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LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Question Four

(Sniff...sniff) That is so great! (sniff...give what you hope is a silent, choked-back sob) How far along are you? (low moan that you muffle by placing your hand over the phone) Yeah, I imagine it would suck to be 8 months pregnant during the summer (make clicking noises to simulate call waiting) I really have to go now, but we need to get together so I can hear ALL THE GODDAMN DETAILS.

Click.

Sob.

Run into bathroom and sit on the floor next to the toilet. Try not to look in the garbage can and see the wrappers from the last two BFN pregnancy tests. Check caller-ID next time the phone rings.

Question Four--how do you prefer to be told when someone has pregnancy news? By the happy couple? By a mutual friend? Over the phone? In person? At the beginning of a long car ride up I-95 on 4th of July weekend when you'll be trapped in traffic with the pregnant woman (who will be complaining about how she has to pee and how you can't imagine how badly she has to go to the bathroom and how you are sooooooooooooooo lucky that you're not pregnant during the summer because morning sickness when it's hot outside is the woooooooooooorst) for the next 6 hours?

And it's okay to answer that your ideal situation would include the hypothetical pregnant couple bringing you all the booze from their liquor cabinet since they won't need it for the next 9 months (woohoo! Free alcohol for the SQs and SPJs). Check back Friday afternoon to hear how we prefer people to break the happy news.

And by "prefer" we mean the only way you're going to get the response you crave from us.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

There were two types of pregnancy announcements that I dreaded. The first is the one where they avoid telling you because they know it will cause pain. That just leaves me to find out (a) through the grapevine when I'm not prepared to deal with it, (b) when I suddenly notice that the mommy-to-be is suddenly wearing maternity clothes and can't keep her hands off her tummy, or (c) when I get the birth announcement with the cute little baby picture in the mail. This option made me feel like I had lost friends, as well as losing the hope of babies for me.

The other dreaded announcement was the "let's pretend there's no problem" one. This is when the blissful couple would break the news to me in the same way that they break it to everyone else. Then, they expect us to react with the typical squeals, happy faces, and inquisitive questions. When I can't give them what they want, I end up looking like the big "B"!

I don't have any specifics for how I prefer to be told, but I have some general guidelines. First, acknowledge that IF stinks and that this news may not bring the typical response from me. Second, understand that even if I can't say it I am happy for you but I'm sad for me. Third, know that any reaction that I give (smiles, tears, silence) is not a reflection of my feelings for you personally. I can't predict them any more than you can. Lastly, let me guide baby conversations throughout the pregnancy. I will want to hear about how things are going but not every day. I'll let you know when I'm ready to hear about your pregnancy.

kathryn

serenity said...

I agree with Kathryn wholehearedly - particularly about the couples who have avoided telling me and then catch me off guard when I'm least expecting it. It is absolutely horrible feeling like I've lost my life AND friends to our infertility.

I've gotten around it by being clear with my more sympathetic friends who know about our IF to give me advance warning when they have heard that a mutual acquaintence/friend/family member is pregnant.

The best way for me to receive this kind of news is over email and/or the phone, so I can hide my reaction just a little bit. That way I can make it sound happy and enthusiastic while I'm crying.

This strangely has actually gotten easier over time for me; mostly because I keep reminding myself that we don't live in a vacuum and the people around me are going to get pregnant.

I suppose part of why it's become easier for me over time is because I've lost a little hope that we'll be parents, at least in the short term... and at least if friends/family have children, then I won't have to have live a completely child-less existence.

Sad, I know. But it's the reality of IF right now for us.

C said...

I agree the e-mail or the phone is best. Even those hurt sometimes, though, depending on how close I am to the person who's sharing their news and where I am in my current cycle.

While I do like my friends to be sensitive to our infertility, I don't really expect them to make any mention of it when they announce a pregnancy. They know I'm infertile, *I* know I'm infertile, and sometimes it feels patronizing to be reminded of that when someone tells me that they're expecting. On a few occasions, a friend has gone overboard with the "I know this is going to be hard for you, and I completely understand if you're not happy for me, blah, blah, blah" and THAT bothers me. I'm not made of porcelain, just tell me. Be sensitive, but not overbearing. Keep my infertility in mind when you decide how to share your news, but don't beat me over the head with it.

I don't envy the conflict my friends feel when they're deciding how to share their pregnancy news with me. I recognize that the last thing they want to do is to cause me more pain. The fact of the matter is, most pregnancy announcements DO cause pain, and it's hard to act happy when you're desperately sad about your own situation.

Piccinigirl said...

Can I say I just "prefer not to know at all", I guess in a perfect world that's how it would be. I could be oblivious to all of it. I guess finding out through email or a phone call would be the best way. I don't know how to deal anymore with PG announcements and I do believe that if (when..good thoughts) I get PG I will still feel like that.
I have also lost friends to Infertility and alienated some friends and family. However I feel like I needed to in every one of those situations. One of the MANY reasons I decided that everyone (including fellow Walmart customers) would know that we were infertile and how hard it has been on us (I do have some pity parties for myself, but I want people to understand without a doubt, that this is hard for us and any announcement no matter WHO it is is not a happy day for me. ) I will also admit that feeling like this does lead me to believe that no one will be happy if (WHEN..WHEN) we get PG. However I can deal with that, I have gone through worse and that I can do, if the only people happy are John and I , then I am happy, Beyond happy.
I guess I agree with the past posters, just tell me in a way that lets me be happy for you. I want to be, I truly do, but don't pretend there is no problem, don't pretend that I'm going to be Ok every day...just know that I am happy for you and just need some time to process your good news. (It also wouldn't hurt for them to say, "I am thinking and praying for you all the time" It's been said to me and it really made me feel better .

