Friday, October 29, 2010

Pregnancy Announcements

Ahh, the wild and wonderful world of pregnancy announcements. They take on a whole new meaning when you're infertile.

First the disclaimer... Pregnancy is such a wonderful event. And the announcement of the pregnancy is one of the best feelings in the world. I know! I've been there! So I would never, never tell someone how they should announce their pregnancy. Obviously, you have every right to announce it in any way you please.

Disclaimer over.

The purpose of this blog is to answer a question I have been asked several times: What is the best way to tell an infertile that you are pregnant?

I have been on the receiving end of some pregnancy announcements that were so painful for me, despite my positive feelings for the people involved, because of the method used.

I can only speak for this infertile. I prefer it to be quick and in writing. I don't like games, because the minute you tell me you want to "talk to me about something exciting" or you want me to "watch this video" or "figure out this riddle", guess what? I already know. :)

But what makes it worse, I can't stop and deal with it at that point. I still have to make the phone call or play along with the riddle because, even though I know, there is always the little voice saying "what if I'm wrong?" It makes the whole experience long and torturous for me. I know it is never intended, but while it is going on, it just feels cruel.

Once I know you are pregnant, I can process the info, compartmentalize my feelings, and move on. The "moving on" part always includes excitement for the soon-to-be parents and a love for the expected baby.

I prefer in writing because it's just easier for me. Call it cowardly, but it feels better to learn this news on my own and allow my natural reactions to come as they come. Email, text, Facebook... all of these work well. I don't like announcements in front of groups of people because, I know from experience, it makes everyone in the room feel weird. They are happy for the couple, but feel awkward around Ryan and I. I get sideways glances and hushed comments, when everyone should be focusing on the excitement of the new pregnancy!

Okay... It took a lot of courage to put this post out there. I've wanted to do it for years, but kept chickening out. I didn't want to hurt people's feelings. I was afraid of negative comments, or hearing how 'selfish' I am. But I finally felt it was time to answer the question I've been asked so many times.

Having said ALL that, you preggos and soon-to-be preggos out there... you share your amazing news however you feel you want to. Us infertiles are pretty good at getting through that situation. Many of us have had a lot of practice. I think I've achieved "pro" status. But for those of you who asked (or who wonder in silence)... quick and in writing is the way to go! ;)

14 comments:

Carroll Berrett said...

Michelle I appreciate your post because I have wondered many times. And two of my very best friends have dealt with the same thing you have and each time it has been difficult for me to tell them. But I have always told them first even before my family because I would never want them to hear it from anyone but me. And you know I feel a little silly that I have never asked them how the best way is to tell them. So thank you for your perspective! Love you

Tami said...

I totally agree with you. If its not immediate family, it should be in writing. For me also its easier. Then I can get over the "I feel sorry/jealous/angry/sad" before I see or talk to them. Just the way it is! I just love your blog...I feel like someone understands me because we have been through the same things...years of trying, miscarriage now...thank you for keeping it going, even though I know from experience this is a hard time for you. Hoping you get your baby so soon!! :)

Ashlee G. said...

My sister and brother in law announced their pregnancy while we were taking family pictures. As in, "Everyone say Courtney's pregnant". I think my jaw dropped. Of course I was excited for them, and for my soon to be nephew or niece but their approach left me in tears the rest of the night. My eyes are red and blotchy in all of our family pictures now and everytime I see them all I think about is how heartbroken I was that day. I'm a big fan of the in writing announcements. Then, I can say what I need to say in private and if I need to go cry, then I can do so and then move on. I dread seeing close friends and family for the fear of them announcing it to my face.

Savannah said...

I think the worst is around family and friends because I have to put on a happy face even thought my first reaction is heartbreak. Happiness for the new arrival comes later.
The best way someone close told me was over the phone. I already suspected she was prego, but I also know I was one of the first she told. I really appreciated that because I also hate when they try to keep it a secret.

Debbie said...

Going thru this very thing right now. The worst one was the guy passed his phone around to everyone asking them to read what it said on his daughter's t-shirt. Well it said, "big sister" on it. This was a group thing and others know my husband and I have been trying for a while. Very hurtful and in poor taste.

