Waiting for Baby Bird, When Someone You Know Is Infertile

I Am Pregnant, She Is Not: How Should I Announce My Pregnancy to an Infertile Friend?

I am Pregnant, She is Not.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.

For more, “When Pregnancy Announcements Hurt: The Surprise Group 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.

With Love

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43 thoughts on “I Am Pregnant, She Is Not: How Should I Announce My Pregnancy to an Infertile Friend?”

  1. I totally agree with this post. The compassion we show towards such a friend is priceless. I have been through awkard situations when the friend who already knew our issues started complaning about the baby kicks and softness of diapers infront of me.

    1. Ahhh, girl! I am so sorry. Alot of times people just don’t think. They don’t think about how heartbreaking infertility can be for a couple and so they don’t even realize how their conversations can cause a sting…or even a punch in the gut 🙁

      1. I know!!. Because of the journey we have been through, we are really careful talking to people who are going through same issues. My heart aches for them. This journey made me to have lot of patience and compassionate. We never taken it for granted. I am totally a new person now in the 23 week of my pregnancy :). Good luck for you friend.. 🙂

  2. It always sparks my interest to read what others have to share about this topic, because I do think we are all so different! I will definitely agree with #2. My friend {just} told me she was pregnant (with her 3rd) and she is already 22 weeks. Not just any friend, but I was in her wedding friend. So much grace and forgiveness, but it never gets easier when people avoid you because of it.

    1. Oh wow! I bet that was tough:( Yes I wrote this post with every women struggling in mind. So not every suggestion is necessarily something I would want or need, but it might be for someone else.

    2. I agree, Caroline, that one is hard for me. I had a friend tell me when she was over halfway through her pregnancy, and we had been talking during all that time. I felt so stupid.

    3. I agree! I recently found out a relative was pregnant via her Facebook announcement, when she was already in her second trimester. I have another relative who I am closer to, and know could get pregnant any time, and I’m really tempted to tell her “look, just tell me. Please don’t hide it from me.” I actually probably will tell her that, just maybe a little more nicely. Haha.

  3. Yes! Love this. My husband’s cousin told us in a text message that they were expecting a few days before they announced it to the rest of the family Christmas morning. We greatly appreciated having time to process the news and could genuinely be happy for them when they made the big announcement.

  4. I love this; thank you for writing it! So true. #2 has happened a few times & it made me feel so stupid. Group announcements are THE WORST. I personally can’t stand it in person at all… send me a text! Ha. Thank you for this! 🙂

  5. Great post! I feel the same way in that text messages are so much easier and it sucks to be left out altogether. So glad you posted this and I hope there are zero hate messages. You deserve nothing but love for b(e)aring (sp?) your heart and soul. Xo

  6. Wonderful post. I’ve had women complain about their pregnancies in private groups, knowing several have infertility issues. They just don’t get the hurt at the time. This needs to be broadcast. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our issues. We shouldn’t hide. We have feelings as well.

  7. On the flip side from one who isn’t infertile I have to say how strong and bold you are for writing this. I can say that it does help those of us who just don’t know how to handle a situation like this because we love our friends/family dealing with this pain and don’t want to hurt them. Thanks for being obedient to the Lord even thru your hard times. Love you guys!

  8. We have been struggling for awhile now and are trying to start our family, my Mom got remarried last year to a younger man and they are also trying to have a baby (her 4th, his 1st) we just recently repaired our rocky relationship after some rocky years around my engagement/wedding/moving away and I’m really afraid that our announcement will send us right back down the black hole and take away her excitement about being a Grandma for the first time. Of course it will sting when they announce but I wish them all the luck, love and baby dust–I just feel like that may not be reciprocated and I don’t know the best way to approach it–Thoughts?

    1. Oh girl! I bet this is such a tough situation for you at times :/ Praying that you get to make your announcement soon! xo

  9. Really great post, Elisha. I’m not quite ready to share on FB about our struggles. And unfortunately, part of that is not wanting acquaintances to feel awkward sharing their good news with me or treating me differently because of infertility. My good friends know what we are going through.

    But as soon as I’m ready to share it, I would love to share this post and shout it from the rooftops. Because you nailed it.

    I can’t tell you how many times friends that I thought would understand, have made group announcements at dinner clubs, book clubs or whatever. One of my worst experiences was a friend sharing her good news at a dinner club, and then immediately turning the attention to me and asking “How are things going for you and Dave in this department?” As you can imagine I was dying on the inside while 6 sets of eyeballs were glued to my face.

    Another one of my most painful experiences was finding out from one of my best friends when she had already made it through her first trimester. She is one of the first people I will want to tell my good news to, so I absolutely hated that she waited to tell me hers. I assumed that she was tip-toeing around me. But once we finally talked it out, she explained her high anxiety about miscarriage since she has had two in the past. And so her and her husband decided to tell no one till the first trimester was over.

    Grace, grace, grace all around.

