WWYD – Pregnancy

Sally and Kate have been friends since grade school. They are a huge part of each other’s lives. They graduated from college together, got married the same year, and their husbands get along well. They socialize together all the time.

Sally has been having trouble getting pregnant. It’s become the sole focus of most of her conversations. She and her husband have been trying for two years. Kate hasn’t been ready to have kids, yet surprisingly she finds herself pregnant without effort.

She knows she has to tell Sally, the sooner the better, without her hearing from someone else. However, Kate is reluctant to say anything, because she knows that Sally will be upset and jealous.

WWYD in this situation? How would you advise Kate? Should she just tell her outright and brace herself for whichever reaction? Should she have her husband tell Sally’s husband? Is there a way in which she can break the news which will not devastate Sally? Did this happen to you? How did you handle it?

(Disclaimer: Before you all start putting 2 and 2 together and making 17 please note that  this is a purely hypothetical situation. No pitter patter of tiny feet over here).

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  1. Actually, this did happen to me.

    A true friend will deal with any upset and jealousy on their own, knowing that in reality, a friend’s pregnancy doesn’t mean “one less chance for me” – a true friend will be happy for her.

    The first time this happened to me, the woman I told had suffered a still birth and several miscarriages. She was glad I didn’t hesitate to share my joy with her – happy that I knew she’d be glad for me, not unhappy for herself. Next thing I knew, she was pregnant and shortly after my son was born, she gave birth to a healthy girl.

    My other friend was not so fortunate, but she did have a happy marriage and a daughter, and would deal with her disappointment. She, also, did not begrudge me another child.

    I’d just tell my friend outright and brace myself – I think what’s more likely to kill the friendship is hiding things like this, because it says “I don’t trust you to be happy for me” or “I think you’re too emotionally unstable to be let in on this happy news.” Easier to get over irrational jealousy, don’t you think?

  2. fairion says:

    As soon who has dealt with infertility issues and the sadness of not being able to conceive, I recommend she trust in the friendship. A friend wants to celebrate your joys with you even when sad. I may be envious of my pregnant friends or the new moms. But that does not mean I am any less thrilled for them. Lots of my friends know I live vicariously through their little ones buying them presents and holding them.

  3. rachel says:

    This hasn’t happened to me, but to my Mum, both when she was pregnant and miscarried and then when she was pregnant successfully and her friend could not conceive. So she’s seen it from both sides.

    Openness is the best policy, from what I can see and have heard from my Mum. Trying to be covert, tell the friend in a round-about way, it tends to backfire. Walking on eggshells around someone does, in the long run, tend to cause anger and irritation, as Holly says above.

    My Mum was of course devastated when she miscarried, but she appreciated her friend’s honesty and told me later that she would have felt that she was a poor friend if she had found that her friend was hiding her joy from her. Then, when she was in the position of having good news to tell, she considered this and tactfully broke the news to her less fortunate friend. They celebrated and supported together, in equal measure.

  4. Estee Lavitt says:

    Definitely tell the friend and express that you are still there for her and will listen to her no matter what. Then avoid telling her the gory details about sonograms, morning sickness and heartburn. No good will come from sharing those details unless the friend asks specifically. Even then keep the conversation tempered to protect her as much as possible. Don’t forget to be her friend even after the baby is born.

  5. shorty says:

    Having gone through this many times over now, it is best for the friend to tell herself. She will have to deal with the fact that Sally may or may not be hurt and jealous and may need to spend some time apart. The sweetest way anyone told me, was by email, she said she normally doesn’t tell this kind of news, but wanted me to know and prays we will both share in good news soon. I felt a bit sad but good by the way she told me.
    Findingout on FB is horrifying.

    Another friend didn’t really tell me, she was already showing (i actually hadnt seen her in some time), reminded me that she did IVF (which she had already told me about) and said well, you can see it worked. Um. right.

  6. this happened to me too! We went through years of infertility treatments before doing IVF that worked. While we were going through treatments, my friend got pregnant and wasn’t sure how to tell me. Facebook, or telling in front of a whole group or just seeing her showing = BAD. Being straight out and telling one on one with sensitivity= GOOD.

  7. Mark says:

    Before you all start putting 2 and 2 together and making 17

    Um … in this case, wouldn’t putting 2 and 2 together result in 8? :-)

    • sheldan says:

      2 and 2 actually makes 11…in base three. Sorry, your friendly mathematician couldn’t resist…:-)

      I am sure that Hadassah and the KoD will let us know in good time when there is something to celebrate.

  8. Nora says:

    Trust the friendship. Yes, it’s been (and continues to be) a struggle but that doesn’t make not happy for my friends. I’ll deal with my disappointment and jealousy on my own.

    I can not stress enough that she needs to tell her friend in person and not let her find out through a third party. That’s the most hurtful thing that can happen. Trust the friendship and things will probably be ok.

  9. batya from NJ says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with everyone above who recommended that the pregnant friend tell the non-pregnant friend & if there is a true friendship the non-pregant friend will be happy for the pregnant friend. One thing about pregnancy is that it generally does not remain a secret for long so sooner or later the “cat will be out of the bag” so to speak & the non pregnant friend will feel badly that she wasn’t told sooner.

    As long the information is told in a sensitive matter & like someone said above, as long the pregnant friend doesn’t share all the nitty gritty details like the sonograms etc with the non pregnant friend i think that things should be fine.

  10. I think Kate has to tell Sally herself, in the kindest, most compassionate & most tactful way possible. Having it happen any other way will only make Sally doubt their friendship – & rightfully so. Kate owes it to her friend – AS a friend – be the one to let her know – and if Sally is a true friend, she’ll handle her sadness like an adult & will be outwardly thrilled for Kate & her husband.

  11. ki sarita says:

    One thing the non pregnant friend does NOT need, is her old buddy suddenly growing aloof, distant and secretive. Bad enough to be infertile; does that mean she has to lose her friends for it?
    She should tell the friend as soon as possible, and also include that she won’t be forgetting to pray for her despite her own good fortune….

    One more thing. Don’t assume that your friend wants to live vicariously through your children. That may work for some people, but not for everybody. Take it cautiously.

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