I had a long overdue conversation on the phone with a dear friend last night.
It was the second time she attempted to call me within a couple of days, so I had a pretty good feeling that she had some news to share. After about twenty or so minutes of catching up, she told me she’s pregnant. My voice instantly raised to an embarrassingly high pitch, and I told her I was so happy and excited for her and her husband!
The very next thing she said was how nervous she was to tell me. She read my post about trying to conceive, and didn’t know how I would react. I appreciated her concern, and it meant a lot that she cared so much to consider my feelings. She had this amazing news to share, yet her focus was on how I felt about it. She’s a friend I will truly cherish for the rest of my days.
After we hung up, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I told her, and even what I wanted to tell her, but didn’t. As someone dealing with infertility struggles, I thought it would be helpful to write them out and share them with you, too.
Here is what I want to tell my pregnant and new mommy friends (with love)…
Don’t keep your pregnancy a secret.
While it could feel super awkward, I want to hear the good news from you.
There may not be an easy way to tell someone with infertility issues that you are pregnant, but they are much better off hearing about your pregnancy from you than from another friend or even (gasp) via social media. Don’t be that person. Even if you feel like you are protecting their feelings, not telling them would hurt worse. If you have a true friendship, it will last long after pregnancies (hopefully for the both of you).
If I want to hear the details of your pregnancy, I’ll ask.
It’s probably best for me to take the lead here. It may sound harsh to someone who has never gone through infertility issues, but it’s nothing personal.
Growing a baby and preparing for their arrival is your world right now, and I totally understand that you want to talk about it, however, I might not the best audience to vent to. More than likely, I will be interested in hearing about your morning sickness, doctors appointments, and things you didn’t expect throughout your pregnancy, and if so, I’ll ask.
If you don’t hear from me for a while, I might just be going through a rough patch.
You’re my friend. We have obviously built a relationship where we can be open and honest with each other, but if you don’t hear from me for a couple of weeks or so, you should probably know it’s me not you.
Facebook makes it impossible to avoid pregnancy announcements, updates, and even complaints, so if I can steer clear of hearing about it directly from you, I might. This doesn’t mean that I don’t love you or want to hear about what you are going through. The time will come when I will have a million questions, but it just might not be right now. I hope you understand this and can be there for me when I come around.
You never know who is dealing with infertility issues around you. Please be mindful with what you choose to share.
This might come off as being too sensitive, but infertility is something a lot of people struggle with and not many people choose to talk about. More than likely, there is someone you see on a daily basis that is struggling just like me. If someone you have gotten to know considerably well isn’t super excited about your pregnancy, this could be the reason. Before you rant and rave about how big you are getting and how you just wish it could all be over with, please remember that she would probably give her right arm to have your morning sickness.
You may just think I am putting on a smile, but I am truly happy for you.
While pregnancy envy is certainly real, that doesn’t mean I don’t want you to experience the miracle of pregnancy and starting a family. I want to grow and nurture my own baby, so why wouldn’t I wish the same for you? The news may be a hard pill to swallow at first, but ultimately, I am jumping for joy and wish you nothing but the best! If you are concerned with hurting my feelings while sharing stories, approach them in a way that I know you care.
An “I know this is hard for you, but can I tell you a funny story?” goes a long way.
And these are geared more towards the new mommies…
It’s okay to talk about your days.
First and foremost, I’m your friend. And, if I’m trying to get pregnant, I also want to be a mom. Life with a new baby flips your world upside down, so I’m going to be curious about what that looks like for you. If you’re short on time, I would love to see a picture with a message attached. What I might not like, however, is ten photos or videos a day. I’m happy for you, but please don’t remind me what I don’t have all day, every day.
Please don’t tell me I’m lucky to live my life without kid responsibilities right now.
Yes, I have the freedom to do what I’d like and travel the world if my bank account could support it, but that doesn’t mean I want to live that way forever.
I have heard “If you want kids, just borrow mine for a few hours. You’ll probably stop trying…” countless times, and it’s anything but true. I might not want your kids, but I do want my own. And, I will do my best to raise polite and disciplined kids that anyone would enjoy babysitting.
I like to log onto Facebook, not Babybook.
I understand that your baby is your life. I really do. But, under the multiple pictures a day of bows, smiles, and clever onezies, there is an awesome woman raising those children. What are you doing these days?
