If you’re looking for advice about options surrounding fertility, pregnancy or counselling, always consult your doctor.
Announcing your pregnancy is an exciting time, especially if you’ve been holding off telling people for a few months.
Maybe your baby was planned. Maybe it wasn’t. Either way, it’s happening and you’re over the moon. You’ve decided on your announcement and you’re ready to shout it from the rooftops. But what happens when you have a friend or family member struggling with infertility?
Here are some ideas on how to break the news to them without ruining your moment or breaking their hearts.
Avoid breaking the news in a large group
If you know that a friend or family member has been trying for a baby for a long time, announcing your pregnancy in the middle of Christmas dinner might not be the best idea. Taking the couple aside beforehand to break the news gently gives them time to process the information and be happy for you when you make the announcement in front of everyone.
You don’t want the experience of sharing your news with the family to be remembered by her running from the room with tears streaming down her face. Break the news gently and avoid blindsiding her with emotions all at the one time.
Acknowledge how she might be feeling
You have every right in the world to be happy about your pregnancy and deep down your friend is happy for you too. They might just take some time to show it.
Don’t be upset if they react in a way you didn’t expect, it’s a time of mixed emotions.
On one hand they are thrilled for you, but the journey of trying to have a baby when you have fertility issues is draining. It’s emotional, its trying and it’s all consuming. Hearing the news of a baby on the way is no doubt going to remind them of their desire, desperation and struggles.
When you tell them, don't gloss over their feelings. Acknowledge how difficult it must be for them hearing of the pregnancy and let them know that you're sensitive to their situation. If you want them involved in your pregnancy, let them know that too. Don't assume they want to be kept at a distance. Keep the lines of communication open and everyone's feelings are respected.
Avoid the cliches
Don't try to down play your friends situation by saying things like "It will happen for you soon" or "If you just relax I'm sure it will happen".
The reality is that it may not and more than anyone, your friend knows that.
Likely, she has seen every specialist under the sun, been on countless medications, had multiple tests and scans and scoured every internet forum ever written. She may have lost babies, she may have never conceived babies but she knows the situation more than anyone so comments such as these are unnecessary and don't achieve anything.
Write a letter
If you're worried you might say the wrong thing when breaking the news to your friend, consider putting it in a letter.
This gives you the clarity to say what you want and allows her the privacy of a natural, honest reaction. Both of you avoid hurting each others feelings with overwhelming reactions.
Listen: How do you come to terms with losing a baby? Olympian Libby Trickett shares how she made it through the sadness (post continues after audio...)
Save the gushing (at least at first)
Don't tell your friend about your pregnancy in one breath and then assume she wants to hear all about your cot choice, pram selection and how you can't wait to hold your baby. She does, just not yet. This is a sensitive situation that needs respect and dignity.
You've dropped some big news. News that perhaps wasn't expected, or news that has hit many emotional chords. Just give your friend some space to absorb the news before going into your planning. It's something they so desperately want to be a part of but for whatever reason, can't.
Allow her space if she needs it
Respect that your friend might need some space to process the information and don't take it personally if they fall off the radar for a bit. It's not you, it's them.
Something they want so badly is happening for someone else and while they are happy for you, it's mixed with jealousy, confusion and sadness. Explain to your friend that you want them around and make sure they know that you are there for them when they have had time to adjust to the news.
Remember you have a right to be happy
Pregnancy is a special time. Nothing should rob you of that. Just like your friend deserves sensitivity and understanding while she processes the news, you too deserve to enjoy your own journey. Of course be aware of issues which may upset other people and do all you can to minimise the trauma it may cause to other people but at the end of the day you shouldn't let someone else's situation rob you of your own special time.
If you have a friend who simply cannot get past the fact that you're having a baby while she is struggling, think about explaining to her that while you want her around it's clear that the situation is simply causing too much sadness and offer to give her space.
Have you ever been in this situation? How did you approach it?