Inside: You just found out you’re pregnant…but your friend is infertile or has recently miscarried. How can you possibly tell her? You need this advice in order to navigate the delicate process of making a respectful and sensitive pregnancy announcement.
“I just found out that I’m pregnant. How do I tell my friends that have either recently miscarried or struggle with infertility?”
I’ve been on both sides of this struggle, and I can tell you it is difficult on either side. So I wanted to give you the advice that most helped me when I was:
- The infertile friend hearing a pregnancy announcement
- The newly pregnancy friend making the pregnancy announcement
These four tips will make a huge difference in how you announce your pregnancy to an infertile friend or to a friend who miscarried.
4 Tips to Make a Respectful and Sensitive Pregnancy Announcement
We tried to conceive our first child for nearly two years.
We miscarried our second child at 12 weeks, and then we have been open for anything ever since (also known as … trying to surrender our family planning to the Lord, but I want to be pregnant).
And, in all of those situations, it has been difficult (and if I’m being honest—heart-wrenching) to have a friend tell me she’s pregnant.
On the flip side, when we got pregnant, I was at a loss for words on how to tell my friends dealing with infertility or who had miscarried that I was pregnant.
After some soul searching and asking my friends, this is what I’ve come up with.
1. Just tell her, but privately, before your general pregnancy announcement.
Be honest with her and tell her that you’re pregnant.
Tell her that you are X weeks along and you wanted to tell her privately because you love her and care for her. Then, give her permission to not be excited for you (more on that below).
It hurts more the longer you tiptoe around her.
It’s even more painful for her to find out through a friend or, worst of all, waiting for her to find out some other way (like at a Christmas party or someone else’s baby shower – ouch).
2. Share your news via text or e-mail, to give her space to feel all the feelings.
I was so thankful for friends that announced to me via text.
It was so helpful (and thoughtful of my friend) to have the space to deal with my emotions privately.
I am always overjoyed when I find out one of my friends is pregnant, but (not very) deep down I am simultaneously overwhelmed with grief and jealousy.
Your friend is excited for you, genuinely. But, the initial news will be a shock to her, and it will sting a little.
The emotions connected to infertility or miscarriage (without a subsequent pregnancy) come violently and uncontrollably. They just well up inside of you and burst like a dam.
Your friend will probably get hit with emotions she doesn’t expect and truly cannot control. And the last thing she’s going to want to do is burst into tears the second you share your happy news.
So if you share in person, she might feel like she needs to stuff all of those emotions down (because who cries when your friend tells you she’s pregnant?) and try to put on a happy face.
And trust me, that’s not easy or fun for her.
Give her the opportunity to respond to the news privately.
3. Give her permission to not be excited for you.
Your pregnancy announcement to your infertile (or trying to conceive) friend or friend who’s miscarried is going to hurt.
Yes, she will be happy for you.
But simultaneously, she is sad for herself and downright heartbroken that she can’t have what you have.
Give her permission to not be excited for you right now (or ever).
Tell her that you know that hearing your pregnancy announcement is hard and that you want to be respectful of her feelings. Ask her how you can do that.
You can say something like…
“I totally understand that you might not want to hear progress updates. I know it might be hard for you to be happy for me and that’s completely okay. Let me know when you want to hear anything about it; otherwise, I won’t update you.”
Let her know that you don’t expect her to be excited for you and that you won’t take it personally.
4. Then give your friend time.
Make the most respectful, sensitive pregnancy announcement you can, and then drop it.
Let her take the lead.
You’ve told her in the best way that you could.
You’ve given her permission to not be excited for you, and now you’re going to give her the space that she needs, for as long as she needs it.
For some women who’ve miscarried or are dealing with infertility, they may need different lengths of time before they can interact normally with you again.
Your friend may need:
- a few days
- a week or two
- your entire pregnancy
- until your baby is a little older (hopefully not this long)
There were some of my friends that I couldn’t spend time with during their pregnancy, or I didn’t feel up to attending baby showers or couldn’t handle seeing their newborns.
On the other hand, there were some points of our journey that I didn’t mind being around someone who was pregnant or being around their newborn.