I love seeing pictures of your family and especially of tiny humans grow, but I don’t really need a minute-by-minute update on what they’re doing. Post a few cute pictures (there’s no need to include every single one where the baby is smiling slightly different) and go about your day. I’m much more likely to click over and enjoy your photos and stories that way!
I want you to tell me about your struggles.
Nobody’s life is always sunshine and rainbows, and this certainly includes new moms. Are you exhausted? Are you depressed? Are you so sick of changing diapers and breast feeding that it makes you want to cry? From what I’ve heard, you’re not alone.
The abundance of happy baby photos and stories I see online makes is hard to imagine struggles. Obviously all of these babies aren’t perfect, so I’d like to like hear more about what has been hard for you. Who knows… maybe that will help soften the blow that I’m not there yet. There is, however, a difference in complaining and sharing. Please remember that everything (yes, even the un-glamorous parts) you are going through is something that others would trade places to experience at the drop of a hat.
I also want to hear the “nobody told me” stories about birth or life with a newborn.
This might just be me, but I want to be anything but out of the loop on everything you didn’t expect to happen. I’d much rather go into the battle knowing what I’m up against. If nothing else, I’ll understand more of what you went through to get where you are today, and I’ll probably think you’re Superwoman!
Infertility is something so many people struggle with. I hope this post has given you some insight and perspective from someone in my shoes, or maybe even from the shoes of someone you know and love.
To anyone struggling with fertility issues, you are anything but alone. Thank you for reading this post and also for your continuous support on this blog! <3
Hi Heather! I was referred over to your blog by my sister, Lauren Zielinski – I think you guys were in bible study together?! 🙂 Anyway, I read your blog from time to time, and I really appreciate your posts on infertility. While I do have a 3 year old son, conceiving another child has been a big challenge for us, a struggle we’ve faced for the last year. Your posts are a reminder that I am not alone in this, that it is okay that it’s taking time, and that it’s not the end of the world that my son doesn’t have a sibling yet (even if everyone else seems to be having more kids). Thanks for taking on this sensitive topic…best wishes on expanding your family!!! xoxo
I’ve had many friends be nervous to tell me they were expecting because they didn’t know how I’d take it. That’s silly – they are my friends so of course I’m happy for them but I can appreciate them wanting to look out for my feelings too. It took us 6 years to have our first child and it’s now taken over 2.5 years to get pregnant again (one miscarriage last year) and I just found out last week we are expecting again. Even now that I’ve crossed the line to ‘the other side’ and fully agree with everything you stated.
My dear, dear Heather. Thank you this. I think this is a beautiful post that shares both the highs (your best friend is preggars!) and lows (you still aren’t) of the infertility struggle. You are not alone–I may not be there quite yet, but you know that I am still right there with you and I feel similar fears and pain.
SuzLyfe recently posted…Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED Q & A with Master Trainer Sean Levesque
Thank you, Heather! I really appreciate your honesty about this… please keep us updated and keep being real. You are helping a lot of women out there.
Carrie recently posted…How Changing Your Macros Will Affect Your Body
Heather – thank you for writing this post I think it’s important for people to read. I dealt with secondary infertility after my son (a miracle that I got pregnant), and a miscarriage (my only natural pregnancy). Months of tests and poking and prodding, was unbearable. It was hard for me to see pregnancy announcements and birth announcements and people posting that they were pregnant at 6 weeks as if nothing bad could happen, but I get it. Some people are very lucky and they don’t have to deal with this stuff and I was envious of that!
Now that I’m on the other side with a second child, I feel like a wall has been put up by those who still struggle and it’s caused huge issues with one of my dearest friends. I hope she can one day have the attitude that you do.
I’ve been thinking of you and saying prayers and I hope your family expands soon <3
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Alexandra @ My Urban Family
I love this post. I’m in a slightly different situation than you, but your point about people saying “just borrow mine and you’ll change your mind” really struck home. I’ve had moms tell me “it’s really not all that great – enjoy your time while you can” and while I know they’re probably just trying to make me feel better, it generally makes me feel worse. I also have a few friends that ask me if I’m pregnant yet just about every time they talk to me. I snapped one day not too long ago at the worst offender and tried explaining how insensitive the question is and how I hope he isn’t asking others too because you never really know what is going on with someone.
