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 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 about to announce.

And so, you may even decide to hide it from her…at least for a little while. Perhaps you might just avoid her all together and make a post on Facebook. Or leave her out of the big group announcement. And I get it. Because like I said, it’s awkward and tricky. I wish I knew the exact formula for how you should tell her, but I don’t. Because wouldn’t that make it easier? Wouldn’t it save you stress and her potential heartache? But like I said, even as a person who is struggling to conceive, I don’t know the 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 actually how much we can sense in our spirits the second implantation has likely occurred in your uterus. So not telling her, but telling others, may seem protective and easier at first, but most likely it will backfire. Because for her, the worst way to ever 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? Only made her feel betrayed. And the easy path you thought you were taking? Might just cause you to climb a treacherous uphill mountain in order 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 just 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 in order to process the news, process my feelings, and then gather myself together privately in order 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 out by saying something like this…

“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.” 

Trust me! These words are far better and easier to swallow.

5. If you plan to make the announcement in a group setting, please tell her prior to the event.

As much as your plan to announce that your family is “growing by two feet” sounds like an awesome idea at your upcoming family reunion, it’s probably going to place your infertile 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! Because telling the entire family together is a great idea. I just suggest that you simply give your friend/family member a private heads up before the big day. Maybe even give her two or three days prior to 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 on this topic, check out “When Pregnancy Announcements Hurt: The Surprise Group Announcement” here}

6. Tell her privately.

Please do not tell your friend in a crowded restaurant, the hallway at your church, or in the break room at your work place 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 who are 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 personal. 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.

If she doesn’t call you back or talk to you for a week, just check in with her via email or text. See how she is doing by letting her know that you are thinking of her and that 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 your grace the most.

I just 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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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. And.It.Is.Awkward.

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, leave 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. And 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 that come so fast and so hard? They are difficult to juggle. Especially in a group setting…with an audience. Because 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…

Is she happy? Will she cry? What will she say? Is she mad? I wonder if she is jealous?  Did you see her look away?

And 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 number of 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 our 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 the awkward moment when you won’t be able to win the Academy Award. You won’t be able to hold back the tears and give them the joyful congratulations you know they deserve.

And once again, it’s important to note one more time that it’s not because you are not excited for 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 in that moment. Or 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 in 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 in 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. We are all struggling in our own ways. We are all dealing with different wounds. Different scars. Different past experiences. We are all in different stages of grief. But I believe despite the differences and despite the struggles, we are all in need of the same grace.

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

Grace to give us the strength to overcome our unpredictable emotions.

Grace to see us through our painful and gut-wrenching circumstances.

And grace to help us never give up hope that maybe, just 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 just starting to scab over.  Or cause them embarrassment as they are unable to hold back the alligator tears that sometimes accompany the pain they are feeling.  And so in order 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 prior to the event. Perhaps tell her a day (maybe two) before the big reveal so that she has time to process the information. Process her grief. Process her emotions. Because she really does want to support you, and she really does want to be there with everyone else, but she just might need that extra time to pull herself together in order to do so.

And that’s not too hard is it?  It’s doable right?  Because telling her in advance still allows you to share your awesome news in front of your family and friends just like you have always dreamed of doing, but it 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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