A few months after losing George, I wrote about pregnancy announcements and how they had affected me. In general, I was able to be happy for people and whilst there was a twinge of pain, I was able to focus on their happiness rather than my loss. Now that more time has passed, I feel I need to update this for the sake of honesty. Inevitably, as time goes by, more announcements are made, and with each pregnancy announcement my understanding of what helps and how I feel has developed.
Some pregnancy announcements will hit you harder than others. Some will knock you off your feet and you will feel like a terrible person because you will focus on your own grief and jealousy.
It’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up. I think this response is totally natural. I’ve tried to keep this response private – I don’t want people to know I feel that way. I just want them to know that I am happy for them because I am happy for them. Pregnancy is a joyful and miraculous thing – I would never wish on anyone the struggles we have had. I want people to fall pregnant and stay pregnant. That is all I want them to know. It makes it easier – I don’t want pity or protection. I want to share in their joy.
If you are pregnant, and have a friend who has experienced infertility or loss, the way you tell them can have an impact on how the news effects them. Your news may effect them (although one friend told me she was pregnant recently and I danced around the kitchen). You can’t change that it may hurt them – but you can try to make it easier to hear.
And this brings me to how I think is the best way to tell someone who is going through loss that you are pregnant.
- Tell them privately before a public announcement so they aren’t caught off guard. A little warning softens the blow.
- Text them. I have been told in different ways and found this easiest (please don’t worry if this isn’t how you told me – the end result is the same – I am happy for you, just the processing time changed). Sometimes I wanted to ugly cry. Sometimes my reaction surprised me. Sometimes I just wanted to quietly ponder the news. Sometimes I felt no sadness and was just ecstatic. Because of this range of responses, I found it easier when I was alone. I could just process it as I experienced it and move on from my personal sadness to joy for them more quickly.
- Text when they won’t be at work. Again, make sure when you send the news over it is at a time they will likely not be in a public space. For some, the distraction may help, but if the ugly tears come, it is better to be at home.
- Don’t apologise. You have nothing to be sorry for. Do not feel bad about your pregnancy. I find it much easier when the other person shares their joy with me. It makes it easier for me to pull myself out of my own sadness.
- Give them space and time. I chose not to see one friend until she was in the second trimester. I just found it hard to be around someone experiencing morning sickness – it made me sad that I wasn’t. This friend just waited for me and I really appreciated that.
- Don’t hide it from them. Being left out is just as painful. You start to feel like an outcast. But maybe choose what you do share – happy moments, milestones.
I am sure there are other things that would help. Truth is, it may be hard for them to hear. Sometimes it’s best to rip the band-aid off. Just be straight, I would love to hear in the comments anything that made it easier for you to hear pregnancy announcements. I am no expert – this is just my personal experience. Of course, you know your friend best. I think the very fact that you are reading this (if you have searched for this article) goes to show that you care about your friend. That, at the end of the day, will matter more than anything.
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