My Photo

« Pilgrimage to Target | Main | A Different Kind of Target »

Comments

Julia

I still think honesty is the best policy. I agree that telling her at the same time as you would tell others helps her feel less, um, "damaged". I would let her know that you were worried to share the news because you are aware of how painful it can be to hear that news when you're going through so much. Most of the time, just knowing that someone recognizes your pain is a big help.

The second part of that advice seems more obvious to me, but it's worth saying: Don't go on filling her in on every tid-bit with glee and smiles as you would anyone else. Give her updates when she asks and return the favor by asking how she's doing and if there's anything she needs.

Summer

This is a toughie. I don't have the magic answer, even though I've been, to a small extent, on both sides of the fence.

My cousin announced her pregnancy to the family on the same weekend that I was in the hospital losing my first baby. My mother made the decision that I should not be told, and forebade my cousin or anyone else to share the news. I found out a few weeks later, when I overheard a bit of conversation. "Upset" doesn't begin to describe how I felt. No matter when I found out, I would have been sad and (let's face it) jealous, but it was made so much worse that I felt betrayed that she'd hidden the news from me. When I found out that my mother had ordered the deception, I was furious with her. No matter how bad your personal hurt, it hurts terribly to be left out of the loop.

But on the flip side, I've been very lucky to get pregnant quickly doing it the fun way, and there are a few people very close to me who are dealing with infertility. My husband's sister, for one, and both times I've gotten pregnant I've taken her aside to tell her the news first, before I announced it to the family. I wanted to give her time to digest it before she'd have to put on a show of offering congratulations in front of everyone.

Did I do the right thing? I don't know. I doubt that there is any universal right thing to do, since every person and situation is different. But I've tried to use what I learned from my own experience. I wanted to tell my SIL in person -- I owe her that much, to be there to deal with whatever reaction she might have. I wanted to tell her upfront, so she wouldn't have the hurt of finding out secondhand. I wanted to tell her in private, so she wouldn't be forced to put on a happy face in front of Grandma. And of course I didn't put on a big happy song and dance about it, but just told her calmly.

I think that perhaps what matters most is that you're thinking about it, that you want to be sensitive. From all the IF blogs I read it looks like most people don't make that effort.

Linda

Oh, yes, Summer, you did the right thing. I would MUCH rather be told individually and privately rather than in the middle of a large group. It gives me time to compose my face.

Also, I would like to be told purposefully. I'm not sure how exactly to describe this except to tell you how it's not. We were sitting in church one day casually talking to a "friend." He knew of our IF problems but happened to mention in conversation, "Oh, yeah, Karen's [his wife] pregnant." Kind of like, "Oh, yeah, I like pizza." He was just so blase (sp? I think there's an accent somewhere) about the whole thing that it made it hurt more. "Oh, yeah, we can easily get pregnant. It's barely worth mentioning in passing."

Does that make sense?

And everything that Julia said above.

Linda

Oh, yes, Summer, you did the right thing. I would MUCH rather be told individually and privately rather than in the middle of a large group. It gives me time to compose my face.

Also, I would like to be told purposefully. I'm not sure how exactly to describe this except to tell you how it's not. We were sitting in church one day casually talking to a "friend." He knew of our IF problems but happened to mention in conversation, "Oh, yeah, Karen's [his wife] pregnant." Kind of like, "Oh, yeah, I like pizza." He was just so blase (sp? I think there's an accent somewhere) about the whole thing that it made it hurt more. "Oh, yeah, we can easily get pregnant. It's barely worth mentioning in passing."

Does that make sense?

And everything that Julia said above.

Nanchy

I lost my twin daughter when my son was born, so I think I can tell you how it feels. First, I agree with everyone who said, tell her first and in private. Give her time to get her face in order. Second, don't underestimate her happiness that you have what you want, and that she understands how much you want it because she wants it too. It's been up to me to be friends with people with twins, and I've always decided I'd lost even more if I "protected" myself. I may not have my own girl, but I have shared in the joy of other people's twins for many years. But could anyone, no matter how sensitive they are, made it "all right" for me. Of course not. The twinge was there. The same way it is every birthday my son celebrates, no matter how joyful I am at his birthdays. Emerson (I think) said an intellectual was someone who could hold two diverse trains of thought in his mind. (Her too, I guess.) For me, one significant mark of emotional maturity is when you can live with directly conflicting emotions that are yours, and not blame anyone else for having what you want.
Nancy

Jodi

I also think honesty is the best policy, but naming the infertile the child's Godparent could be upsetting.

Just be prepared if they do not want to be around you and your pregnancy for a while. Speaking from experience, it is extremely hard for me when I have been trying for so long.

When one of my very good friends became pregnant, I distanced myself from her pregnancy. I did not realize I was doing it until my husband pointed it out. Even knowing I was doing it, it was still hard to be around my pregnant friend. It has been 18 months since she gave birth and only in the last six months has it been easy for me to be around the baby.

My advice would be to tell them, but prepare for them to become distance. And if this happens, be patient, they will come back, it is just very hard on them.

Anna

Based on an eight year struggle to become a mother, this would be my advice:

The friend should not be told later. It's heartbreaking to find out you've been kept in the dark; IF is a profoundly isolating experience anyway and many of us Infertiles find ourselves distancing ourselves from our loved ones anyway. Don't do this isolating for us!

The friend should be told in private with a minimum of gushing. Let her call the emotional shots during this exchange -- there will be plenty of opportunities for the pregnancy/mother-to-be to be celebrated by others.

Like Julia said, don't offer every detail of the pregnancy. Allow the friend to ask about it and be sure to ask her how she's doing. It may be hard for her to talk about (or maybe not), but just knowing you're aware of what she's going through means alot.

One thing about Prudence's reply that was only half-right in my book is her wanting the friend to know that she wishes she were pregnant, too. It would be better to express that you wish your friend was going to be _a mother_, too. There are lots of reasons for this, which I won't go into here. But one of them is that beyond the pregnancy and birth, what friends want to share is a lifetime of raising their children together; and with adoption or IF treatments, that's still a possiblity, a dream that friends can still share.

Don't ask your friend for her "list of favorite baby names." Yes, it happened to me and the request came from my best friend...! But the point of me writing this part is that despite the tension/awkwardness/distance/anger that things like that engendered, we talked it out, worked it out and are still very, very close. Most really good friendships make it through this stuff.

You're great to want to know about how to approach this. Thank you!

The comments to this entry are closed.