(Here are the previous posts in this series)
This is the post I’ve been terrified of writing since before I even began this series. Let me reiterate- my goal is not to condemn, offend, or bring guilt. My aim really is to help you better love those struggling through infertility, knowing that these emotions and reactions are the sins we fight every day.
The hardest experience for me over the past 2 1/2 years has been coping with other people’s pregnancies. While it is an intense joy for those people, it is a reminder of the bitterness of children being withheld. I would say without a doubt- secondary to finding out that we weren’t pregnant each time, this has been the hardest battle.
The longer it takes to get pregnant, the more people that you know will. This can be such a faith stretcher. Our emotions say things like “Seriously?!? They weren’t even trying!” or “It’s not fair someone got pregnant exactly when they wanted when we’ve been trying for years.”
This is heartwork we need to bring to the foot of the cross, process and pray through. Then we need to bring it to friends we can be real with, who don’t judge when we’re not excited and who give us permission to skip baby showers when we need to.
I wish I could tell you a hard and fast rule for how to tell your infertile friend you’re pregnant. But I don’t have one. Everyone is different and some people (including some who are going through infertility) would say to suck it up, get over ourselves and be happy. But I gotta be real- that’s just not reality for me. Sometimes it is appropriate to put on that smile… because it’s not that person’s fault that God has blessed them.
However, I’ve found the blow to be immensely softened by my closest circle of friends. I respond best when my friend can say “I have something to tell you… Did you hear so-and-so is pregnant?” With these friends- this safe place- I can react honestly initially, process through things, be reminded of truth and encouraged so I can work through my emotions, being able to congratulate the pregnant person. Allowing an initial reaction and processing through before seeing the person is key. Even a quick email can be an effective tool. Yes your friend may cry when they read it. But hopefully they can be reminded of the gospel and that God is so good and that we can praise Him for blessing you!
If you want to tell them in person it can be an effective tool! It is a little more difficult, but you can do it in a very sensitive way. Some tips:)
- Tell them before everyone else knows (not necessarily before other people know, just before they overhear it)
- Tell them in a one on one setting
- Tell them you love them and want them to know
- Be a little reserved with your announcement. They don’t need to know all the details right away.
- Be prepared to announce and then follow their lead. If they want to talk and ask questions, fabulous- engage! If they don’t say much, end the conversation. Usually they will thank you for telling them personally and congratulate you too. A shorter conversation leaves them time to process on their own as well.
I have been all over the map with announcements. I recently had a great example of one in person. This is a coworker (one of 10 or so that are pregnant now!) who knows about our infertility. She came up to me the other week and said she wanted to tell me something. It went a little something like this.
“Well I just wanted to let you know that I’m expecting! A lot of people around the office know and I didn’t want you to hear it from them, so I wanted to make sure I told you in person.”
My response – I literally teared up a little because it was SO obvious she had thought through this and did her darndest to love me in her announcement. And it was perfect! And I thanked her for thinking of me and congratulated her. (And if you’re reading this now – – thanks again for being so sensitive and aware in telling me!!)
So think about your friend in your pregnancy joy and try to love and serve her best in sharing your news!
– Photo Credit: Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post