Every day is different when you’re living with miscarriage grief or the pain of infertility.
But, she will come around at some point; I can assure you that.
Definitely AVOID Making These Pregnancy Announcement Mistakes (they’re the opposite of sensitive)
Now that you’ve heard what TO do, here are four things you definitely want to avoid when announcing your pregnancy to an infertile friend.
1. Don’t tiptoe around her after you announce your pregnancy.
But Kenzie, what’s the difference between giving her time and tiptoeing?
Giving her time means giving her LOTS of grace to not be happy for you, to not speak up in conversations about pregnancy or her new baby, to tear up when you mention anything maternity related.
Tiptoeing looks like avoiding mentioning anything about the very obvious pregnancy when you’re together.
I mean, don’t gush about it. But if your mom bought you maternity clothes you hate, and that’s something you would normally complain about to your friend, don’t be afraid to bring it up casually.
You can judge by her reaction whether or not to quickly change the subject, or finish a thought.
But don’t tiptoe. It makes her feel uncomfortable, and I know it bothers you, too.
2. Avoid saying any of the following in your pregnancy announcement (because they’re the opposite of sensitive).
“It wasn’t planned.”
“We didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.”
“It will happen for you.” (more on this one below)
“Don’t be jealous, this XYZ pregnancy symptom is terrible!”
All of the above are hurtful and insensitive to someone who’s had a miscarriage or is dealing with infertility.
3. Don’t tell them that “it’ll happen when they least expect it” or the story of your so-and-so that you know that got pregnant by doing XYZ or that “your turn is coming soon.”
This was and is so hurtful to hear because you.don’t.know.that.
I’ll say it again because it’s true – you don’t know the future and giving false hope is literally crippling.
On the other hand, it was helpful for people to say, “I know you will be a mother one day.”
There is more than one way to become a parent (infant adoption, embryo adoption, foster care, etc.), and it can be helpful to be reminded of that in gentle ways.
4. Please don’t send a picture of a positive pregnancy test.
Just the sight of a pregnancy test is very triggering and upsetting to someone who struggled with infertility or has had a miscarriage.
There’s no need for it, so just leave it out.
5. Don’t ghost her.
The biggest fear of infertile friends (who don’t have any babies yet) is that they will be left behind.
You will move on to all the baby things. The mom things.
And your friendship will become a shadow of what it once was. Or worse, disappear altogether.
That’s not what she needs right now.
I know that you need to have healthy boundaries, too. You need to protect your own heart and feelings.
But if you care about your friendship at all (and I think you do if you’re reading this post), then push through. Persevere.
Keep inviting her to things (maybe not the baby shower, but all the other things). Text her. Call her.
Then give her space to not respond.
But don’t give up on her or slowly stop inviting her to things.
Good friends are hard to come by. And there’s more to a quality friendship than being able to connect on all things baby – you’ll see.
Making a Pregnancy Announcement to an Infertile Friend is HARD – Just Do Your Best
I get it. Truly, I do.
Because I know what it’s like to feel SO sensitive and SO fragile, and at the same time, HATE feeling that way.
When you’re in the infertile friend seat, you don’t want people to have to walk on eggshells around you. You don’t want to burst into tears anytime pregnancy or baby comes up in conversation.
You don’t want to be hurting so much.
It’s not fun.
And when you’re the one making the announcement? Especially after being in the other chair, it’s so incredibly difficult because you are SO happy your day has finally come, but you wish your infertile friend was able to experience your joy with you.
So on either side, it’s hard. Admit it; embrace it.
But push through and as Nike says, “Just do it.”
Get it over with. Make your pregnancy announcement in the most sensitive and respectful way possible.
Then let it go. Forgive her in your heart in advance for not being able to jump up and down with you right away.
You can’t control how she responds, but you can do your very best in the delivery of the news.
And that’s all a friend can ask for.
Do you have any advice for making a sensitive pregnancy announcement to an infertile friend? Share in the comments!
Kenzie lives with her husband and daughter in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She’s wrestled with infertility, survived a miscarriage, and is overjoyed to finally be a mama to her sweet baby girl she thought she’d never have. She especially loves helping moms who have had miscarriages find hope after loss.