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

If you have a friend or relative with infertility, you 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 likely 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, but it is also 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.

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, and not because she's unhappy with your pregnancy.

Allowing her space and permission to have these feelings (and remembering it's not about you!) is the key to being a wonderful friend.

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

For example, telling her at Thanksgiving Dinner is not a great idea.

The week before, perhaps during a coffee date, 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."

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 you understand if she'd rather not attend or wants give a gift at a later time.

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 good amount of time. However, maintaining friendship is also important, and even if you can't be in touch as often, don't just 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 her!

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.

More on coping with friends and family when trying to get pregnant:

More about pregnancy after infertility:

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