How to Cope with a Friend's Pregnancy Announcement

When Your Friend's Happy News Triggers Sadness in You

Women sitting on a bench talking, perhaps one is telling the other about being pregnant
It's not easy to cope with a friend or relative's pregnancy annoucement.. Rosemarie Gearhart / Getty Images

A friend’s pregnancy announcement when you’re struggling to conceive can be emotionally painful and socially awkward. You may feel a mixture of emotions, from jealousy to happiness, to deep sadness and even anger.

Whether that friend is your best friend, a co-worker, or a family member, hearing pregnancy news when you can’t conceive is difficult. So difficult.

If your friend knows you’re dealing with infertility, you may get lucky and have them tell you in a sensitive way.

But even carefully delivered news can hurt.

If your friend or family member doesn’t know you’re infertile, then the situation can be even more uncomfortable.

They expect a happy and excited response, but you might not have it in you to offer a convincing performance.

I’ve been on both sides of this situation, and neither is a good place to be.

Here’s how to cope when it happens to you.

If the Tears Start Flowing, Feel Free to Fake a Reason to Sneak Away

You might get the news personally or you might hear it at a family event. One-on-one makes it trickier to hide your immediate reaction, while being in a group can make you feel more alone.

You might handle it well in public and fall apart later. But if you feel the tears coming, don’t be afraid to make an excuse to sneak away.

You can fake a text message. (“Oh, I’ve got to call this person back right now.”)

You can “suddenly remember” you forgot something in the kitchen or at home or whatever.

You can also just excuse yourself to the bathroom quickly.

Over the phone is easier than in person but not easy. You can use similar tricks to get away on the phone.

“Oh, someone is at the door. I need to go, talk to you later!”

“Someone’s calling me on the other line, I’ve gotta take this.”

If your friend knows your infertile situation, you might be able to honestly share your need to walk away.

  Only you can decide that.

If you do decide to share, it may help to assure them that their pregnancy isn't causing the pain, it's your situation. The pregnancy announcement just reminds you of what you so desperately want.

Bottom line: it is okay to walk away, get your tears out, compose yourself, and then come back to the group or to your friend later.

Forgive Yourself for Your Less-Than-Positive Thoughts

Your immediate reaction to hearing a friend’s pregnancy news may not be positive.

You may feel angry or sad. You might feel envious.

You may feel happy and feel upset.

You might find your thoughts turning to the ever popular life-is-not-fair variety.

“Why her and not me?”

“I try for months and can’t conceive, she has one birth control accident and gets pregnant instantly.”

“She already has kids. I have none. When is it my turn?”

You may feel guilty or even ashamed for having these thoughts. Shouldn’t you be happy for your friend?

Your thoughts and feelings are normal.

Try to forgive yourself.  

You are dealing with heavy emotions. Having not-so positive thoughts doesn’t make you a bad person or bad friend. It makes you human.

Forgive Your Friend for Not Understanding

Hopefully your friend or family member will understand that this is painful for you. Hopefully she knows this isn’t about her, it’s about your situation.

But let’s get real here—a lot of people don’t understand.

Try to forgive them for not getting it.

As you know, until you’ve experienced infertility, you don't know what it's like. You may have made similar social slips in the past. Maybe not with infertility, but in other situations.

Your friend doesn’t want to hurt you by her pregnancy. Imagine how they feel, knowing this good news will be painful for someone.

Also, remember that your friend can’t be sensitive to your needs if you’re still keeping it a secret.

There are advantages and disadvantages of telling people you’re infertile, and some people will react poorly even when they know your story.

But if they don’t know, you can’t expect them to act in a sensitive manner. This might be a good time to come out about your infertility.

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