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Announcing Babies

This is where I pretend to be an advice columnist. This is NOT directed to any of my expecting friends, I'm very happy and excited for all of them!! Enjoy!

Dear Tracy,
I am ready to announce to my friends and family that I'm expecting! How do I deal with this announcement with friends who can't have children or have lost children through miscarriage/infant death? I don't want to hurt their feelings but I'm just so excited!
Pregnant friend

Dear Pregnant Friend,
Congratulations! Your excitement is completely understandable. I am happy to hear that you haven't let your euphoria cloud your judgement and you want to be considerate of your friend's feelings.

There's something you need to understand first. Your friends will be happy for you. EVENTUALLY. Depending on where they are in their own grief process, they may jump for joy right away, or keep their distance until they've dealt with their feelings. But they are your friends, so remember that they love you and do share your joy and happiness about your little ones.  They have to try to understand how their heart can be so happy and so sad at the same time- it's a confusing emotion to deal with.

As for your actions- announce the news to them personally, preferably in a  private setting, either through a note or in person. Don't be overly eager with cutesy wootsety either, simple and to the point is best. This way if your friend really does take the news badly, she can do so privately. Few things are worse than having to hold back tears in front of a large crowd. Do not wait until you've told everyone else before telling your friends who have dealt with loss, they will find out from others and feel left out on top of everything else.

After making the announcement, you may think the hard part is over for you, it's not. You need to listen to your friend's reaction- they may not want to tell you as to spare your feelings, but sometimes they'll want a time out from all the baby talk. That doesn't mean don't invite them to the baby shower, just put off listing every name you've ever thought of at your lunches together. Or maybe you just post one or two ultrasounds on facebook at a time, not all 40 and a video in one day.

Above all, everyone is different. Everyone's situation is different and there is no way to easily write advice for everyone. I can only write about my feelings and experiences here. There have been times where I want to crawl in a hole and die when someone announces their pregnancy/new baby, and others where I  just smile and say congratulations right away. It didn't matter who they were, how they told me or how close of friends we were, it entirely depended on me and how I was feeling about MY problems at the time. Just be there for your friend, and try to continue to understanding.

best of luck!


Nicki says:
at: Nov 26, 2011, 9:28:00 PM said...

I can totally relate! I've had people afraid to tell me because of my fertility issues, but I have never been any less excited for them. At different points in my life I've reacted differently- sad, happy, giddy, depressed, but these emotions were always in private later after I had time to process things. I think you did a good job explaining the telling friends your expecting concerns.