How to share pregnancy news with infertile friends
But so far, I have kept my second pregnancy a secret from outside of my family. I’m halfway through, but I still haven’t shared the news on social media. I don’t even mention it to my friends unless they point it at my stomach and ask.
It’s not that I don’t want to talk about my new baby, but I’m equally excited about my second. But in the two years since my daughter was born, a close friend of mine shared that she had a hard time finding out about my first pregnancy. She struggled with infertility, and knowing that I was more fertile was difficult for her.
I worry others feel the same way — after all, infertility affects nearly one in five heterosexual women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and estimates 26% of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage. (Meanwhile, singles and those in the LGBTQ community who want to be parents may experience “social infertility,” meaning they cannot conceive without medical help due to their condition. their relationship status.)
I don’t want my pregnancy to be an excuse for a loved one to feel frustrated while scrolling or needing to fake a smile while going out to lunch with me. So this time around, I put a pause on making any kind of baby announcements. But as my belly grew, it became harder to talk about my pregnancy. I wanted to find a way to share my exciting news—and talk about this important time in my life—while expressing my sensitivity to friends who are having trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant. period.
As it turned out, I learned a lot about the thoughtful and compassionate announcement of my pregnancy. Here’s what experts say to share baby news for those struggling with infertility.
How to share pregnancy news with friends and loved ones still trying to get pregnant, according to experts
1. Consider sharing your news privately
Many people choose family gatherings and parties to announce their pregnancy. But Aparna Iyer, MD, a reproductive psychologist in Frisco, Texas, explains that people who are struggling with fertility may prefer to find out the news ahead of time and in a more private setting. “Sharing your news first gives them a chance to think about it and express their feelings privately,” says Dr. Iyer. “It also allows them to feel how they really feel. That doesn’t mean they’re not happy with you, they just might need space to deal with their own feelings.”
Asima Ahmad, MD, MPH, reproductive endocrinologist, and co-founder and CMO of Carrot Fertility, agrees that informing loved ones in advance before making the announcement is a smart move. While a phone call can be a great way to share news privately, she says a simple text or email message can be even better. “With a message, you’re not putting them on the spot, you’re giving them time, because in most cases people want to hear about the news but don’t have to give a number,” says Dr. Ahmad. immediate response. .
The same applies to social media posts. While it’s perfectly acceptable for parents-to-be to share baby news online, says Elizabeth Grill, PsyD, clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology in the departments. yes, but those who are struggling with their own fertility may have trouble viewing another pregnancy article. Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Medicine, and Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr Grill says telling a loved one before posting “may allow your friend to protect himself by choosing not to check your social media page”.
She added: “Being sensitive to your friends by communicating with them directly before posting can allow you to enjoy the pleasure of receiving your notifications.”
“As long as we are open, honest and understand that everyone is their own [fertility] journey, I think it makes for a safer, more efficient approach to being able to give notice.” —Aparna Ayer, MD
2. Don’t assume you know how your loved ones feel
When sharing pregnancy news with someone struggling with infertility, it’s natural to want to comfort them and even claim that you understand their pain. Still, Dr. Grill says expectant parents should resist the urge to determine someone else’s infertility — unless they’re really in a similar position.
“Avoid saying you know how your infertile friend is feeling unless you have had a miscarriage or struggled with infertility in the past,” says Dr. “And even then, be aware of the fact that [their] the journey is unique, and [they] It can feel different than when you were struggling to raise your family.”
Dr. Iyer also cautions against trying to be overly encouraging about someone else’s family. She points out that sayings like, “Don’t worry, I know you’ll get pregnant next,” can hurt people who aren’t feeling optimistic or who have been trying for a long time.
“What I’ve noticed is that everyone’s reproductive journey is complex, and just because your reproductive path looks a certain way doesn’t mean you can then make assumptions,” says Dr. Iyer. about what another person’s reproductive path will be.”
On the other hand, Dr. Ahmad says keep in mind that if you’ve been through fertility struggles, it’s okay to share some of that information with your loved one — as long as it’s not too hard for you to talk about. that problem. “I think in many cases people feel closed off or left out and left behind,” she said. “Talking about your fertility journey can also help them realize, ‘Hey, other people are going through this too and I’m not alone in this process. There is some hope here.’”
Whatever the case, Dr. Ahmad says it’s important to be supportive and compassionate. “Acknowledge that you care about them, that you are here for them. Make sure you acknowledge their feelings,” she says.
3. Accept that some people may need time
Dr. Ahmad notes that people who struggle with fertility sometimes have mixed feelings when they learn that someone else is pregnant. She points out that some people may appear distant or want their own space after hearing the news.
“I can tell that, most of the time, they are really happy for you and they care about you. But it’s hard to hear the news when they themselves can’t get pregnant or can stay pregnant,” Dr. Ahmad said. “Again, they’re happy for you. They just might need time to process it.”
Grill suggests letting a friend or family member know you’re available when they’re ready. She suggests letting them know that you will wait for a signal from them before discussing the pregnancy further. She adds: “Always be open to the many reactions your friend may have and try not to take it personally.
4. Take care of yourself too
While it’s good to be considerate of others when announcing a pregnancy, Dr. Ahmad says pregnant people also need to be conscious of their own comfort levels.
“I think we as people want to make sure we are thinking of others, but we need to do the same for ourselves,” she explains. “Don’t put yourself in an uncomfortable position when you feel compelled to share news when you’re not ready. For many people, getting pregnant and staying pregnant can be an uphill battle, and you may not have reached that goal yet. Maybe you struggled before you got pregnant. Maybe you miscarried and you’re not ready to share the news or details of your pregnancy. You want to make sure you give yourself that space, too.
Meanwhile, Dr. Iyer noted the importance of communication and understanding from both sides. “As long as we are open, honest and understand that everyone is on their own journey, I think that makes for a safer, more effective approach to being able to communicate effectively. consider.”
For my own pregnancy announcement, I’m following the advice of experts and letting some friends know privately. I’m so happy and excited to talk about my new little love, and while I know all my friends might not be so excited at first, I think it’s okay.