    1. I totally get what you mean about not wanting to share publicly. It can be such a hard decision to make. And while there are some con’s in doing so, I have found the pro’s to outweigh them. It’s such an amazing feeling to have people come up to me and let me know they are praying for me or give me a word of encouragement. Before I was open about our struggles, I kind of felt like I was living on an island. But I must admit, there are days I wish I could go back to that island :/

  10. Reblogged this on Colombes Mum and commented:
    Conseils intéressant. (En anglais). Car l’infertilité est là, toujours tout proche de vous, parfois elle vous frôle vraiment de trop près…

  11. Such a good post, friend! I have to say, the most painful way to find out a family member or close friend is pregnant is via Facebook at the same time as the rest of the world. Especially family. That has happened to me more than once and it feels more like a slap in the face. These are great suggestions! Thank you for pouring your heart out on this subject.

    1. Yes! So very true! I was going to include that in this post but thought maybe it deserved its own. LOL! Not to mention this one was getting already long enough and I was afraid many would just see it as a horribly long list of “don’t”! hehe!

  12. Wow, you said everything I would have liked have said 18 years ago. Social media has good points and bad points. One good thing is the support you can find but it can, as you know, have haters out there.

    My worst was I had the shock of the group family announcement, on the beach, in-laws that had been married 6 years less than us and it was their second child all rolled into one. I carried the anger for a while and then rejoiced when my nephew was born and we became God Parents.

    Ferility never worked for us but we adopted an infant who is 16 now and blesses us each day. I pray for peace and calm for you and your husband. God bless you both.

  13. #4 seems to trigger a sense of guilt, as though women who do not have infertility issues, or who have and are now pregnant, should somehow be overly delicate and apologetic for their presumably happy turn of circumstances. Empathy is important. When we know others are in pain, and we have enough information and awareness to recognize that pain we should do our part to lessen it, but should that come at the cost of someone lessening their joy? On any other joyous occasion would we ask a person to act less appreciative or excited because someone else is not having the same experience? Does neglecting or lessening our own experience really change the emotional impact of someone else’s reality? (These are not meant to be strictly rhetorical questions.)

    It seems unfair to place the weight of our personal struggles on someone else’s shoulders, particularly when there is nothing that person can do to truly lessen our pain or untangle the challenges. To what degree are we responsible for managing our own emotions and learning to coexist in a world where there are pregnant women, new mothers, and babies? Are expectant mothers being insensitive or selfish when they share the highs and lows of their journey with desiring mothers? Are desiring mothers being insensitive or selfish because they may struggle to be present for loved ones who have something that they want?

    1. It’s not a matter of those going through infertility not having something that expectant parents want. It’s a matter of not being able to have that. It’s like someone blind not being able to see like most people. You wouldn’t tell that blind person that they should just suck it up and not put the “burden” of their disability on others.

      If it’s about empathy then you need to communicate and do all you can. No it won’t be perfect but effort and listening can go a long way.

    2. Thank you for this response. I wholeheartedly agree. I think that we all carry pain for various reasons and there are always going to be times where we are more sensitive towards certain things, and have to check ourselves to be sure we are not hurting others with our own hurt. This is a hard subject for me because I’ve walked through a best friends infertility journey, where she was extremely sensitive to any and all pregnancies. It was difficult for me because I was struggling with being the only unmarried friend in our group and all I could think was that I wished I had a supportive husband and partner like she did, to share life, and walk through tough times together. I ended up meeting the person I thought would be my husband and we conceived early on and I now have a beautiful child. He ended up not being who he claimed to be and I am a single mom. It’s incredibly difficult, but so worth it. All this to say, everyone has a story, has their own set of difficult issues they are carrying, and it’s easy to look at the outside and assume someone else has everything you want. I hope we can all learn to be sensitive and caring, and not diminish other people’s joys or hurts. If we focus on putting others needs before our own, we will all be better off.

  14. I don’t mean this to be snarky. Really, I don’t. I try really hard to be sensitive about other people’s feelings but this is too much.

    I lost one of my parents this year. Are you going to stop talking about your parents around people who have suffered this kind of loss or figure out how to talk about your parents in a way that doesn’t upset them?

    Everyone has their own cross to bear. I’m sure that infertility is devastating and spreading the word about how hurtful it can be is not a bad thing. I just don’t think it’s right to expect other people to follow ‘rules’ when announcing their big news. Otherwise, there will be rules around all kinds of communication which will then limit communication. #1 was particularly ridiculous which you know pretty much yourself .

    Best of luck to you in your journey And when it’s your turn, I hope you feel free to bellow from the rooftops.

