Sunday, November 3, 2013

How do I not live in fear of pregnancy announcements?

Over-dramatic? Maybe. But really, this has been one of the tougher things about this IF experience: the nervousness, anxiety, fear, whatever word you want to use, that this person I know is going to announce her pregnancy, that I’m going to be caught off guard, react poorly, cry, or internalize it and get all thrown off kilter for hours.

Hello, self. People get pregnant! Apparently other people, but still! Given the number of people I know, and the percentage of those who are married and of reproductive age, it’s not shocking that I get pregnancy announcements on a somewhat regular basis. (Or at least so it seems.)

Here’s one example (these are both true stories, btw): I arrange to meet a friend I haven’t seen in a while. I’m looking forward to catching up, since I haven’t heard from her since before her wedding, almost six months ago. But she’s in town and we’re meeting for lunch. We attended grad school together and formed a close bond, although we hadn't keep much in touch once she moved away. On the way to lunch, I catch myself getting nervous: What if…what if she’s pregnant? How will I react? No, I’m sure would have told me earlier, right? Well, she was pregnant, and she didn’t tell me in advance. She just kind of blurted it out when she first saw me. (She was 20+ weeks - it wasn't like she found out yesterday.) Lunch was…difficult. Me trying to collect my thoughts and be pleasant and happy for her while my heart was bursting with pain, and a fair bit of hurt to be surprised like that…

Or here’s another setup: there’s a coworker who recently got married, and I pass her cubicle often on the way to the kitchenette. Before too long, I see a little cryptic but not-so-cryptic sign in her cubicle to the effect that she’s expecting…wham. Heart pangs again. I take an alternate route to get my coffee now…

So when I’m meeting up with a married friend who isn’t pregnant already or didn’t just have a baby…I wonder. Is she…? How will I handle it? I feel like I have to prepare myself, psych myself up for every encounter…just in case. Because it happens!

And when anyone in my sphere of encounter gets married, I brace myself. Will they announce something soon? How will I handle it?

I wonder if anyone who’s not gone through IF can even get what I’m saying…how much interior preparation it takes just to call a friend I haven’t spoken with (Is she…?) or plan a get-together with a recently-married friend (What if…?). Who knew that would be so hard? I hate it, and I can’t seem to overcome it. My emotions are unpredictable, and I constantly feel vulnerable, wide open to heartache from the innocently begun, “So, we have some news…”

(To my friends' credit, many of them have told Mr. M first about a pregnancy, and let him break the news to me at a good moment. I appreciate that, although it's still far from ideal. I feel bad that Mr. M has to receive all the pg announcements - I know it affects him too, although differently. And some of our friends have told other friends earlier than us, which makes me feel left out. Plus, it's very humbling to feel like I'm being given special treatment, that I "can't handle" a face-to-face announcement like most women. It's true, I can't, but still. I guess there's  just no good way to tell someone, "You know that thing that you've been wanting for over two years? That you think about all the time? That your heart desires more than anything else? Well, I got it." [add: "again / without even trying / and we didn't even want it!" for maximum effect.] Yeah, doesn't seem like there's an easy way to tell someone that.)

This makes me understand why IF can be so isolating. I really do sometimes feel reluctant to attend social gatherings or to call a friend. Depends on where my heart is that day, and where I am in my cycle. And sometimes I feel like I only want to spend time with unmarried friends, because I know they won’t inadvertently trample my tender heart…

Gah. Life is such a minefield when your heart desires a baby.  


  1. I have no good advice here. Everything you say here is exactly how I feel/react. The only exception is when I found out my sister was pregnant, because my excitement for a new niece/nephew outweighed my sadness for my own situation. Prayers, friend!

  2. My first IF friend gave me some advice when my other friends started getting married and I was worried how them getting married and having children would affect our friendship and my emotional state as I struggle with IF. She told me that she prays for her single friends to get married (if that is their vocation) and her married friends to have children. That way, when it happens, you were already praying for it so you are a bit more prepared. I know it have helped her a lot in dealing with a large family of large families. It helps me too, knowing that my prayers can help my large family's large families grow! I can't say it helps the pain of pregnancy announcements but it removes some of the "surprise" factor and makes it more bittersweet then just bitter tasting.

    Being genuinely happy for the other person IS easier though when they are happy and GRATEFUL. I find it very challenging when the couple is NOT grateful but rather, "Yep, I'm pregnant because this is what is suppose to happen and my last one was 2 years ago so it is that time again. Poor Me." That is a recipe for comfort food and tissues. (And prayers, if I can.)

    Prayers and Blessings!

    1. Thanks for the great advice, Mrs. Fitz. It reminds me of what my maid of honor likes to say: we defeat the devil big time when we pray for other people to have what we want - because the devil wants nothing more than to make us jealous, stingy, miserable, etc.

      And yes to your second paragraph too: I really struggle when a friend complains about her kids, talks about how happy she is not to get pregnant again...and then gets pregnant. Yikes. I do try to pray, because caring for a growing family - especially when you feel like you weren't "ready" for the next child - is tough. (or so it seems)

  3. I also pray that my married friends have children so I am not so surprised when it happens because that is the natural order of things. Maybe I am kind of just used to it by now but for the most part I prefer a pg announcement via email or over the phone. In person I try not to make it an overly big deal, I just say congratulations and that is will be praying for them that kind of makes them calm down about it too instead of me acting super excited and hyper about it then that encourages them to go on and on about it which I don't want them to do.

  4. ^ looks like great advice above.
    I totally do the same as you--get really anxious when I'm seeing/calling a friend/family and I know its about time for them to be pregnant (again). However, I always turn out to be wrong and then the actual announcements take me completely off guard :-/

  5. I was getting kind of cocky that I was in a better place to handle things like pg announcements... Until I had one the other day, even though I had suspected it. I have a friend that told everyone but me that she was pregnant, even though we had been together a number of times. Yup. She told me at 20 weeks while everyone else knew because she knew I was having a hard time being single. I SHOULD be grateful for the sentiment of her trying to keep my feelings in mind, but it really did just make me feel isolated. And silly because of the number of times that we'd been together and the number one thing on her mind was not any part of our conversation at that point.

    Anyway, I hear you, and I'm praying for you.

  6. I can relate. I try to tell my self that so-and-so will probably be announcing soon, so I can be prepared when calling or seeing them, but I don't think I can *really* be prepared...its still always hard even though I knew the announcements would come eventually. I do appreciate the friends who tell me right away, or at the same time as others. I know they are hurting for me, but it means a lot that they still keep me a part of that part of their lives.

  7. Seems like some good advice already given. I am struggling big time with this these days - after getting 10 announcements in 9 days (when I blogged it was only 9 in 7) - I feel like I enter every conversation, open every text or email, and answer every call just waiting and expecting the announcements. The ones that I've been praying for are always much easier to take and I definitely have a different reaction, but sometimes it's just the timing (or sheer number) that makes it feel extra burdensome.
    Sending prayers your way!

    1. Agreed! Sometimes they seem to pile up, making it all-around harder to deal with.

  8. I don't think I will ever take pg announcements well. Especially those who aren't grateful for their gift. I have to shut my mouth at times (and leave the keyboard) when people want to give away naughty little kids or moan that they hate being pg. I would take both in a heartbeat.
    I like what you said about the devil being unhappy you prayed for a friend to get something you wanted. I guess we just keep trying, right? And hibernate some days. (((Hugs)))

  9. It never gets easier! I agree with every word you wrote! Praying for all of us!