Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finding a Way

You've been there. I've been there.

Trying unsuccessfully to have a baby for the past 3 years, I've been in the position of having to hear others around me joyfully announce their pregnancies. Co-workers. Cousins. Friends. Friends of friends.

I know how those words feel like a punch in the stomach. I've read on blogs how such announcements have sometimes been made via email, as an "oh, by the way" comment. I remember my mother telling me last year when my cousin had given birth to her second child in April 2008. It was a girl, and my mother went on and on about how she did not like the name my cousin and her husband chose for the baby. On and on. Finally I just blurted out, "Who cares what the name is?! At least she has a baby!"

So now I'm 9 weeks. If everything continues to be okay, we'll probably start telling family and friends in the next 5 to 7 weeks. The question is, how best to tell someone who I know will be quietly crushed by the news?

I have a girlfriend whom I've known since we were 18. We went to college together. She lives on the east coast and I on the west. We've kept in touch by email and visits (although it's been several years since we've seen each other). Ever since college, she has longed to find her prince charming, get married and have a family. None of it has happened. I love her like a sister, but she has always had unrealistic expectations in her quest for a husband.

She literally wants a prince charming. Like in a mushy chick flick movie. A guy who is smart, handsome (very handsome), polite, doting, caring, adores her every move, is a great dresser, has a great career, likes her hobbies and who is simply nothing less than a perfect human being. Thus, she has never married (need I tell anyone out there that men are not story book perfect?, I didn't think so). It kills her that she's never been able to find Mr. Right and that as a result, she will likely never have a child (she's definitely a marriage before kids kind of gal).

How am I supposed to tell her I'm pregnant? I don't want to be insensitive. I don't want her to feel that punch in the stomach. Another person she knows, getting something she'll likely never have. I'll have to tell her in an email, but how best to go about it? I thought that maybe if I explain the difficulties we've had in getting here, she'll understand that it didn't just "happen" and that I have not had the perfect life where all good things seem to befall me. And even though I don't know when I might next see her, I don't want to not tell her because that would seem like I was intentionally keeping it from her and could potentially be more hurtful down the road.

I'd appreciate any suggesions you might have.


cindyhoo2 said...

ohhhh, this is a hard one! I agree that you must tell her but it will likely cause her to feel such jealousy and sadness. I think your plan of telling how you got to this place is all you can do. However, I'll remind you that people who were sensitive about the punch in the gut they were giving always hurt less. You are clearly aware and sensitive so hopefully that will help your friend feel less hurt and more hope???

Anonymous said...

I don't think you should "explain" anything about it. She's going to feel how she feels about it. If you try to explain it, it may come off as "I DESERVE this because my struggle has been so hard" which treads a slippery slope on the way to ".....your struggle hasn't been as hard/my life is harder/etc etc".

You know how much of a punch in the gut it is. A punch is a punch, and trying to sugar coat it can just make people resentful.

I say just tell her. I'd simply acknowledge that you are aware it may be hard for her to hear. Maybe consider letting her be one of the first people to know and say something like "I thought it was important that you were one of the people I told first" might soften the blow. And, the sooner you tell her, the sooner she can work through her issues and be happy for you.

Mad Hatter said...

Oy. This is a tough one. If I were her, I would want to hear by phone. And I would want to hear about the struggles because I am your close friend and I care about you. And I would share in your joy of being pregnant. Not to diminish her pain of not finding Mr. Right yet, but I think there is a big difference between being IF and being single. I think it's great that you're being so sensitive to her in this situation. At the same time, the fact that you are pregnant before her shouldn't come as such a shock, given the circumstances.

embieadoptmom said...

Yes, this is difficult but you must tell her and just be honest. That's the best policy. Be honest and sincere and compassionate towards her. HUGS!

Anonymous said...

Being single and being IF do have similar traits (from someone who is both). Even if her goals in finding a husband are unrealistic, it sounds like that's something in her life that she's yearning for along with the family someday.

I would just be honest and open and see where the conversation (I agree -voice conversation as opposed to email) goes as far as sharing the details on how you got there.

Telling her up front you realize this could be difficult news for her but wanted to tell her early on I think would be appreciated. For me, it's hard to hear a distant friend met the man of her dreams and/or, is having/has had a baby but for friends I am closer with, I am happy for them first. I hope that makes sense.

I hope it goes well. You are clearly very caring and considerate to think of her feelings.

Anonymous said...

i agree with one of the pp'ers that her pain is different than IF - not more or less, just different. because of that, i dont think you need to go into a ton of detail - unless you've been through IF personally, you cant really understand that particular sadness.

i might just say something along the lines of "this is something we've been struggling with for a long time and are grateful to finally be able to share our good news with you" and leave it vague.

you are a wonderful friend for thinking of her feelings at this time and trying to be sensitive to her. im sure that will come across, whatever you decide to say.