Kirsten

Anonymous Infertile said...

The way that I would prefer to be told about a friend's happy news all depends on how close they are to me.
There is that group of people who I am not that close with (work friends, etc) and who I know that the pg annoucement will come as a surprise. Those are the annoucements that I just have to suck up and then cry when I can.
For those people who I am closer friends with, I would prefer to be told via e-mail. Being told as a surprise in front of a group pretty much is my nightmare scenario -- the one that sends me screaming for a bottle of wine and a valium.
I don't want to be the last to know just because they are afraid to tell me. I actually also wouldn't mind people telling my husband who could tell me when we are in private.
Then there are those people who know about our struggles and who I am very close with (and who understand how painful this has been for me). I think I could deal with hearing from them over the phone or in person. But, when I say this I know that really there are only about 2 people who I could handle this news from in that manner.

Brittanie said...

I didn't realize how hard this would be for me until in one week I had my best friend and another good friend (who were pregnant with me)deliver their little girls, and two pregnancy announcements: a good friend and my 19-year-old unmarried little sister.

Both the pregnancy announcements were guarded because they didn't want to upset me (especially my little sister) and so both just blurted it out at unexpected moments since they couldn't find a "good time." My good friend Adrienne told me while I was at work (I work at Walmart). Needless to say I ended up crying on a coworker's shoulder after I left.

How to tell me? I haven't figured out a good way yet.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I would prefer to be told in a private manner and with some class. A friend of mine recently got pregnant through IVF and I was and am really happy for her. She was very upfront about telling me so I wouldn't hear it through the grapevine and it was sensitive and sweet of her. She knew that I would be upset and she simply said that she is for sure pregnant. That was basically it. I of course congratulated her and told her how happy I am for her, because I am. I am not happy hearing about other's pregnancies, but I am happy for those who become pregnant because it is a wonderful and beautiful thing. I only want those who have to tell me to be sensitive to the situation and to understand how I may react and feel.

~Stephanie

StampinMamma said...

I always respected those who came to me in person to give me the news. Even though they may have been dreading it, they did it and were respectful of my feelings as well. I was happy for them. How could I not be? It's not their fault I was having problems getting pregnant.

Richard said...

Quite frankly, I'd rather not know until it becomes obvious. Pregnant people are so desperate for people to be happy for them that they feel the need to broadcast the information from the rooftops to anyone who cares to listen.

I just don't want to know (until it happens to us of course :-)

Anonymous said...

In general, I would prefer to get an email, although no one has actually done that yet. I understand their desire to share their exciting news in person, in which case if I atleast know its coming via another friend or have guessed b/c they've stopped drinking its a bit easier. I was happy my best friend told me in person b/c we are so close, but everyone else I would have been happier with an email. I have one friend who I went through infertility with for years - we often got together to talk through our pain. She dropped the bomb on me once when I invited her over for one such talk. I was actually very happy for her b/c I knew how much she'd gone through to get there, but I really wished she had atleast thought not to drop the bomb on me on a day she knew I was already upset and in need of support. It felt like the minute she got pregnant she could no longer relate to my pain (I am sure that's not the case, but I still felt that she of all ppl should have handled it better)

One last thing, it does make me feel better when they acknowledge that their pregnancy will be hard for me b/c of my own experiences. And I try very hard to explain to them that although it is a painful reminder of what I will never have, I am in fact very happy for them.

Melissa said...

I can't recall who said it...but I agree with one previous poster who said she prefers to just not know! Let's just all go through life completely oblivious to the belly rubbing, waddling, pregnant army! I only wish this was possible. How I find out about someone's pregnancy all depends on who they are, how close we are, and the situation at hand. For some reason, family members who are pregnant are much harder for me to deal with than frieds. My mom was kind enough to warn me about my sister's second pregnancy before she planned on announcing it at a Father's Day gathering, so I would be prepared. And, being sympathetic to the situation, she then talked to my sister, who announced it very quietly to family members who didn't already know. It was so appreciated-not having to deal with everyone freaking out and congratulating. I later wrote her an e-mail explaining to her my sitaution and congratulatin her on my own time. I think it's also easier when the lucky pregnant ones are far away from me. A friend called me the other day with news of her third, and it was fine with me because she lives so far away and I wouldn't have to face it on a daily basis. So...I guess...I like the news broken to me gently-over the phone or through e-mail...and I want them to be sympathetic and tip toe a little...but not avoid me and the talk about it alltogether.

Lisa P. said...

Twice now, (once by my husband's cousin) couples have thought it was more appropriate to be close to delivery (or past) before even telling us -- or having others tell us -- that they were expecting another child. The shock of hearing "oh, so-and-so just had another baby" when you didn't even know they were pregnant hurt quite a bit.

Sophia said...

If its someone I'll be seeing a lot of I prefer to know and preferably by email. One sentence with a gift certificate for Nestle's Toll House Cookies attached.