I’ll be the first to admit that I do not have a clue how to support a girlfriend who is going through the ups and downs of infertility. I feel guilty because having children happened naturally for me and I was more concerned with NOT getting pregnant. I’m always worried that if I talk about my kids it will be seen as me rubbing it in their faces or being indifferent to their situation. Imagine the level of discomfort I felt when I became pregnant after my friend was raw with emotions about not becoming pregnant after a year of fertility treatment.
It all started when two girlfriend’s and I decided to meet monthly for a girls night out to de-stress and have a good time. One friend and I both had kids and the other was struggling with infertility issues. Every now and again I would mention the latest antics of my kids and immediately felt guilty. I would beat myself up for being inconsiderate. How could I complain about my kids when my friend was struggling to have a baby?
Then in a crazy twist of fate, both myself and the other mom became pregnant! Neither one of us planned on having a baby at the time. As soon as we got over squealing to each other about our exciting, yet terrifying news, we became concerned about how we were going to break the news to our friend. Both of us felt guilty because she was actively trying to have a baby and each month the result was the same. No baby. Of course when we went to dinner the next month and both refused wine, our friend knew something was up. We broke the news to her that we were pregnant and we could see the hurt on her face.
She joked about how bizarre it was that she was trying to have a baby and we got pregnant instead. I felt so awkward at dinner that night because I had no clue what to say. I didn’t feel like it was OK to be excited because I didn’t want to rub my pregnancy in her face. I also didn’t want to share my concerns about having a third baby because I’m sure she didn’t want to hear about that. What do you do in a situation like this?
I never talked to my friend about how she felt when we told her we were pregnant or if it bothered her when we discussed our kids at dinner. I never gave it much thought until another friend of mine called me to tell me she was pregnant. After she told me the good news, she mentioned that her best friend was having a hard time with her having a baby.
Apparently her friend had been trying to conceive for over two years. She had no success and was both stressed and depressed by her situation. My friend was her only support system and called her daily to check in on her. When my friend told her she was pregnant, her friend expressed that she could not be happy for her. Their relationship became strained, and although they are still really good friends, my friend tries not to bring up her pregnancy too much when she is talking to her.
I know that this is not the reaction that most people who struggle with infertility have, but I can’t help but wonder, what is the best way to navigate a friendship when you have a friend who is dealing with infertility and you become pregnant? How much do you share about your pregnancy and what do you keep to yourself?
On the one hand I feel like the right thing to do is to contain your feelings of joy about being with child. On the other hand, I would hate for my friend to feel left out of such an amazing time in my life. Please weigh in. I would love to hear your view on this matter.
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