Alexandra @ My Urban Family recently posted…Making Money from 90’s Toys
I always appreciate your honesty and these posts – I have two little girls but one of my closest friends is struggling through the horrible infertility process and my heart breaks for her as if it were me. I have often struggled on how to approach certain situations and experiences. You are always in my thoughts and prayers x
Thank you for sharing your feelings. I was in the opposite position. I was the first of my friends to get pregnant and received a lot of jealousy and resentment. These best friends needed space and missed out on the baby years with my children. It’s like I became invisible. When they had their babies, they wanted to share every single detail and expected things to go back to the way they were. While I was happy for them, too much time and space passed and things were never the same. Going back in time, I wish there had been better communication and understanding on both ends.
suzanne @ Life is a Mix
I experienced the same thing. While my heart breaks for anyone experiencing infertility it can be hard when they don’t want to share in the joy of your pregnancy. When it finally does happen for them it is all consuming and of course then want to talk of nothing else, understandably so. I would always be sensitive to the feelings of my friends but didn’t always receive that in return. It really is a hard situation.
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Kim @ livingnbliss
Great post. It’s been two years since our miscarriage and we are about to start IVF next month. It’s been a long, challenging, and emotionally draining road to say the least. Being a military spouse only intensifies everything as couples marry and have children so young- ill be 30 and most of the people we know our age have 2 or 3. My blog is small, but I want to do whatever I can to help the infertility community know that they are not alone. So many women suffer silently, and it’s understandable but very unfortunate. Happy to hear your open about it. I’m not sure if you guys will go the medicated route, but acupuncture is always something to consider. I start going again next week! Take care 🙂
Kim @ livingnbliss recently posted…Why I can’t Keep My Mouth Shut
It is so important to remember that often times after having a baby people forget about the mama. It always bothered me when people were going crazy over the baby and forgot I even existed. I lived of course but maybe someone will read this and use the tip. Thanks for sharing
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Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me
Though I am nowhere near ready for children of my own, I worry about this phase of my life. Given my past of an eating disorder, I fear that I will not be fertile, and it freaks me out more than ever. I empathize with you so much, Heather, and I appreciate your authenticity in sharing these thoughts with us.
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: September 24th, 2015
Let me tell you as a woman who spent 4 years trying to become a mom and am now blessed with 2 amazing children aged 9 and 12 some word that I promise you are true.. This experience, when you come out the other side will make you a better parent. When I finally had my son I was so grateful, so respectful of the process it took to have him and still to this day as we approach his teen years and other parents complain about those teenaged behaviors I can tell you with complete honesty I don’t even care. I just love that he is here. And the best part is he knows that and never questions it. It has made him confident and empathetic. So while I hated IF while I went through it, now on the other side I am better for it, my marriage is better for because now we know we can conquer anything and my kids are better for it. Hang in there… I enjoy your blog by the way. It’s funny because we switched places as you were moving to Detroit from Orlando we were moving to Orlando from Detroit. I can’t wait to visit for the holidays. Chinese food and pizza are so much better in the Motor City! Chin up, I did not handle this with as much grace as you. Lovely post!
I 100% appreciate this post and your openness about infertility. We just had some basic testing done after 10 months of TTC and fortunately everything looked normal. Which is great, but still makes you wonder if there’s something wrong that more testing will find or if it’s just going to take us a little while before it happens. We have two more months to try before going for more thorough testing. Fingers crossed and good thoughts to you!
Thank you for this post 🙂 understandable that on top of what you are going through it would be really hard to write and put out there for the world to see ! My older sister is going through something similar and its been really awkward for me as we are so close but I’m not sure which questions I can ask and how I can help. I’m not having in the married/babies myself stage but a lot of her friends are which might be why she spends a lot of time with me (5 years younger). Best wishes for you and your journey, and congratulations on everything you have achieved as a person xx
suzanne @ Life is a Mix
One of my best friends struggled with infertility for years. I was with her through three unsuccessful IVF treatments, 3 miscarriages and finally an adoption. The first time she was pregnant, I found out I was as well just a few days later. When she miscarried, my heart broke for her. I was so unsure of how to act, what to say, ect but not for long because she was always kind enough to ask just enough and I was sensitive enough to tell her without going overboard. It hasn’t been like that with some of my other friends and that is hard. I think true friendships will survive pregnancies, miscarriage and infertility, especially with good communication. Kindness goes such a long way, from all sides of it and it sounds like you have and are a great friend.
