When you’re struggling with infertility, one of the most challenging aspects is dealing with other women’s pregnancies. It’s incredibly hard when a close friend or family member becomes pregnant, especially if it wasn’t hard for her to conceive. One woman asked the people of Reddit how to handle pregnancy news during her infertility struggle, and they gave her some great advice.
Reddit poster queenkoopaling and her husband have been trying to conceive for two years. After testing, she and her husband were given “less than desirable” news about their odds of having a baby on their own. Throughout their journey, several of her friends have announced their own pregnancies via social media. “Some have hurt more than others, but for the most part, I’ve been able to breathe, move on and keep focusing on our journey and being as positive as we could,” she wrote.
Before starting IVF in the fall, queenkoopaling and her husband planned a summer of fun and travel with their friends. And then, her best friend announced her surprise pregnancy.
Needless to say, she’s taking it hard.
“All was going fine (at least as fine as can be expected), until yesterday. My best friend, who was also supposed to go on this trip with us, announced that she is pregnant. They hadn’t even been trying. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t speak, move, eat– really do much of anything. I sobbed and sobbed. She had encouraged me to take this break so we could have this final “hurrah”, and then this happened. I know she didn’t mean to do it on purpose, but I guess it just comes down to me not understanding what it must be like to not have to worry about getting pregnant everyday and for it just to happen out of the blue.
Continuing, “The worst part is, she isn’t exactly overjoyed. I feel like she won the lottery and is like, ‘I have all this money! It sucks!’ I don’t know how to be supportive of her, be there for her, and be happy for her when my heart is in so much pain. The worst part is how terribly selfish I feel for not being able to be excited for her. I want to be a mother more than anything and it has been quite an uphill journey for us. I was hoping some of you may have some words of encouragement as to how to deal with a situation like this.” — queenkoopaling
Oh, my heart.
Luckily for queenkoopaling, Reddit users had her back.
This one reminded her to not have guilt over her legitimate feelings.
“I know what it’s like to be blindsided and caught off guard by an accidental pregnancy announcement. It’s like the air is sucked out of the room. I went through this exact situation last week, but it wasn’t my best friend. It sucks even more that she encouraged you to take a break, then proceeded to lap you. Overall, she sounds like she means a lot to you, so I don’t mean to speak poorly of her. It’s just the timing sucks,” writes eminente.
Continuing, replying to the original poster saying they feel selfish, “Going to stop you right there and encourage you to stop shaming yourself. Don’t add guilt on top of this. You are experiencing grief and her situation is reminding you of what you want so desperately, but don’t have. Your feelings are valid, real, and reasonable. Many of us experience this… you’re not a monster or anything. You are capable of feeling many emotions at once, including happiness for her, but grief and envy for you.”
“Honestly, I would be taking a step back from this friendship. A lot of my relationships are different… I feel like I’m playing a game of Minesweeper. Constantly dodging pregnant people so I don’t end up in a puddle holding a bottle of wine when I make it home. But that’s just the shitty reality of this journey. I don’t think you can will yourself into feeling 100% happy and separating your own feelings.”
Several suggested setting up boundaries immediately.
“I think you need to create a safe word.”
Despite all of the helpful advice, the people who responded on the thread offered their sympathy and support. When a person is going through something as emotional and physically difficult as infertility, hearing similar experiences from others is invaluable.
The good news? Queenkoopaling’s friend was understanding.
Hurray, Internet! A friendship was saved!
Do you have any advice for a friend who is battling infertility and they’re facing some pregnancy news that aches, even though they’re happy? Let us know in the comments
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(Image: iStock / KatarzynaBialasiewicz)