Telling Your Infertile Friend or Relative That You're Pregnant

Sharing the News and Maintaining Your Friendship Through Pregnancy

Woman sitting in coffee shop with another woman, carefully sharing her pregnancy news
When you share your pregnancy news, do so one-one-one and with sensitivity.. Yuri_Arcurs / E+ / Getty Images

How can you tell a friend with infertility that you're pregnant? You likely already know how hard it can be for her to learn about other people's pregnancies. So, if you become pregnant, as excited as you are, you may also be dreading sharing the news with your infertile friend.

This can be even harder if you experienced infertility together, as you may have some survivor's guilt.

Here are some ways to make it easier on you both.

Tell Her—Don't Keep Your Pregnancy a Secret

Not telling your friend, but telling others, may seem protective and easier at first. However, it is very likely to backfire.

She may find out from someone else in a non-understanding setting. She may also feel hurt you kept the pregnancy a secret from her.

Be sure that you're the one to tell her about your new pregnancy and not someone down the grapevine.

Leave Out Any Details on How "Easy" or "Unexpected" Your Pregnancy Is

Hearing about a friend's pregnancy is difficult. Listening to a friend talk about how easy or quickly they conceived is worse.

If you weren't planning on the pregnancy, or it happened quickly, leave those details out. All it will do is remind her how not easy things have been for them.

This Isn't the Time to Share Your Trying to Conceive Advice

Unless your friend asks you, avoid sharing your trying to conceive advice, especially if you didn't struggle with infertility.

As you already know, your friend is already doing everything she can. She is already researching and learning how she can improve their fertility and what treatment options she may have.

Getting fertility advice from you right now could feel insulting. It's as if you're implying they aren't "trying hard enough."

Even if you have struggled with infertility yourself, resist the urge to give unsolicited advice.

Give Her Space and Time

Your friend will want to be happy for you, but it's normal for her first reaction to be heartache. This is about her feelings of loss.

Allow her space and permission to have these feelings, and remember her sadness is not about you.

This is the key to being a wonderful friend.

Giving her space may mean giving her the news via email. Or, it may mean telling her face to face, but in a relaxed setting.

For example, telling her at Thanksgiving Dinner is not a great idea. Telling her in the middle of the workday probably isn't a good idea either.

Sharing the news on a coffee date, perhaps after work or on a weekend, would be better.

Giving her "permission" for her feelings could mean simply stating, "I know this may be hard for you to hear, and I just want you to know I understand."

Those words can be a great source of comfort. She may feel guilty for the negative feelings she has, and this will reassure her that it's okay she's upset.

Of course, no one needs another person's permission to have their feelings. But knowing you understand will provide a tremendous amount of relief.

Invite Her to the Baby Shower But Give Her an Easy Out

Another mistake people often make is not inviting their infertile friend or relative to the baby shower.

It's true that baby showers are often difficult for the fertility challenged, but not being invited is also painful.

Instead, invite her, but be clear that she is not obligated to attend.

Stay in Touch

The fertility challenged can feel like their friends disappear one by one off into motherhood, leaving them behind.

The fact is that pregnancy and early motherhood are overwhelming and take a lot of time.

That said, maintaining friendship is also important. Even if you can't be in touch as often, don't stop calling altogether.

If you're worried about talking only about the pregnancy and the baby, try to remember all the things you spoke about before you got pregnant. Make yourself a list, if it helps, so that when you call, you're not scrambling for non-baby related topics to talk about.

Don't Assume She Doesn't Want to Hear About Your Pregnancy

Yes, hearing about morning sickness and first kicks can be difficult in some situations, but not all.

Your friend might complain about her coworker who talks endless about her morning sickness, but she may enjoy hearing all about yours.

Not sure how much she'd like to hear? Ask!

The uncomfortable barrier between pregnant and infertile friends isn't primarily caused by the pregnancy, but by all the unspoken fears and tension that grow in silence.

The pregnant friend worries about not hurting the infertile friend's feelings.

The infertile friend wonders why the pregnant friend doesn't want to speak to her anymore.

It doesn't have to be this way. Talk about your concerns, let your friend know you care and understand.

And, most importantly, don't drop out of your friend's life.

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