 and wanting a sibling so much. We always wanted to adopt, but soon learned this is the only road for our family. Receiving a text or a call that someone is expecting prior to seeing them or being in a group setting where talk of the pregnancy may occur is something that has been so helpful for us. Why? Because when my daughter learns of a pregnancy, she goes through these same emotions of why and we have a complete meltdown. Why don’t I have a sibling? Why do they get a baby and we don’t? Why do I have to be an only child? When will it be my turn? So, please, don’t only think about your friends going through infertility, but think about those who have children who desire a sibling too!

    1. oh goodness! I have never even thought about how it affects children of parents struggling with secondary infertility! That has got to be tough :/ Praying for hearts to be healed and peace to wash over. I just can’t imagine :/ Thank you for sharing your story and this side of it. Hugs. xo

  11. This is fabulous advice, and I wish there was some way to make everyone out there understand. For me personally, it completely depends on the person making the announcement, how I take it. Like my friend that I know has been struggling to get pregnant for a year or so, I was so happy for her when she told me they finally were! Yet the Dr I work for who told us all at work, and then said it was a complete shock and seemed not real happy with it, infuriated me. So really, it depends. And I know everyone is different. Can we just print this out and send it out to the general public, all over the world? 🙂

    1. Totally get it about who the person is. In fact, I have a whole other post started about that! Lol! I just gotta find time to write more. And in regards to printing it out? Yes!!! Lol!

  12. This is EXACTLY how I feel right now. I Hate that my first knee-jerk reaction to someone’s news is anger and jealousy. Who have I become!? At my core I am happy for them but just so sad for us. 🙁

    1. I think it’s okay to have that anger and jealousy as long as we work through it and don’t allow it to consume or control us. We have to control our emotions and not let them control us. But it can be SOOO stinkin hard sometimes :/

  13. I am ashamed to say I did this very thing to my brother and sister-in-law. I knew that they were struggling, desperately wanting a baby. And I debated whether I should tell them in advance of the gathering at which we planned to share our news. I didn’t do so, for exactly the reason your friend gave… based on my sister-in-law’s personality, I thought she would not want to be fussed over and treated differently. I was wrong. And I knew it almost immediately after making the announcement. It has been years, but I still regret that choice. Thank you for writing this – I hope you’ll reach a few people BEFORE they make my mistake.

    1. Oh bless your heart!!! Please give yourself the gift of grace tonight! And the gift of forgiveness!! Because we have all made mistakes. In fact, before infertility was something I struggled with, I was the person that asked people why they didn’t have kids and then would give advice. Yikes!!! But please don’t beat yourself up over it. Your heart was in the right place and that’s all that matters! Hugs to you! 😘

  14. Yes, yes and yes again. I can SO relate to all those emotions and feelings. It’s not that I don’t want others to be happy, it’s more of a feeling over being overlooked and wondering when it will ever be my time. I’m not sure what would make it easier, but I’m pretty sure that having someone announce their pregnancy at Christmas or Thanksgiving would be crushing since every year I dream of having that be our announcement. Every year instead I think I’ve been greeted by aunt flo. I’m so thankful that God has grace and understands.

    1. Oh sugars! I have thought about you lots lately and when I do, know that you are being prayed for! God is working…He is weaving…and I believe SOON you will see that miracle you have been on your knees praying for. xo

    2. I’ve gotten my period on Christmas Day the past two years. Plus Thanksgiving and Valentines Day last year. The worst though was when it showed up early this May just to arrive on Mother’s Day.

  15. Thank you, Elisha. And God bless you, your husband, and I pray soon God will bless you with Josiah.

  16. One thing I have learned is that everyone is so different. One of our friends invited us out on our own to lunch and told us and we really appreciated it, we kind of liked that they had thought enough of us to tell us personally.
    My brother announced his second child at a small family gathering (my parents, two brothers, their partners and their kids) I reacted positively then noticed people around the table didn’t seem to react the same and then it clicked… they all knew already. I asked outright if everyone else knew and they confirmed it, all I said was “oh geez, always the last to know huh”. I just felt like they wanted back up or something to tell us and that p’d me off because why shouldn’t I get the personal one on one everyone else had, I felt like they were cowards or something.
    I do find myself doing the thing where I get myself prepared for a possible pregnancy announcement whenever I am invited out with someone I know was thinking about trying hahaha.

  17. Yeah, I have to say, it’s much harder to stomach when an immediate family member waits until a big gathering or announces on Facebook, which is the worst. Facebook has become my demise… at least I can cry alone, but it hurts way more when it’s immediate family who announce that way. I expect to see it from acquaintances and old friends I may not communicate with as much anymore, or long-distant family… but immediate family you see weekly? THAT hurts. At least no one saw me sob hysterically in my living room floor…

    1. YES! Facebook is THE WORST! Not only the announcement, but the subsequent ultrasound shot and pregnant belly pics each week. It sounds bad, but I’ve started to unfollow certain people just so I won’t get slapped in the face every time I’m scrolling through Facebook and see these updates. Instead of “liking” and “commenting” on everything, I’ll just text them personally to see how they’re doing, when I’m feeling stronger! 🙂

  18. This is so beautifully written. I am now the blessed mother of a little girl, but I can still remember that pit in the bottom of my stomach. I can’t tell you how many times I was literally scared to go see certain family and friends because I just knew the next conversation would be their pregnancy announcement. And dealing with the emotions is the epitome of being between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, you’re oh so happy, but on the other, you’re completely devastated it isn’t you. Thank you for putting this out there!

