Answer from: Karenna Wood
Pregnancy announcements can be so difficult during infertility. They can often just pop up on you in the most unexpected ways, can be very very hurtful, and cause you to spiral and feel very very down often for a number of days afterward. It’s really important that you set aside some boundaries and manage how you receive this information. Often, social media can be a source of real stress when you’re going through infertility, when you’re scrolling through the feeds and you’re seeing these announcements. It may be that you block certain friends just temporarily, mute them or use your settings in some way to push back a little bit or even temporarily just so that they’re not coming through on your feed.
Another way is in your personal life is to almost do the same thing, is to be really clear around certain people whom you know may be trying or with your close friend group to just say “this is how I want you to tell me”. Being that clear it’s hard sometimes to be assertive on this topic but so important so you can control that, so you could say “can you please text me?” rather than springing it on you as part of a night out with a friend group, etc. Then at least you can manage the emotions around that and then come back to them with the joy and the compassion that you have for them and their happiness for their pregnancy.
By controlling around you, you have the control to do that. I think that’s what’s really important. They can often feel like they crop up from nowhere and can be so damaging, so you set aside these boundaries of how you want to be told by who and set aside your settings on social media to control it.
Answer from: Sarah Banks
When you’re trying to conceive, something that can be really triggering is pregnancy announcements. We’ve all been there when you’re expecting it, and somebody tells you that they’re pregnant, and it’s really triggering. It’s really upsetting you, you’re obviously happy for them, but you’re sad for yourself, and it’s really difficult. I want you to know that it’s okay to feel like that. It’s normal to feel like that so, please don’t add to your guilt by feeling guilty that you’re not happy for your friend. It’s not that you’re not happy you’re just sad for yourself.
First of all, please don’t worry, it’s really normal and be kind to yourself. So I want to talk through some tips on how you can cope with pregnancy announcements. Permit yourself to feel however you feel, whether sad, angry, distraught; it’s a normal reaction. You don’t need to worry about that; you’re just a human being. You’re not an awful person feeling that. One thing that’s really good for coping is using breathing techniques. If you breathe into your nose and out through your mouth, it just helps you control those anxious feelings coming up. When you’re triggered, and you can’t get somewhere else, if you’re feeling upset and want to cry, it gives you that chance to control your emotions. Until you can get somewhere, you feel comfortable dealing with it in your way. So try practising those breathing techniques; there are lots online and find what works for you. Use breathing techniques to control your breathing to get you to a safe space whenever you’re triggered. You can ask your friends to create a how-to tell me plan or create a hard to tell me plan you can ask your friends to follow. If your friends know you’re trying, you can maybe ask them to let you know by text message if you feel that’s the best way to cope.
Think about the best way that you feel you would cope when you’re told that somebody’s pregnant. If you’re face to face and in a big group, it’s very hard if you’re trying to hide your emotions and you feel you have to put on a front to show that you’re happy, and that can be very hard. So if your friends know you’re trying, maybe think about how you would like them to tell you, whether that is sending you a text message. Or ask them to tell your partner so that they can tell you when you’re in a better situation where you can cope with it, and you can be upset and react in the way that you need to react. Let them know it’s not you wouldn’t be happy for them. It’s just you’re struggling with your emotions, and that pregnancy announcements can be really triggering. It’s just making it safe for you and a better way for you so that you can cope in a way you need to, and then you can go back and congratulate your friend or whatever you need to do after that. A true friend should understand that and would hopefully follow your wishes on that.
It’s very difficult in social gatherings to get away from pregnancy announcements and be around babies and children. It can always be a worry, especially if you know somebody’s been trying in a certain group of friends or if you know at work that people are. You’re likely to hear pregnancy announcements. So, know that it’s okay to say no to go to some of these social occasions. You don’t have to go to anything you don’t want to go to. If you know that somebody’s just announced their pregnancy or is about to announce it at this do, you can avoid going to it. It’s okay to say no; it’s important to protect your emotional well-being, especially when you’re going through treatment. So don’t feel guilty about not being able to go on choosing not to go. You can make your excuses or if friends know what you’re going through, then explain to them. A true friend should understand that as well, as I say, if they don’t know, then maybe make an excuse so that you don’t have to go. Maybe arrange to do more things with friends that don’t have children or that you know don’t want to have children or ma3ybe they are older and already have older children, so won’t be talking about them quite so much. So think about the circle of friends that you’ve got. Is there anybody you go to the gym with or you work with that you could start to build more of a social relationship with so that you’re not always around people with children?