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Really good post! Even though I can’t directly relate with your experiences (my husband and I do not want kids), I admire how gracefully and honestly you have expressed your feelings. And a lot of it resonated with me.
While lots of our friends have/are having kids, I think some of them assume I am uninterested in hearing about motherhood/their kids. Not true!
With my good friends, I want to know about the significant things happening in their life and yes, that includes pregnancy and parenting, maybe not to the same degree as fellow parents, but yes, it is still of interest to me.
However, I do find the oversharing about pregnancy/parenthood on social media to be a little insensitive, especially given the infertility woes that many experience.
Thank you for your honesty, heather! I found myself relating to a lot of this post — but switching the topic to marriage. I think the universal tension of how to support a friend go through a big life change you want while taking care of your own emotional needs is a tough topic to cover and you tackled it beautifully.
Catherine @ foodiecology
My heart breaks for you and others who struggle with wanting something so badly but not having it happen.
I’ve never personally struggled with infertility, but I sympathize greatly. My own journey into motherhood has made me much more sensitive to others who only want to experience the same but can’t for whatever reason. Thank you for being so open and honest with your readers. Sometimes we need to be reassured that it’s OK to hurt AND be happy. And that, while you need to be mindful of others’ feelings, you don’t have to hide your own happiness or walk on eggshells. The best thing we can do is listen, speak kindly, and respect boundaries. I’m so sorry your’e going through this, but I wish you all the best.
long long long time reader, first time commenter. I am struggling with infertility as well, mine due to my body not recovering from an eating disorder and addiction to exercise. I absolutely loved this post and thank you for writing it, it’s so true, every one! Infertility is rough, you’re not alone. I am loving the posts about how you’re dealing, steps you’re taking, they’re extremely helpful, all my love <3
Don’t give up. I recovered from a crazy exercise addiction and now have a 15 month old!!
Thanks for this post! I have been trying to conceive another child since Christmas and relate to your post so much. My son is now 4 and we always get questions about having another and him being the only child- it is hard. I’m very lucky we could have him and it happened quickly. Hopefully, we will be blessed again. Best wishes for you! Thanks again for your honest posts:)
I love your honesty here. My hubby and I are expecting our first little on in March and it’s been an interesting journey of learning to share that news with grace for our friends who are struggling or have recently miscarried (it’s so heartbreaking how much of that we’ve seen too). This is so helpful and practical and I love how you emphasize that you DO want to hear about and share the experience…you just don’t want it to be all you see on social media and during conversations. I hope lots of people read this and learn from your honesty! 🙂
A lot of what you said resonated with me… but in a different way. I do not struggle with infertility but with singleness. I struggle with marriage envy and pregnancy envy, too. There’s a part of me that feels like my “baby-making years” are wiling away, and I may not get the opportunity to have children. It’s in God’s hands, but I just wanted you to know that your honest posts are helping me, too, in a different season of life. So thank you.
I could not have said that any better. I am in the same boat, 35 and single and have always wanted kids since the day I can remember. I’ve been asked numerous times if I will adopt but I don’t want to rais a child alone eventhough I know I would have a lot of support! It’s true, it’s in God’s hands!
Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections
This is such a wise post, Heather. This gives a lot of good information in a very nice way to those people who don’t have very much tact 😉
I haven’t dealt with infertility myself, but now that I have a baby, it’s on my radar because you have no idea who is walking around with that as an issue. The “babybook” thing is hard. I said I wouldn’t be “that mom.” I think we all say that we wouldn’t be “that” person. But then it happened. I remember before I was at all interested in kids, anyone with a baby I unfollowed. But now my whole FB is my friend’s kids basically. I think it’s a little weird, actually. The whole kids on social media thing is just such a new thing and makes me nervous.
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I’ve been following a few years, and I think this is the best post you’ve written. Very poignant. Also, I honestly laughed out loud at work when I read ” I have heard “If you want kids, just borrow mine for a few hours. You’ll probably stop trying…” countless times, and it’s anything but true. I might not want your kids, but I do want my own.” Sums it up perfectly! Drives me nuts when people tell me that 🙂
Just two words: Thank you!
I’ve been through this (and after 6 years still am waiting for a wonder) and I have to commit that I have lost some good friends on this journey because we both didn’t know how to handle this…
I wish you all the best and that you enjoy your life while waiting. For me that was the hardest thing to learn.
I give you a hug and send a blessing from Germany.