There is nothing more exciting than telling your loved ones that you are expecting, am I right? I know I can’t wait for the day! I dream of it. I plan it. I lay awake at night, envisioning it. And so, I am guessing you do too? Because it’s exciting to see their smiles and to hear everyone’s congratulations! That is unless you must tell an infertile friend or family member of your news. And then, well, it’s awkward. And it’s tricky. Because chances are you know their struggle. You know they have shed buckets of tears, poured countless hours into prayer, and spent thousands of dollars on doctors, vitamins, and treatments to obtain the blessing you are to announce.
And so, you may even decide to hide it from her…at least for a little while. Perhaps you might avoid her, leaving her out of the big group announcement all together and make a post on Facebook instead. And I get it. As I said, it’s awkward and tricky. I wish I knew the exact formula for how you should tell her, but I don’t. But wouldn’t that make it easier? Wouldn’t it save you stress and her potential heartache? However, even as a person struggling to conceive, I don’t know a perfect way. The only thing I do know is that your announcement, whether to someone struggling with infertility or not, should be based on one principle alone: how close your relationship is to the person. Therefore, if you are close or even semi-close with your infertile friend or family member, I hope the suggestions below will help guide you as you navigate your way through unveiling your joyful news because there is nothing more precious than showing compassion to another person who is struggling and needing grace, comfort, and love in a season of their life that is causing them so much pain.
1. When you actively start trying to conceive, let her know if possible.
What a bold first tip! And I know what you must be thinking…Isn’t this personal?! Annnnd it is. I’m not suggesting you announce it to the world or blast it on Facebook, but rather just let your close friend who is struggling know. Because if your friend is aware that a pregnancy announcement might be down the pipe soon, then it will be easier for her to cope and deal with her emotions when it does come. Trust me! The less of a shock you give her, the better.
2. When you become pregnant, please do not try to hide it from her.
This one is important. I repeat important! Because trust me, women dealing with infertility have a keen sense of who might be pregnant around them. It’s crazy how much we can sense in our spirits the moment implantation has likely occurred in your uterus. Therefore not telling her, but telling others, may seem protective and easier at first, but most likely, it will backfire. For her, the worst way to find out about your big announcement is from another friend, an acquaintance, a co-worker, or through social media. And so, the protection you thought you were providing her? It only made her feel betrayed. And the easy path you thought you were taking? It could cause you to climb a treacherous uphill mountain to mend your relationship.
3. Text, phone call, or share it with her in a group setting?
This one is tricky because everyone (and I repeat everyone) is different. I personally would rather have a text message. I never know what kind of day I am having, how my moods are swinging, or my hormones are behaving. And so a private text message or personal email gives me the time and space needed to process the news, process my feelings, and then gather myself together privately to congratulate them in the manner they deserve without embarrassing myself by either bursting into tears or trying to win the Academy Award for not being affected at all by their news. Group announcements are never good for me. Like, never.
4. Plan your words and choose them wisely.
I know you are excited! And trust me; I believe 100 % that you have every reason to be excited over your impending bundle of joy. But please do not burst into the room jumping up and down while screaming, “We are having a baby,” and then proceed to chatter on about your due date and the glow that you are feeling. Instead, first ask her how she is feeling, and then gently tell her the news. If you don’t know what to say, I suggest you start by saying something like what I have written below; because, trust me, these words are far better and much easier to swallow.
“I wish I knew the perfect way to tell you this news, but I don’t. I found out that I am pregnant, and I wanted you to hear it from me first. I also want to give you as much time and space as you need to process this news. Because I know, it might hurt. So if you don’t want to talk about it, I understand. But please know that I love you. I care about you. And I am praying for you.”
5. If you plan to announce a group setting, please tell her before the event.
As much as your plan to announce your family is “growing by two feet” sounds like an awesome idea at your upcoming family reunion, it’s probably going to place your friend or family member in an awkward position. But please, don’t let it stop you from your dream of announcing it in a big group! After all, telling the entire family together is a great idea. I just suggest that you give your friend/family member a heads up before the big day. Maybe even give her two or three days before the big reveal to process the information so that she can pull herself together emotionally if she needs to. Or perhaps even exit quietly before you make your big announcement.
6. Tell her privately.
Please do not tell your friend in a crowded restaurant, the hallway at your church, or in the break room while she is microwaving her lunch. My best advice is to share your news somewhere out of the public eye where she can get teary-eyed without being self-conscious of those around her and who might judge her reaction.
7. After you make the announcement, give her space and time to process the news.
Your friend might smile. She might give you a warm hug and say congratulations. But then again, she may not. Instead, she may cry. She may run out of the room. And she may refuse to eat lunch with you for a week. Or two. But please, don’t take it personally. Because your friend does want to be happy for you, but it’s normal for her first reaction to be that of heartache. And her reaction? It’s about her feelings of loss and not because she is unhappy about your pregnancy.
8. Stay in touch.
Suppose she doesn’t call you back or talk to you for a week; check-in with her via email or text. See how she is doing by letting her know that you are thinking of her, and when she is ready for lunch again, you are ready for the invitation. Please don’t give up on your friendship because now is the time in which she needs you and the grace you can give her the most.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. It shows just how much you want to be sensitive to your friend/family member struggle with infertility. I would also like to take this time to emphasize that this is not a rule book but rather a suggestion guide. Therefore, if one of the suggestions rubbed you the wrong way, please do not be upset or take offense. Everyone is different, and everyone has different needs. Therefore, what one person will need, another person might not. This post was written with the general infertility community in mind.
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