Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s new advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week… How do you tell your best friend the happy news of your pregnancy when she’s personally been struggling with infertility? Have your own questions? Email email@example.com
Dear Scary Mommy,
I recently found out I’m pregnant, and my husband and I are thrilled. We’d kind of been “not not trying” and it happened sooner than we expected, but we’re happy just the same. My problem is that my best friend, who I have known and loved for over 20 years, has been struggling with infertility for the past three years. It’s heartbreaking. I’ve held her hand and dried her tears and taken her out for mental health drinks over it. I obviously can’t keep my pregnancy from her, but I want to know the best way to tell her so that this doesn’t drive a wedge between us. I’d never be upset if she’s upset, you know? She has every right to feel however she wants to feel. But I want her to be a part of my child’s life and I want her to know how important she is to me, but I don’t want to add to her heartache.
You are a thoughtful, considerate, wonderful friend. Infertility affects so many of us, in various extremes, and it is such a sensitive subject. Your friend will likely need time to process the news that you’re expecting — not because she’s being selfish or unreasonable, but because as an infertile person, she’s in a constant state of hope and mourning. It can be draining.
This might sound odd, given that you guys have been super close for two decades, but I’d send her an email. Shoot her a text, maybe, and let her know you’re sending her something via email. But sending it in writing, when she doesn’t have to react right in front of you, is an example of showing someone grace.
You have every right to be ECSTATIC. And of course you want your BFF to be your baby’s favorite auntie! And you know what? She will, almost definitely, want to be that auntie. But eliminating the pressure to react to the news right in front of you, and feel what she’s feeling on the inside while putting on a brave face in your face, is a lot. Then she can compose herself and process the news on her time, and she won’t feel bad if she cries or has a less-than-stellar reaction to extremely celebratory news in her BFF’s life.
After that, social cues are in order. If she brings it up, great. Talk about it as much as she wants. If she wants to see ultrasound pics, great. If she wants to know all the non-glamorous details of pregnancy, great. But I wouldn’t initiate any talk of it, at least not at first, especially if you’re inclined to complain.
Remind her you love her, you want her to be a part of your growing family, but that you totally understand if this news is painful for her to hear right now. Congratulations on your pregnancy!