Summer said...

I think email is the way to go and that way if she wants to talk to you about it, she can be the one to make the call in her own time.

As for the email, direct, honest and not too long is what I aimed for in these situations. That way it gets the news out there and the recipient can take the time to digest it all.

Unfortunately, if the news is going to hurt, it's going to hurt. But, I know I always appreciated hearing it directly from the person themselves and not someone else.

Good Luck!

stillhopeful said...

I have a very similar situation - a girlfriend who is single, no kids, desperately wants a husband and a baby, but who is 43 and unlikey to get either anytime soon (high expectations, picking the wrong men, etc.).

She knew about our IF struggle, so when I got the BFP, I called her (one of the first people I told, and it was before the big announcement after passing the first tri). I was direct, and she responded very excite for me. I told her that I wasn't sure how muc of the details she wanted along the way, and she said she wanted to hear it all, so I've ben very open with her and she's been supportive.

Sometimes, though, and email can be a nice way to let her know early, let her know you're sensitive to how it might make her feel, yet also give her the space to react her own way in private, and then respond in her own time. A little less "on the spot" than a phone call. And then judging by her response, you can call or just continue corresponding via emails...

Fran said...

My dear, I would definitely tell her all about the struggle, the years and finally the embryo adoption success. I'm sure she'll feel no punch in the stomach, on the contrary, she'll know how much you've gone through. Love and thanks for everything. Fran

Lorraine said...

The funny thing is, I agree with all of your commenters! Helpful, huh?

Maybe let her know in an email that you are expecting, that you would like to share the long hard story of how it all finally happened and that you would like to make a phone date to catch up about everything.

She sounds EXACTLY like a friend I have in CA - super picky, guy has to be gorgeous, make big bucks, treat her like gold, have a perfect family and be Catholic...

Um, good luck!

Alex P said...

So... I think I have a dopelganger of your friend in my own life. She too thinks that her man needs to be perfect- body, charm, personality, money, etc, all the while being an extrordinarily flawed individual in many of the same ways... (including divulging details of a nasty fight I had with my husband to an entire dinner party of friends... including his ex, and then almost crashing her car when I asked her plainly on the way home if she could please avoid doing so in the future)... My suggestion is flattery. Whatever means you use to communicate the message, the actual words used are more important. start by reminding her how close you two are, and then divulge that you had trouble conceiving, ending with the good news. Mention that it would have been easier if you had been able to talk to her- her support is important- recognizing that since you know she (the amazing friend she is) would (or try her hardest) to understand your deepest feelings, but that you simply couldn't, because your own insecurities made it impossible for you to share it with anyone for fear of jinxing it. Its kind-of superstitious, and dumb, and you're sorry that she didn't know, but you're so relieved that you can FINALLY get back to the honest relationship you had. yeda yeda yeda. Making things seem like its all on you, and the secret keeping was due to your personal "faults" makes it pretty much impossible for her to be anything but exceedingly gracious, unless she actually is my friend mentioned above, in which case she will likely tell all the people you don't want to know, post baby pictures on facebook before you do, and basically act worse than the sis in law youve mentioned. In either case... good luck.

Ok, and yeh, let me be honest- WHO CARES what she thinks if shes upset? If she does throw a fit, then this is one of those things that keeps her from finding someone- this sense of entitlement that she should have known everything... if she calls you on it, and thinks you should have been more honest, ask her just how early on she should have been involved...? Apologize sincerely for not requesting that she take time off from her job and accompany you and your husband to the implantation... this is about you and your baby, NOT her. She is not the Maid of Honor who is more 'zilla than the bride, and if she is, put her in her place. get her a giftcard to and wish her the best. stay positive. youre friends with her for a reason. Im sure she will be delightfully excited for you. Maybe she should be the honorary fun aunt, because your sil is obviously crazy, and your sisters live far away... and maybe having a little person to play with and care about will show her that people dont have to be perfect, and she'll loosen up and find mr. right. I mean... if she's living in a "making a movie moment world", she will eat this all up. She will be expecting to meet someone at your babies birthday party, he will be wearing a gap sweater knotted over his shoulders, she will be in a cute jackie kennedy dress, her hair teased JUST enough. They'll reach for the same cupcake... touch hands... *sigh* the rest will be hollywood history.

Ugh. I hurt that you even have to worry about this! Women are crazy! why do we have to stress about what FRIENDS will think? theyre our friends, they should LOVE anything thats good. We should THRIVE on successes of others. and yet... wow. the movie Mean Girls has more truths than we all like to admit.

Sorry this is so long, but the whole issue makes me sad.