How to Tell a Friend with Infertility that You're Pregnant
During my struggle with infertility I had three good friends that became even greater friends because of our bond around our inability to get pregnant. We shared everything together and I don’t think I would have gotten through that time very well without them. However, I was the first to get pregnant, and thought I must tell them first, tell them immediately, and tell them in person. So I hopped on my bike and rode to their house to tell them. As we sat in their driveway crying together on that warm May afternoon, I realized telling them in person was a pretty selfish thing to do. I was overjoyed to finally be pregnant, and I was not at all considering their feelings or allowing them time or space to react in the way they needed to react.
Since that experience, I have seen many women with infertility in my Asheville counseling practice, and heard their deep emotional responses to learning of a friend's pregnancy. Women with infertility are sick and tired of pregnancy posts on Facebook. So before your announcement goes up, you should tell your friend. As the pregnant person you may think you are being respectful of your friend by telling her in person. But please don’t do that. If you are particularly close with someone who has been experiencing infertility, give her space to react. That means sending her an email, a text message, a private facebook message, or a voicemail. Don’t be cryptic in your message, tell her exactly what is going on. Something like “I wanted to tell you that I just found out I am pregnant. I know it might be hard to hear this, and I want to give you space. I understand if you need some time. I love you so much.”
And then give her that time. Don’t expect her to respond immediately, and if you’re going to give her space, then be patient. People experiencing infertility have a range of emotional experiences around it, and need to be allowed to feel how they feel. Please do not expect her to throw you a baby shower, and if she offers, don’t let her. It may be something she feels obligated to do because you’re “best friends”, but it may be a lot harder than she thinks. She may not be able to be around you for a little while. That will hurt, but your experiences will be very different from this point forward, you will both need support that will be hard for you to give each other right now. When you do get together, find some non-pregnancy topics to discuss.
You and your friend will figure out what works best for your relationship right now. Be open, honest, and accepting of each other's needs. The biggest mistake I made was not allowing my friends the distance to process the news. I am happy to say that my three friends all have children now. We’ve all since moved away from each other, but I am eternally grateful for the supportive time we had together.