    1. Hey there girlie! Thank you SOO much for reading and commenting! Your support, encouragement, and even story of hope (you know have a little girl) means so much to me! So thank you! xo

  19. Another good one! I find this so hard – all points are correct – every situation is different! But I agree let her know! Just let her know! She can tell you how she feels – whether she didn’t need ‘special treatment’ or whether she appreciated it! It’s not for anyone else to decide for her! Two women in my church small group handled this differently and I wish they had collaborated…one notified me via email prior to announcing and it was wonderful. I got the message, cried over my breakfast and had a few hours to collect myself and truly process so I could give her a genuine congratulations and hug. The other just told me in front of the group – and of course I was happy for her but it was hard to fight that lump in my throat. Ahh…one day it will be our turn!

  20. Oh yes, this happened so many times. The hardest was when it was in our Bible study group before we’d told anyone of our struggles. It was a young couple who’d literally been married 3 months and they weren’t even trying. I had to leave the room and pretend like I needed to use the restroom. The second hardest was when my boss announced in a staff meeting that his daughter was having a baby boy, and that they were naming it the name we’d chosen for a boy. So very difficult. As always, I love how you pair honesty with a desire to not let it become bitterness. Hugs.

  21. I Love this!!! 🙂 I am compiling two different posts on friendship and infertility right now and I will be sharing this link with it! So so good!

    One of the most loving things my friends did for me was tell me early and alone. <3 It communicated they cared and loved and understood that it might be hard. It allowed me to be honest and say " I love you and I love this baby and I'm thrilled for you, despite the tears running down my face. Despite the grief and jealousy that inevitably is rising up in me."

  22. Hi Elisha,
    Thank-you so much for writing this post, you are able to put into words everything I feel. I find the whole pregnancy announcement thing so difficult. My church is having a baby boom this year, at least 20 babies already born or due in 2015, and now all the announcements keep coming (no, it is not a big church either, everywhere you look is babies and pregnant women). I feel like each Sunday I just go home and cry. I know God is in control, and he can work through it all, and he has given me a career change that is exactly what I needed and which I really enjoy. And I do know his presence and comfort. Anyway, thank-you for all your blogposts and your encouraging words. God bless, sel.

    1. Oh sugars…I don’t want to make light of your situation or the pain you feel because I am almost in the same spot as you, but I just couldn’t help but feel hope for you! God is moving in a mighty way in your church and He hasn’t forgotten you! He has the most amazing story for your life and He is writing it feverishly! Hold on girlie! You are going to be a part of this baby boom! I can feel it! So don’t look around at those holding babies or carrying them in their womb with despair, but look to them in hope and joy! Because it shows God is working, He is weaving, and He is making a beautiful story out of what we think is an ugly mess. xoxo

    2. I find church really hard too. Truth be told, our attendance hasn’t been great since we miscarried, and it seems like every time we DO attend, there’s a baby dedication. Everywhere I look in church, there’s babies and pregnant bellies. At the same time, the sermon always seems to relate to our situation in a way, so there’s good and there’s bad 🙂 It seems like everyone can just snap their fingers and get pregnant, but finding this blog and reading through the comments assures me that I’m not alone! 🙂

      1. You are not alone! And I am so glad you have found your way here!! I can’t help but believe that the enemy would love nothing more than to try and make church painful for you. He is trying so hard to steal your relationship with God :/

  23. Gosh I relate to those feelings so much. Your words are perfect. I almost want to share this with everyone I know because so many “fertile” friends just don’t know how to handle it but I’m afraid of adding more awkwardness…and some don’t even know that we’re struggling with it. You’re right – I’d definitely prefer to hear it personally ahead of time. I think people feel so awkward that they don’t say anything at all. I appreciated a friend even just sending a group text out because it allowed me to bawl my eyes out for the first day and then I was able to be happy and excited with her. Though I don’t wish this pain on anyone else, it does give me comfort to know that I’m not alone in my feelings. I feel like I’m supposed to be perfectly happy and not shed a tear but I can’t help it. Thank you for your encouragement, Elisha!

