How do I cope with pregnancy announcements?

6 fertility expert(s) answered this question

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?

Answer from:
Psychologist, In Vivo Fertility, Founder and CEO In Vivo Fertility

How do I cope with pregnancy announcements?
One of the things I find when working with couples and individuals facing fertility challenges is the difficulty to cope with baby news in their environment – especially their close environments like family, friends, colleagues.
And what is particularly hurtful there for the individual is that they experience emotions like jealousy, anger, bitterness towards people they love and care for.
That can create what we call in Psychology Cognitive dissonance.
How can I feel jealous and angry for the good pregnancy news of my best friend or my sister? What does that say about me! Am I a bad person….?
If it helps you to know – you are not alone! It is the rule rather than the exception, to experience such emotions…. and it’s OK.
One way of coping is to foresee such situations and be prepare for them.
Think of the before – if you have decided to inform your friends and relatives of your fertility aspirations, tell them how you want them to tell you when their happy moment comes. Understand what your preferred way of finding out is – it could be a telephone call or an email, rather than face to face so you can be on your own. And then communicate and ask for that way of announcement.
And say it happens – they just tell you!
and take a few nice deep breaths and just listen to your friend’s excited talk. It may help you to observe her closely – look at how her face changes when she talks about it, her eyes become wider, her voice becomes animated. Focus on the moment and examine almost with surgical precision what is her response. It may be a way to distract you from your rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions.
What can you do after the event, when you are back at home? Hold on to that thought, be curious about that emotion and consider it later – find what there is to learn there at your own time and space. And then you may practice your own relaxation rituals to deal with these feelings – it could be mindfulness, it could be a fun physical or creative activity, it could be sharing it with somebody – whatever works for YOU.

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Founder of Your Fertility Hub

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:
Fertility Coach, Freedom Fertility Formula Specialist and co-host of The Fertility Podcast Freedom Fertility Formula Specialist and co-host of The Fertility Podcast

Pregnancy announcements are a nightmare because they could pop up when you least expect it and I think you need to protect yourself. If it’s in a work environment feel free to get up and leave the room. If it’s in a social media type setting then obviously you’re going to have seen something, maybe you need to mute or block that person and take yourself away and do something nice. Now inevitably, the feeling that you’re going to get will be a whole host of stress and anxiety and it’s totally natural to feel these things and you shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling these things and not blame yourself for not being happy for the person that’s announcing them.

One of the ways that you can almost prepare for these things is to plan for what you might do if you hear or see a pregnancy announcement. So you could decide that if you see it you will instantly step away from your computer and you’re going to go for a nice walk, or you’re going to go and make yourself a cup of tea or you’re going to go and put a piece of music on really loud and dance and sing at the top of your voice, or you might just want to scream. I would make some decisions on what you’re going to do to help you react and don’t feel bad for feeling annoyed, sad or angry about these feelings because it is totally natural, but if you’re kind of prepared, it’s almost like this idea of putting this protective shield around you so that when you might see these announcements, you can almost superhero trigger this protective shield and think of those things I’ve just mentioned that might help you feel better.



Answer from:
Fertility Coach

I think with every pregnancy announcement, there is some sadness, frustration, maybe anger, and also jealousy. It might impact your self-image, making you think, “It’s happening to them and not to me. I feel like I’m failing.” Of course, it’s not the truth, but you might feel that way.

All these feelings are normal, and you have to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel bad at that moment. It’s normal. It’s like the quote that says, “The best thing one can do if it’s raining is to let it rain.” In this case, the rain shower will pass by again, but at that moment, you feel sad, and you should allow yourself to be sad. Treat yourself with something nice at that moment because it feels intense and bad for you.

When someone makes a pregnancy announcement, the best way to react is to congratulate them. Don’t start talking about yourself immediately. However, it can also be valuable to honestly tell them what you are feeling, especially if you have a good relationship with this person and feel like you can say this. For example, you could say, “I’m very happy for you, but I feel bad for myself.” This can help them understand why you might be reacting with a bit of hesitation. It’s a win-win for both of you because, while it’s not about them in the first place, they will better understand how you are feeling.

In a group of friends where you expect pregnancy announcements in the future, you can already tell them in advance how you would like them to announce their pregnancies. For example, you might say, “Don’t keep it quiet from me. Don’t tell me in a group, but alone,” or “Don’t tell me with a text message, but personally.”

Pregnancy announcements are always difficult, but these are things you can do to manage your emotions and reactions.

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Specialist Fertility and Miscarriage Counsellor Wendy Martin

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.

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Fertility Mentor Sarah Banks Coaching Ltd

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.


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