When Your Friends are Pregnant…and You’re Not
If you’re a woman in your mid-20s to late-30s, there’s a good chance that you know a few women who are having babies. That’s prime time, of course, for women to give birth so you’ll no doubt have friends in your peer group who get pregnant easily while you’re still struggling to conceive. Some of your girlfriends might even get pregnant twice while you’re still trying for that coveted first pregnancy.
It’ll be frustrating. It’ll be sad. It’ll be infuriating as you watch their tummy – and their anticipation and delight – grow. So how do you deal with that kind of pain and anger and remain pals with your pregnant friend?
Anticipate mean thoughtsIf you’ve already been there, done that, you know exactly what kind of thoughts are going to pop into your head when you hear about your friend who’s expecting…and they won’t be nice! You’ll hate her for a while and you might even wish that she miscarries. It sounds mean – and perhaps it is – but it’s a reality stemming from the frustration and isolation that come with infertility. You know you don’t really want your friend to suffer the pain of a miscarriage, but if her pregnancy vanished all of a sudden, it would certainly be easier on you.
Experts say you just need to accept that these thoughts are going to come into your head and that you’re not a bad person for thinking them. Jealousy, envy – whatever you want to call it – those are natural human reactions. Give yourself permission to feel that way and then move on.
Avoid baby showers and other celebratory get-togethersFor a woman who is battling infertility, baby showers are probably the most difficult events to attend. Everyone is sprinkling the mom-to-be with attention, you’ll hear pregnancy stories from multiple women, and looking at the baby clothes and other items can be simply unbearable. That’s why many individuals who counsel infertile couples suggest that they stay away from such events. It might seem mean and petty at first, but going to a baby shower can contribute greatly to the stress, depression, and anxiety already being experienced by the woman who just can’t seem to get pregnant.
If the shower is for someone who is familiar with your struggles, they will certainly understand, perhaps even without an explanation. If it’s not a close friend, simply say you’re not available to attend. But if it’s a family member or close girlfriend, offer instead to take her to dinner – just the two of you – to celebrate. You can provide a gift at that time, if you wish, and you can talk about other things besides being pregnant.
It’s in large groups that the trouble begins. When you’re with a group of women – many of whom have already been pregnant and have children – you’ll be subject to all the pregnancy and birth stories and will have a difficult time escaping that without looking rude or like a crybaby. When you simply plan a two-person outing with your friend, you can better control the conversation.
It WILL get easierHearing about a friend’s pregnancy for the first time – either directly from that friend or through another party – is probably the hardest part of the equation. Unless you need to be with that person all the time (i.e. they are a work colleague), you can likely physically distance yourself from that individual as much as possible through the rest of the pregnancy while also being a supportive friend. A short phone call or a sweet card are good ways to stay in touch.
When the baby comes, send a small gift or make a short visit. (Short visits are ideal as the new mom will be tired anyway!) If you can handle it, offer to take her out to a meal without the baby, so that she gets a little time away from home. She may just jump at the chance to get out by herself!
Remember, infertility isn’t easy. But if you’re doing everything in your power to get pregnant, then you’re doing what you need to do. Another woman’s easy road to pregnancy doesn’t make you any less of a woman. But don’t isolate yourself. Surround yourself with others who are having the same struggles via a support group (online or in person) and you’ll always have a shoulder to lean on and someone who truly understands. Go back