    1. Kelli…you are totally not alone! And it’s okay to shed those tears! It’s just not okay to stay in the place of mourning and despair. So please, don’t feel guilty for feeling your feelings 🙂 It’s all normal and natural during this process. Hugs to you my sweet friend! xoxo

  24. This happened to me when my sister announced she was pregnant with my second neice. We were at my first niece’s birthday and my husband wasn’t able to come with me because he had to work. We were all standing around watching my niece open presents and on her last present she opened she pulled out a book titled ” I’m going to be a big sister”. Now at this time my husband and I had been trying for about 2 years with no luck. When she pulled the book out everyone freaked out and I just stood there in shock. I knew I was about to cry so I made the excuse that I was taking presents inside and I brought them in, went to the bathroom,called my husband and just cried. I cried because I was angry that we still weren’t pregnant, I cried bc he wasn’t there,and I cried bc I felt ashamed I was upset that she was pregnant. My mom knocked on the door and asked if she could come in. I opened the door and there stood my mom and my sister, who was also crying. We start hugging and crying and then I notice my mom crying, which by the way she is not emotional at all. I’ve seen her cry maybe twice in my life. So then we all start crying again. Lol we talk for a bit and we all come out back to the party. The last thing you want when you have that type of break down is all the attention on you. Well there was another person there who struggled with fertility but had gotten pregnant and had her babies. As soon as I walked out she asked loudly, why are you crying, why would you be upset? I don’t remeber my response but I remeber thinking why would you put me on the spot like that when you know what it feels like to go through this? Now when I see announcements it’s mostly on Facebook and it stings and I get upset and jealous and sad but I don’t let myself dwell on it. I give myself a moment to cry or whatever I feel like I need to do and then I force myself to do something else. My sister sent me to this blog and everything I’ve read has been spot on with how I feel. It feels good to know I’m not alone.

    1. Oh sugars! I could just feel the emotion as I was reading your comment! I am so thankful and glad that this experience didn’t ruin your relationship with your family and that they were totally understandable of the emotions you felt on that day! What a blessing your family is for the grace you all extend each other. Hugs to you sugars! xo

  25. Thank you so much for this post, Elisha. Before our journey started, I LOVED hearing about people getting pregnant and was all over their cute announcements on Facebook. NOW, it feels like a slap in the face, and I always feel SO GUILTY that it makes me feel so sad for myself.

    Since the miscarriage and following months, I’ve had THREE close friends get pregnant, and each time I’ve been so happy for them but also sad, angry, and resentful. The last one was a close co-worker and friend whom I see every day and who knows about our journey. Thankfully, she had the thoughtfulness to send me a text the night before she made the announcement at work. It was still hard, but having to be caught off guard with it at work would have been so much worse. Now I’m going to need so much strength for the next few months!

    I’m so thankful to read your posts and the comments and know I’m not alone in this!

    1. I am so sorry for your miscarriage :/. My heart aches for you! I can’t help but believe that God wants you to keep dreaming your dream…He hasn’t forgotten the desires He purposefully placed in your heart.

  26. Thank you for posting. I have one child, but we started trying for our second over a year ago. In that year i learned what the term “chemical pregnancy” means and, most recently, I miscarried 10 weeks into a pregnancy, after an u/s with a strong heart beat. It’s not the same struggle as infertility, but I agree that every announcement from a friend or family member is so hard. The adorable facebook announcements are like a slap in the face. I have a co-worker who is getting married this summer and I’m alreaady dreading the big announcement that is likely to ffollow their wedding as she has made no secret about wanting to start trying right away. I shared this post today after the most recent adorable facebook announcement, because so many women I know have struggled either with infertility or multiple miscarriages.Thank you.

    1. Oh, Hun! I am so sorry for your struggle :/ None of this is easy! I find that sometimes the best thing for me to do is prepare myself mentally for those announcements. And I believe you are doing just that with your friend. Hang in there! xoxo

  27. I had this happen to me today with a close coworker and to add to it was a lovely facebook announcement for another family member. My husband randomly called me on lunch to tell me he loved me and to see how my day was going (he must have this weird thing to know when to call even though he had no idea what was happening).

    I have read this post so many times it’s borderline obsessive but I am in love with it because it has described my emotions perfectly. I feel like the last few years has been a baby boom among my family, friends and coworkers… I shared this post with my friends and family via facebook and received a very supportive response. I hadn’t realized that I wasn’t open on facebook about my infertility until I shared your post and so many were proud of me opening up publicly about it.

    1. Hey Courtney!

      I am so glad that you find comfort in this post and that when you shared it, your friends and family were so supportive! My heart goes out to you! This road is not easy to walk :/

  28. Oh my goodness. I know this is an old post, but I just had comment and say THANK YOU for writing this. This so encapsulates exactly how I’ve felt for so long, and every word of it rang true in my heart. At this point I am terrified of pregnancy announcements in a group setting. My heart can be so raw from the monthly reminder of infertility that, depending on where I am in that particular cycle, it really is a toss up whether or not I’ll be able to keep it together and not burst into heartbroken tears at that kind of surprise announcement. I even sometimes avoid group settings with friends because I have a “feeling” an announcement is coming and I just can’t handle it that day. And then, every time, a deep sense of shame washes over me that I can’t handle my struggles with more grace and be genuinely happy and excited for my loved ones when they make this announcement. It’s so hard! Such a vicious cycle! This post honestly helps take the edge off some of that shame by letting me know I’m not alone in these feelings. Thank you.

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