We found out about two other neighbor pregnancies within weeks of this announcement, but it was either more discreet or thru the grapevine.

BTW, glad I found your blog and I LOVE your rules page!

Leanne said...

i admire your courage. talking about stuff like this is hard, especially because you aren't doing it to point fingers or hurt others' feelings. you are considerate and i admire that so much in you. you are a great person and i am so glad i know you.

Malachi and Layne said...

In writting is a great idea...I hate when people tell me and then they look to see if it makes me sad...of course it makes me sad, but that has nothing to do with them, I am happy for them! Great post!

h51773 said...

Just found your blog this morning after an evening of church "trunk or treat" activities in which the seemingly last of the childless told us they are expecting followed by another friend getting names crossed and thinking that I was preg. Awesome...

Entirely unintentional, but doesn't make it hurt any less...

Sharon said...

I'm glad you've written about this - thanks for putting it out there! I totally agree that a simple e-mail is the way to go. I first encountered this about two years after we started trying for a family - a good friend got pregnant 'by accident' and 'didn't know how to tell me'. So she told everyone else but waited until she was 20 weeks pregnant and pretty much had no choice but to mention it. (Our other friends, meanwhile, all knew I hadn't been told and were keeping it quiet). For the first time, I felt like an outsider, an oddity and the object of pity - and I don't see why I should have to feel any of those things! It's been nearly nine years now and some of my friends, who didn't even have partners when we started out on this, have had three children in that time... so I've heard all the announcements and hardly anyone has managed to do it without making me feel self-conscious. And I wish people would stop saying 'I hate to tell you this...' Why feel that way about something so wonderful? It's not like news of their pregnancy makes a pregnancy any more or less likely for me! Actually, your last two posts sum up perfectly why I wish I'd never told anyone we were trying for a family. It tends to be the thoughtless announcements, questions and comments that really knock you off balance when you're only just managing to cope with something really tough. These days, I've decided to pretend it's not a big deal and I'm happy as I am (then I go home and cry under the duvet for the afternoon!). Anyway, thanks for sharing these posts - they really do help.

Luna said...

Thank you so much for this post. It is something I have wondered. I think writing makes sense though. I know I have said this so many times on you blog, but I am going to say it again... I love that you make me think about my sensitivity. Thank you!

Brittany said...

I too have wondered this. Your blog contains such invaluable information. I am much more sensitive than I ever would have been toward this issue had I not kept up with your blog. For this I am so so grateful. I know you started this blog for your children, but you are really making a difference in a lot of peoples lives. Love you!

Allison said...

Thank you so much for your post. I wish that some of my "friends" could read your blog before ever talking to me again. I am still reeling over one of my very good friends who "oops" quit taking her BC and "oops" got pregnant on "accident" the very next month.

Rebecca said...

Yep. Kind of like ripping off a bandaid. Quick. And the in writing part helps too. Gives me time to lick my wounds before I face someone.

Emily said...

I know I'm a little late on commenting, but just wanted to say thanks for this post. Wish I could print this out and mail it to all my friends and family (yeah, like I'd have the courage to do that!) :) I completely agree that surprises in big group settings are the worst. When my sister in-law announced her third pregnancy at a big family party by having her 4 year old (who just happened to choose ME to run up to and hug while saying this) announce that "mommy has a baby in her tummy," it literally took my breath away. I was amazed at the physical reaction this announcement had on me. And of course, all the while I'm feeling major guilt about the attention not being solely on this wonderful news. Now, 2 years later, and after the adoption of my daughter I expected it to be different. But when my best friend, sister and sister-in-law all announced their pregnancies within a month I was again surprised at how physically ill I felt in those moments. Luckily, my sister was sensitive enough to do it in a way that was private and gave me time to deal with myself and genuinely feel happy for her before announcing it to the rest of the family. Anyway, I feel you. It can be such a difficult thing to deal with.

Whew, sorry about the long comment. But, thanks for being so honest in all your posts.

FAITH IN GOD MEANS HAVING FAITH IN HIS TIMING.