How do you tell a baby loss mom that you are pregnant? How do you tell someone who is struggling with infertility that you are pregnant? I group those two types of people together because I think their pain comes from the same place- the pain of not having your baby in your arms. This is a very sensitive subject because it is an important and blissful moment for the mom-to-be, and it is often an excruciating moment for the baby loss mom or woman struggling with infertility. For the woman who is pregnant, I know this moment is about you and the new miracle growing inside you. This is your big announcement and you have the freedom and the right to do it however you want. I also know how precious all of those pregnancy moments are and you really never know when it will be your last time to be able to do it. I agree with that, but if you are sharing the news with a woman with infertility or someone who has lost a baby, please try to be sensitive and cautious with how you share the news. These women carry their grief with them every day and are reminded constantly of what they are missing out on. It is especially painful if the loss is fresh. I have asked a lot of women who have lost babies and who struggle with infertility how they would like to be told about a new pregnancy. Here are their suggestions:
- Don’t tell me in a group of people or in public.
- Tell me in private, preferably not face to face, so I can react however I want. Even though I am happy for you deep down, my first reaction is most likely going to be pain, tears, fear and frustration. It takes time for me to get past that and to get to the point where I can congratulate you and be happy for you.
- Don’t tell me last. It is hard to think about everyone knowing and talking about how I am going to react to the news. It would be easier for me to find out before others so I can prepare myself and be ready for the coming pregnancy discussions.
- Don’t assume everything will go perfectly. It is hard to see other people assume it won’t happen to them. It is scary to think that they haven’t learned from my story to be cautious about their own pregnancies or to guard their expectations. Be hopeful, but be cautious.
- Don’t let me find out from your big announcement on Facebook (unless you are just a casual acquaintance.)
As most of you know, this has been a horrible year for me. I have lost three babies so far and learned that I will never have a “normal” pregnancy again in my life. I have heard about a lot of new pregnancies this year. Some people told me in a very sensitive way and others told me in a not so sensitive way. As the pregnant women have progressed in their pregnancies, I have realized that I have a much easier time accepting and celebrating the ones who told me in a gentle way. I think it makes a very big difference. Also, I look back at the ways I announced Asher and Lucy’s pregnancies (I was in Korea when I announced my pregnancy with Liam so it was all over the phone) and I cringe because I didn’t think twice about the other people I was telling. I just thought about what would be a fun way for me to announce the news. If I could go back in time, I would probably do it differently.
A couple people have sent me a private message on Facebook telling me they were pregnant and were about to announce it publicly on Facebook. I liked that they warned me so I could block them from my newsfeed and avoid constant painful reminders. It helped me celebrate their pregnancies. When I am feeling strong, I check their Facebook pages and see how they are doing, but I am able to do it at my own pace. I also had one family member pull me aside and tell me that she and her husband were about to start trying for a baby. She knew how painful it was for me, so she wanted to warn me ahead of time. I appreciated that so much. The thing that made all of these pregnancy announcements easier for me was that they told me with LOVE and respect for my grief.
So, if you are about to announce your pregnancy, think about who you are announcing it to. Is it to someone who has lost a baby or is having trouble getting pregnant, or both? If you follow the guidelines above I think it will help all of your friends and family be able to celebrate your pregnancy with you and genuinely be happy for you. And I do want to add, you should never feel guilty about being pregnant. It is a beautiful blessing and the women who are hurting are not upset that you are pregnant, they are upset that they aren’t holding their own baby.