One big way of sharing pregnancy announcements is on social media, and it’s very hard to get away from. Even when you’re away from people, it’s still there, it’s still accessible, and you can still be triggered by going on social media. Sometimes it’s probably good to have a break from social media to get away from some of those things. Especially at certain times of the year or if you know that somebody is pregnant and about to announce it. Maybe unfollow them for a little while, mute their conversations, protect yourself by coming off social media. Be kind to yourself; it’s a perfectly normal reaction to feel like this. So do what you need to do to cope and don’t worry about what you need to do. Everybody’s individual and do what it is you need to do to cope with that. Then most importantly, get support; places like support groups are brilliant for having lots of people who fully understand and are in the same situation as you. You’re unlikely to get the pregnancy announcements in the support group. If someone triggers you, there’ll be hundreds of people on the support groups online who will understand why you’re triggered and won’t judge you for that. They’re a really safe space for talking openly and honestly about how you’re feeling, so look at support groups and maybe look at joining one if you haven’t done it already.
Answer from: Wendy Martin, Developmental Psychology
I think the simple answer is with difficulty. It seems to me to be something that happens that you know it becomes increasingly painful. The more you go on not getting pregnant yourself, if you really want a baby and you’ve been trying for some time and you’re realising it’s not working, it’s not happening you start to become upset, worried, anxious, distressed and distraught about this something’s not right. It’s not happening and you don’t know quite why or maybe you do know why and that is that doesn’t help either. The more you go on month after month, sometimes year after year not getting pregnant while all around you are. Those pregnancy announcements become more and more painful and more and more distressing.
How do you cope with it? I don’t know. I guess you could if you’ve got friends that you know are trying you might have a word with them, a quiet word and say look you know please don’t invite me to dinner with all your friends and make a big announcement at the dinner party because I’m likely to cry and run out of the room. Please don’t announce it at work, this is a colleague, if you could let me know quietly so at least I can be prepared or at least I can choose whether I want to be present at that announcement.
Maybe I just don’t know if some announcements come unexpectedly and there is no preparation for it. It is on facebook or suddenly someone just announces it. How do you cope with it ? It’s difficult. You know the truth is: it’s difficult.
I guess you just have to find your own ways of absenting yourself from the situation as quickly as you can. If you can feel yourself wanting to cry and maybe just avoid those situations as best you can if you know it’s going to be painful for you.
There isn’t really a simple answer to be honest with you. There isn’t really a simple answer and then how do you tell other people what you’re going through. This varies enormously. Some people are extremely private and they don’t want anyone to know their private business and that’s their prerogative. If you don’t want to talk to anyone else you don’t have to. If you don’t want to tell people your business, you don’t have to and there’s no problem with that. That’s up to you. The tricky thing with that is that if you go through a whole load of treatment and then or it doesn’t work and you’re really distraught, you haven’t got anyone kind of lined up or prepared to help support you through. It might be worth choosing one or two very close trusted friends or family members that you can talk to.
Other people are the opposite they tell everybody everything they’re like so thrilled, it’s excited that finally they’ve found what’s wrong and they’re gonna have this treatment and these wonderful marvelous doctors and nurses and medical people and embryologists are going to make them a baby and they’re so they’re so thrilled and excited and happy about it that they go around telling everybody, everybody at work or their neighbors or their friends or their family everyone. Even so much as giving them a blow-by-blow account of what’s happening and how they’re getting on and when the embryo is going to be transferred because at some level they think it’s going to work. They truly think it’s going to work and so then two weeks later they do the pregnancy test and oh no it’s negative and the shock is huge and the distress is profound. They might have 20 people texting them, whatsapping them, calling them, asking them how it goes. How did it go? Did it work? They have to say again and again and again it didn’t work, it didn’t work, it’s failed, it’s failed, it’s failed and that is too much for most people. They realise the error of their ways at that point that perhaps they shouldn’t have quite told so many people. In the next round a little bit more circumspect about who they talk to and who they tell what to. For some people they just don’t let them even know that they’re going through treatment or they tell a few people who they trust and who they would turn to if they need support but they might be a bit general. There’s nobody’s actually going to know the date when they do the test so that they can at least give themselves a few days to recover from reeling, from the distress and they can compose themselves. Then they can tell those few people it hasn’t worked and we’re not pregnant.
How to deal with overwhelming pregnancy announcements?
Seeing pregnancy announcements on the Internet or hearing the news from your family or friends when you’re trying to get pregnant can be hard. How to deal with infertility emotions in such situations?