    1. Thanks for your input 🙂 I do value other people’s opinions and I knew while writing this not everyone would agree. And that is a-okay. I always like to say, if it doesn’t apply…let it fly. Also, they were not “rules” just suggestions. I would also like to note that I didn’t write it for me and all the tips were not based upon even my own specific wants or needs in this particular area. I wrote it based upon the massive amount of emails I get regualry from those not struggling who are asking for tips or suggestions on how to tell their infertile friends they are expecting. So obviously there is at least one other person out there who will find this helpful. That person wasn’t you and that’s okay. Everyone is different 🙂

      1. I actually agree with #1 – if it’s your best close friend, and she cares about you and your infertility, then she should probably tell you she’s trying to conceive herself. Otherwise you DO feel kind of betrayed when the surprise announcement is made. I lost a parent too, horribly, when she was in her 30s, and it’s nothing like the weird social minefield that infertility was for me. I like your post!

      2. Thank you for your insight…and I am also truly sorry for the death of your parent. I honestly just can’t imagine that kind of loss. Hugs! xoxo

    2. Also, I am truly sorry about the death of your loved one. I just cant imagine. But as for me, if I do know a friend who has just lost a parent, the last thing I would do is go on and on about how awesome of a time I had spending with them at dinner…or the mall…or a movie. It’s just not the topic of conversation needed at the time. Compassion for another person even if you think it is silly can go a long way.

    3. Actually if I knew you IRL I would be sensitive in talking about my parents around you. I’m sorry to hear about losing your parents.

      Your response to being sensitive about others feelings doesn’t sound sensitive at all but instead rather harsh.

  15. Thanks for this post! I thought every point was excellent. I dealt with a lot of conflicting emotions when receiving other’s pregnancy announcements– but what I chiefly remember feeling was pain and sadness. I hated that I was feeling sorry about my own situation when I wanted to be rejoicing for another, too. There were times when I just needed to cry, process, and get my eyes back on the Lord. I definitely agree that not being blind sided by the news of a recent pregnancy really, really helps matters.
    If the Lord ever blesses us with another baby, I’ll definitely be keeping this article in mind. 🙂

    1. P.S. As someone who dealt with multiple surgeries and infertility for 5 years, and who got pregnant only through IVF, I think that your first point is actually your most helpful point for infertiles. In fact, just knowing that you should be expecting a pregnancy announcement sometime in the near future (from a good friend, family member, etc) makes receiving their announcement a whole lot less painful when the time comes.

  16. This was a helpful article for me to read as I have been dealing with infertility for awhile and therefore, also dealing with one pregnancy announcement after the other. #7 was extremely significant to me because I have tended to place expectations on myself on how I should be reacting to other’s joyful news. This has caused so much emotional strain on me as I keep “stuffing” my feelings in an effort to appear joyous and excited in moments when I am feeling the exact opposite. I am learning to give myself grace as I go through the ups and downs of my emotions and to stop holding myself to an impossible standard.

    In this struggle, I have definitely experienced the joy of having compassionate sympathetic friends as well as friends who feel the need to “fix” the problem or who place expectations on how I should be dealing with my “issue”. I have definitely learned a lot about grace and forgiveness and how we never truly know what another person is going through. Therefore, expecting someone to react in a certain way can be hurtful and unrealistic. On the other hand, being there for a friend by listening and praying for them, through their struggles and joys, is a beautiful gift that can never be replaced.

  17. Loved this post! And I don’t think it’s ever asking too much to have them tell you they are trying. I asked one of my close friends to do that and one of them got offended by me asking her saying that her decision to get pregnant was between her and her husband and that I didn’t need to know. I felt like I had a right to protect my heart, but she didn’t see it that way.

    1. I am just wondering why you would expect her to do that? I am not criticizing, I am genuinely and honestly wondering. Her conception of children has absolutely NOTHING to do with you! Just because you are experiencing deep emotional pain, everyone else’s life, including your friend’s do not revolve around you.If protecting your heart involves other’s plan for conception and involving you in that, then you need to lean into the Lord. He is and will be the only one who can protect your heart. You also need to understand that if someone has not walked a mile in your shoes, they will never and I mean never understand the depth of your pain. I say that with a sincere heart for you. You can not expect your friends to understand. They just can’t!

  18. I myself have dealt with infertility. Not to the depth that you have. I went straight to IVF after three failed IUIs and got pregnant my first IVF. It was over 20 years ago and I can tell you not being able to conceive on my time table is still one of the most painful things of my life. I now have three beautiful children and fertility treatments have changed a lot over the last 24 years.
    However, I would NEVER expect anyone to make their pregnancy announcement about me or my pain, EVER!! Even my best friends announced their pregnancies to me. I can still remember each and everyone of them over the 3 years we were trying. But never, and I mean never did I make that about me??? Why would I? God has us all on a different journey and while I agree we need to love and be sensitive to one another, I totally disagree that we should ever make someones else’s joy about our pain.
    I have to chalk all this self focus up to a generational thing. It is my only explanation. I am a follower of Christ. We should weep with one another. If these are good friends of yours they should weep with you in your pain and you should rejoice in their joy, period!! Their joy should never be about your pain!

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