It’s one of the happiest days of your life! The day you see that positive pregnancy test that confirms what your sore breasts and nausea have been telling you – you can expect a little one just months from now. But shortly after that good news settles in, the more difficult realities start to take their hold. If you are like me, you may know more than one couple that has dealt for far too long with infertility. So the question arises; how do tell your family member that you love dearly that you are pregnant, while tactfully acknowledging her very real pain of infertility?
#1 Be joyful and thankful.
Ultimately, your joy ought to shine through. Don’t try to hide it! But also, keep in mind that it may not be the time to do a literal happy dance on a table top (and realistically, that may be best for the privacy of your own home anyway, if your dance moves are anything like mine). One way to be genuine in your joy is to acknowledge to your friend that your little bundle is a great gift of human life. God has called you to a huge challenge to responsible parenthood, and the best way to thank him is to give him the glory! None of us are entitled to childbearing, so take this moment to give him the credit.
#2 Don’t be apologetic.
I have been told before that the apologetic approach of announcing your pregnancy to someone with infertility may be the most misguided. And honestly, do you think that your friend that is desperately seeking parenthood would ever want to deny you that joy? This is an instance where the “misery loves company” line is really off base. Your friend is most likely extremely happy for you and will only feel awkward by an apology for her circumstances in that moment.
#3 Don’t compare your situations or take this opportunity to give fertility advice.
Along the same lines as #2, this is not the time to try to relate your situations. And it may be just about the worst time to tell her about some diet change or supplements that you starting taking that helped you conceive. This can be even more tempting if you are feeling like a rock star after conceiving the first month of trying. The fact is that fertility is a very complicated process, and women that are unable to conceive for a prolonged period of time don’t need to “just relax” or stop putting pressure on themselves – there are likely very real medical obstacles standing in the way of pregnancy.
#4 Allow her time to grieve her own reality.
After celebrating with your friend over your huge joy, you must also realize that she may need some time and space. This has nothing to do with you or your “success” at conceiving. It is likely that the topic as a whole has simply refreshed inside of her the desire to get pregnant and the awareness of the obstacles. It’s best to give her that space and allow her to reach out when she has had some time to recollect herself.
#5 Don’t think that her grief means she can’t celebrate your joy.
And finally, don’t think that her apparent grief someone stops her at any time from celebrating your exciting news with you. Even if she is not extremely present in the first few weeks after your announcement while she continues to come to terms with her circumstances, just know that she has not stopped loving you and your new little one. And seriously, she will probably make the best “aunt” that is out there, because she knows more than anyone how amazing new life is and how much it ought to be treasured! So let her play her part and thank her whenever you can for the gem that she is in your life.