Telling an infertile friend you are pregnant, sucks!
I get it.
It's hard to know what to say to the "infertile" sometimes. It's hard to know what will make us upset. It's hard to know what will make us comfortable. It's hard to know what will make us sad or make us cry.
It's hard being our friend sometimes. I get it.
WE get it.
We know WE can be difficult.
Sometimes we are okay. Sometimes we are NOT okay. Our emotions and reactions are so God Damn unpredictable. That one thing that made us cry last week, might not hurt so bad this week. Our reactions vary depending on where we are in the process. If we just got a negative pregnancy test yesterday, anything could set us off. If we just found out a new shitty diagnosis that week, we will likely cry for no f*cking reason.
Our reactions also vary based on how many different hormones we have pumping through our body that day. They vary based on where we are in the grieving process. They vary based on what amount of hope we have that day. They vary based on how much money we may have just spent on fertility treatments. They vary based on how many times we have tried and failed.
Infertility is a disease.
It's a disease that is typically hidden from others in shame. Many of us live with it for a very long time in silence. Many of us will NEVER talk about it with friends or family. We don't have any pink ribbons or ice bucket challenges. Our disease is very real, and very painful.
I repeat. Infertility is a disease.
Just like many other diseases, our emotions and reactions can be very unpredictable.
WE know that some days we can be the Hot Mess Express comin' at you REAL hot.
So, yea, I get it. It can be hard being our friend. It can really suck a fat one.
We know how hard this is on you too.
We appreciate all the things you do to protect us. We know you have our best intentions at heart. We notice your efforts to do the right thing by us. We know you care. We know that if/when you get pregnant, you dread telling us. We know that you are so incredibly excited, but the thought of telling us makes you sad.
And that makes us sad too. Really, really, f*cking sad.
But, it doesn't have to be this way. Does it? I've had multiple friends ask me...
"If I get pregnant, what's the best way to tell someone who is infertile?"
I've had pregnant friends call other friends to ask "How should I tell Victoria?" before calling me.
I commend all of you. The fact that you are thinking about your infertile friend (including me), is incredibly touching and considerate. We love you for that. Thank you.
In my many years of infertility, (I say that like it's my f*cking job, ew) I've experienced some really heartfelt announcements. I've also been through the hellish (bitch slap with your pimp hand) ones too.
Like, the f*cking shoe lineup. You know the one...
Through these experiences, I've been able to draw some conclusions on what we really want/need from you.
Here's what we want you to know...
We want to be told in private.
Only God knows what our reaction might be, so give us the opportunity to feel like we are in a safe place. Whether it's a phone call or an in person discussion, find time for it to be just be the two of us. I personally love a hand written note. It gives me time to digest the information and express my feelings without you seeing them and getting hurt by them. If you are planning a big announcement to a group of friends, let us know prior so that we have time to process and potentially attend the event and not feel excluded.
Personally deliver the news yourself.
Please don't let us find out from someone else, or on f*cking Facebook. I repeat. DO NOT let us find out on F*CKING Facebook. That shit ain't cool bro.
Because, this is typically what happens in this order...
Don't be overly enthusiastic when you tell us.
SORRY! WE know you are excited, trust. We just don't need it thrown in our face. Think about how you would deliver news that you just got engaged to someone who's husband has just passed away. Be compassionate. Be empathetic. Know your audience.
Don't complain when you tell us.
Especially about being fat. We definitely don't want to hear how much it sucks that your pants don't fit anymore. We would KILL for a little (or a lot) of weight gain if it meant we could be pregnant. No complaining please! Oh, and, don't EVER complain about the gender of your baby. This one really grinds my gears. I literally see red whenever I hear someone say some shit like " If I have a boy, I will just die! It better be a girl, or else!"
Really bitch? REALLY??
When you die from the deep, deep sadness of having a boy, have someone call me and I will come get his sweet ass.
Don't wait to tell us.
Giving us an early heads up, or an "in" to the situation makes us feel really, really special. If we feel like you kept something from us, we can't help but feel betrayed. I was the first person my sister told, and she let me know that. This act let me know she was protecting me. And it got us connected on the subject early on and created a great foundation for our openness with each other during the process.
And, for some reason us "infertile" are cursed with this keen ability to predict who might be pregnant. There is a good chance we know you are pregnant before you do! It's like we are the Sherlock F*cking Holmes of pregnancy announcements. Solving pregnancy mystery's all day, err day.
If you don't know what to say, say exactly that.
I'll never forget when a friend did this to me. We were in the car (a private place - kudos!) and she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "I have something to tell you, but I don't know how to say it." Shamefully, I had already "Sherlocked" that shit out weeks prior when I saw her order a non-alcoholic beverage and decaf coffee. But, had I not, I would have known immediately with those few words. That was all she needed to say. Naturally, I cried with her, but not because I was sad. I cried because I was so touched by her thoughtfulness, and because she cared that much about my feelings. We ended up smiling and hugging very soon after.
After you tell us, don't keep bringing it up.
Give us time to process. Let it marinate. Don't blow our phones up the next day with baby stuff. Just give us a little space. Send a text and tell us you are thinking about us. That's it!
Don't give too many details.
We don't need to hear all about your doctors appointments, baby names or pinterest boards with plans for the nursery. We know it's the center of your world right now, and that's great! Seriously! But know that you have other friends/people to share that stuff with. We are most likely NOT going to be that friend to you. Again, know your audience!
Don't ask about our infertility treatments in the same conversation.
I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. People think it's somehow a natural transition from one topic to the other. It is soooo NOT. It's about as natural as talking to someone about being laid off from work and then announcing your new promotion and pay raise. These need to be two different conversations. Keep them separate.
Don't make us feel like shit because we're sad.
Chances are, our reaction might not be what you want it to be when you tell us your news. Don't expect us to pop the f*cking champagne. We will try really hard to be excited, but will likely be fighting the tears too. Remember that this reaction has NOTHING to do with you. This is a DISEASE, and your pregnancy is a reminder of our disease. It's not personal, so don't take it that way. We are happy for you, we're just sad for us too. So, don't get pissed at us if we don't shower you with excitement.
Cry with me and I will celebrate with you. If you are able to empathize with each other, you will get through this. Let's share in each others journey's in an authentic way. Talk about what will work for your relationship and commit to be honest with each other about your feelings without judgement. Let us know you don't have any expectations on us. You have to understand that we are already hurting so much, and making us feel bad for our feelings will only push us away. I know this isn't fair, but it's also not fair that we have this awful disease either. NONE of this is Fair! If you skip this step, we will most likely go MIA. #irishexit
And whatever you do...
DON'T GIVE ADVICE
Trust me, we know a hell of a lot more about getting pregnant than most people. The best thing to do is just listen. Always.
Cut us some f*cking slack.
There is a chance that your perfect attempt, still might not be enough. As hard as this is for me to write, it's true. You could very well follow every single one of these tips and still bring the tears. We still might lose our shit. If we do, chances are we're in a really, really bad place that day. Please try to cut us some slack. Cut us some slack like you would someone who just lost a spouse and is having a break down at the funeral. Cut us some slack like you would someone who has a disease (other than infertility) and is struggling with anger or depression.
Cut us some F*CKING slack. WE deserve a break too.