Finding out you are pregnant is right at the top of most peoples list of greatest moments in life. And it’s these momentous times we can’t wait to share with friends and family, but what if you have to tell someone who is having difficulty becoming pregnant or who is unable to have children. Problems with infertility within women of childbearing age are more common than you might expect.
The emotions and life shattering effects that coincide with difficulties in infertility are different for everyone, but the everyday struggle can be some of the hardest and most painful times of life. As you may know if you are close to someone going through the woes of infertility, they require a great deal of support from loved ones.
Becoming pregnant while they strive on trying to conceive could add to their feeling of incompleteness. It’s with this in mind that the all-important announcement from you needs careful consideration.
They may smile and say they are happy for you but deep inside they just want to burst into tears. Considering the timing and way in which you tell your news shouldn’t go without thought. An important thing to remember if you are confronted with difficult emotions from a friend or family member; they are not aimed at you. They are not feelings of resentment for you and your pregnancy, but feelings of hurt and upset for themselves.
How to tell infertile friends or family you are pregnant
You may wish to consider telling them via an email or a phone call. While this may sound a little impersonal, telling them face-to-face won’t offer them the opportunity to have whatever feelings they have to themselves initially, its possible they may wish to shed a tear. At first it may be a bit of a shock for them as their lives will have been revolving around trying to become pregnant for some while, and a little bit of initial jealously is understandable. Once they have had time to absorb the news, they will be truly happy for you.
An email offers them the chance to digest the news and they don’t have to worry about facing you in case it is hard for them to hear, it then gives them the opportunity to come to you when they feel ready. You certainly don’t want to force them into a false initial reaction.
If you are still worried about it coming across as impersonal you could make a point of this in your email by saying you didn’t want to come across as impersonal, but had their feelings in mind and wanted to allow them some space to take in the news.
What you say in the email should come from the heart. Keep it short, simple but keep it personal. Make it clear you are sensitive to their feelings. You may wish to avoid saying things that highlight their infertility though. Just let them know you wanted to pass on the news before making it public knowledge and you are there when they are ready to talk.
When to tell them
It’s probably best for them to be one of the first people you tell, and let them know this, so they can understand your consideration of the situation. Certainly don’t put off telling them through worry and for goodness sake don’t leave them to last because of your concern. Them finding out through other friends or family members may make things a whole lot worse for them.
Here are some do’s and don’ts when sharing your pregnancy news
- Keep whatever method you choose short and sweet; don’t prolong the situation just in case it is difficult for them to hear.
- Allow them the time to respond when they are ready to, don’t rush them. You may also want to let them know they have no pressure to respond.
- If possible tell them when they have a partner around so they have the support of someone who understands the situation.
- Make sure you make it clear that you care and are there for them
- Consider telling them before others
- Remember every person is different. It may hit some people harder than others; you may need to allow them time.
- If you feel comfortable or have a close relationship, consider asking them how they would like you to behave around them during your pregnancy. Whether that be fully open allowing them to experience the pregnancy with you or a little subtle until they have had time to come to terms.
- Please remember whatever their reaction, by no means is it them being a bad friend. Their infertility can be a difficult time for them, it’s likely on their mind constantly.
- Gage their reaction; it might not be the first time they have had to deal with similar news.
- Put off telling them through worry of how they will accept the news.
- Delay in telling them in the hope they will become pregnant.
- Make the assumption they won’t be delighted for you.
- Feel guilty and beat yourself up because you were able to conceive and your friend is finding it a little harder. Everyone is different.
- Stress too much, while it is a difficult position you find yourself in, you also need to remember the best for your own baby. Stress is not good for either of you.
- Hide it from them, make sure it comes from you and let them know you wanted them to know as they are going through a difficult time.
- Use any motivational phases like ‘it’ll be your turn soon’.
- Keep your Facebook and social media posts about pregnancy to a minimum after telling them until you feel it has had a chance to settle.
- Once you have told them and they feel comfortable with the situation, don’t exclude them. That could be worse.
- Don’t do the faux pas of offering conception tips or telling them to relax.
Things you should probably avoid saying to friends or family that are having difficulty conceiving. ‘We were so lucky, we got pregnant the first time we tried’ or ‘we weren’t even trying to get pregnant’. It goes without saying a little common sense is advised when talking about your pregnancy. Don’t sugar-coat things, as this isn’t what your friendship is likely built on, at the same time a little omission of all the details could help ease them into the news.
As everybody may deal with the news in his or her own way, you can’t always assume the news will be taken with difficulty. You have to allow the person to handle it how they do. The important thing is to allow them the opportunity to do so, however it is received.
You might want to separate the timing of your news with giving any friendly support about their situation. As a friend or family member you need to be there for them to support them through their difficult time. Be that continuing with attempts to conceive, accepting they may not be able to have children of their own or deciding to adopt or become foster parents. It’s probably best to leave this support to another day from the one in which you tell them of your news.
A final consideration is for friends and family of a similar age to your own and in a settled relationship who don’t currently have children. They may be trying to conceive without you knowing or likewise having difficulties without telling. Depending on how well you know the person, you may wish to consider also spreading the news to them via email to avoid any possible uncomfortable situations for them.