It’s hard to understand the pain that comes with trying to get pregnant and it not working. Or trying to get pregnant, only to get the positive test and lose the baby before you got too far into it. Infertility sucks. Plain and simple and when you’re struggling with infertility, one of the most challenging aspects is dealing with other women’s pregnancy. It’s incredibly hard when a close friend or family member becomes pregnant, especially if it wasn’t hard for her to conceive, and then to have to worry about why life isn’t fair because you’re still waiting, fighting, and hurting.

The feelings are complicated because you’re happy for your friend, because pregnancy news is often really happy news, but you’re also hurting for you. Because for real, why isn’t it always so ‘easy’?

It sucks when you’re struggling and it’s hard to not fall down that “why not me” spiral that can suck you in when you’re angry and frustrated. And then you feel bad that their happy news makes you angry. It’s complicated, it’s painful and it can ruin relationships.

Infertility really took a toll on me. After 12 miscarriages, and 18+ months of trying to get pregnant with another child who I would be able to bring home, love on, and actually get to know, I was tired of it. I was done with the endless struggle and the last thing I wanted was to see another friend announce, go through the 9+ months and get to meet their baby … all while I was still in this hole that I couldn’t get out of.

{Also read: 3 Ways We Can Do Better for Our Friend Who Had a Miscarriage}

Pregnancy announcements from others and infertility don’t mix, to put it lightly. It’s like oil and water, but with more complications because all our lives we’re told to be a good friend, we have to put aside our own feelings, but that’s not easy — nor should it be required — when you’re in this dynamic.

When you’re struggling with infertility and not able to avoid pregnancy announcements, there are some ways you can both guard your heart from the pain and sorrow, and help to preserve relationships that are important to you. It starts with allowing yourself to feel what you need to feel — the good, bad, angry, ugly, complicated, and everywhere in between.

Let me remind you that you should not feel guilt over your legitimate feelings. You’re allowed to feel the complications, the pain, the ANGER, the frustration, and you should be kind to yourself and give you that space.

You can also set up boundaries with your pregnant friend, immediately, so you can give yourself that comfort and self-care that you need.

You might not want to listen to them talk about how easy it was to get pregnant or if they’re still making a decision on whether they’re going to keep the baby. Maybe you don’t want to listen to them complain about feeling sick or pregnancy aches and pains. Even if you just don’t have it in you emotionally right now, you’re allowed that space.

Or if you need to take a “break” from them for a while, that’s allowed, too. 

It is OK and healthy to put those boundaries up with your friend and they should respect it. You can choose when or if you want to be involved in their life while they’re pregnant and hopefully at the same time you’ll have a group of people around you who will support you, and love you through infertility.

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)