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10 Tips For Sharing your Pregnancy with Those Struggling to Conceive

by Katlyn Joy | September 1, 2011 9:00 AM
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You've gotten the positive test result and are ready to burst with excitement. You can't wait to share your amazing news. However, someone close to you has experienced a pregnancy loss or has been having difficulty conceiving. Is it the hormones or the emotions twisting your insides up thinking about it? How do you show sensitivity to those struggling to have a baby when you are now pregnant?

1. Don't avoid your friend or family member experiencing trouble conceiving. Tiptoeing around her or them will make them feel like they are outcasts more than that you are being sensitive. While they may be hurting, that doesn't mean you must treat them like they are invisible.

2. Tell them soon and tell them alone. Share your news before it's old news among people in your circle. However, don't include them in a big group announcement. Rather, take the time to tell them one on one before the cat is out of the bag. This gives them space and respect and shows real sensitivity.

3. Don't expect any certain reaction. Some people may handle it coolly while others may seem miffed and still others may cry. Or possibly your loved one may demonstrate all the above. Just understand any negative emotion is not directed at you or your baby but rather is just some pain and frustration seeping through.

4. Let your friends take the lead. Don't call every week with pregnancy updates. Tough ones are the first time you hear a heartbeat, get a sonogram or find out the sex. In fact, don't share that info unless specifically asked. Your friend knows those big days are coming up and if she wants to know about it, she'll let you know by asking you.

5. Never complain about your pregnancy. Sure your waistline is history, your feet are swollen and your belly is a virtual roadmap but your friend will want to strangle you and rightfully so If you have the audacity to complain about your precious gift of life. Some pregnant women think it diminishes the bad feelings if they show it's not all great. Those struggling with infertility or loss know well that pregnancy is not easy but they would give anything to have your problems so keep them to yourself.

6. Don't leave them out of baby showers or other baby-themed events. That's not the right message to send. Rather, like you handled sharing the news initially, talk to any friends with conception issues individually prior to the invitations going out and let them know that on the day of the shower they may or may not feel up to going. Let them know it's OK with you whatever they feel comfortable doing.

7. Don't become a one-topic friend. Yes, you are excited about expecting, as you should be, but you are still the same friend you were before your pregnancy and eventually you'll be the same woman except you'll be a mother as well. Let your friendships with those who struggle to conceive stand strong by continuing to connect in your old ways.

8. Allow your friend whatever space is needed. Don't take it personally if your friend becomes somewhat stand-offish for a bit or is reluctant to hold the baby when he arrives, or seems agitated or emotional out of the blue. Don't assume because you got a big smile and hug when you shared your news that it isn't painful for your friend at times. Emotions are bound to waver between joy for you and anger at her own loss.

9. Recognize that if you and your friend were both having difficulties getting pregnant, your friendship will be challenged. Sometimes people become friends through the process of trying to conceive through support groups or other such camaraderie. When one becomes pregnant and the other doesn't a certain strain will occur. Give that relationship time and space. And recognize despite your best efforts, it may not survive. Hopefully it will but there is a chance that the pain and the changed nature of your connection will be too much to handle.

10. Try to put yourself in her shoes whenever you are unsure what to do. Be honest with yourself and try to empathize with your friend. If you are at a total loss, be kind, be sensitive and give your friend time to come to terms with your pregnancy. Pressing the issue won't be helpful. If you have a close relationship, your loved one will be there for you when she is capable of being close. Until then, love her through the silences.

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