I view every woman (and man for that matter) of child bearing age with trepidation. I’m terrified of being caught off-guard and being walloped with an unexpected pregnancy announcement. To protect my heart, I’ve taken to thinking of everyone I meet as pregnant until proved otherwise and prepare myself for news every time a friend I haven’t seen for a while arranges a meet-up.
The thing anyone dealing with infertility will tell you is the conflict of emotions that come with any announcement about an impending arrival – the overwhelming feeling of ‘I’m so happy for you, but I’m so unhappy for me’.
Roughly I’d say my heart takes this type of battering two or three times a month. I have taken to buying myself a present each time which is getting fairly expensive!
My husband and I have braced ourselves for new year announcements – the excited parents-to-be broadcasting their news on their Facebook feed. Their due dates are likely to be the date our baby would have been arriving if we hadn’t suffered a chemical pregnancy in our first IVF round. We know it will hurt.
A friend of mine recently texted me with her happy news. I was so grateful she told me before we met and for the opportunity to compose myself over the phone. There was no need for me to share my vulnerability when the conversation was happening screen-to-screen or hide my guilt that my first thought wasn’t one of joy. All she would have know was my genuine happiness for her and her husband.
There was no acknowledgement from her side that the news might sting but then I wondered why should there be? Why should she have to hold back on sharing her fabulous news or share it any differently to the way she would to the rest of the world? She shouldn’t need to apologise for her fertility.
As I’ve said in my posts before, I want this whole IVF experience to be a learning process. If I don’t become a mother I want to become more self-aware as a result of the curve ball life has thrown at me. It dawned on me after the recent announcement that I have no idea of the best way to share this type of news. If a friend was saying to me ‘how do you want me to tell you’ then it would be a struggle to respond.
I’ve thought about it long and hard and I’ve come to the conclusion that I would recommend telling those struggling with infertility and loss your incredible news compassionately, privately, and as early as you feel comfortable with. Allow them to compose themselves and please don’t judge their first reaction. I’d recommend also holding back on the ‘we weren’t even trying’ details too! Don’t ever think they aren’t made up for you but please also realise this is a painful reminder to them that they’re having difficulty conceiving and are not in your position.
Sending many congratulations to those who are about to make their announcements and lots of hugs to those who may find them hard to hear.