Tuesday, 18 October 2011

How to say "I'm pregnant" to someone struggling to conceive

People who know us, and who know that conception took us a while, or who were privvy to my anguish at the time, seem to feel the need to apologise to us if they, or whoever we are talking about, conceived quickly, or by accident. 

There is no need for them to apologise of course. Expecting a baby is a wonderful thing, and even at my lowest or most tearful I never begrudged other people this happiness. After all, as I would always say to friends, it is not as if there is a limited number of babies allowed and them having one minimises our chances of having one. 

Not that it wasn't difficult of course. At times I would summon all my courage and sense of what is right to raise a glass to someone's news or give them a celebratory hug, and then go home and howl. But I have never wanted anyone else to go through the months and months of disappointment and upset that we did. 

So how should you tell someone who has experienced difficulty conceiving that you are pregnant? Everyone is different of course but my advice is this. Do it matter of factly without beating around the bush. Don't apologise for it but don't gloat either. Above all don't say "I guess we must just be super-fertile" as this is not what someone worried about their fertility wants to hear. But don't hide your happiness either - people trying to conceive are trying because they want babies and think having children is a great thing and as such want you to be happy about your own fortune in this matter. And if you can, tell them by phone or email or alone and then give them a little space so they can wrestle their own sadness away in private and compose their face and their feelings so that they can then be appropriate to you. And when they say congratulations, please believe them. They may be sad about their situation but their joy for you is genuine. 

Related post: What I really want


  1. Lovely post. I can completely relate to this and think you have worded it perfectly!

  2. I'm so pleased that you now have the baby you desperately wanted and I have had several friends go through similar things and no it's not easy to tell them you are pregnant - though my pregnancies have been fiarly dramatic so these freidns would have been concerned rather than thought I was gloating - I hope!
    It's a slightly different situation but your post just reminded me of this: a relative of my husband's announced to me that she was pregnant when I was in hospital, two or three days after my daughter was born and was in intensive care with a possibility she would not survive.
    I have no idea why she told me ( she was only about 8 weeks) and already had a child. Fertility was not an issue for her, and I was not a close friend. I've never understood why she said it when she did but thought it was incredibly insensitive. I do think you need to choose your moment. Three months later when my daughter was finally allowed home would have been better for me!

  3. As a new mum who finally got here a v higgledy-piggledy way, I can also relate to this (and also thrilled to hear you have your daughter :)). Obviously not gloating is a biggie (frankly I feel super-lucky I never had a pal who was *that* mean!). And I became allergic to 'can you guess our big news?'-type round-robin emails that opened onto a surprise 12-week scan pic. Meh. It all comes down to the fact that every new baby is a wonderful thing, though, so please don't apologise, friends...

  4. I'm an adoptive mum who experienced many years of miscarriages and infertility. I totally agree with what you have written. I was always happy for someone else's pregnancy and I would much rather know that someone is pregnant than them be afraid to tell me (as has happened on many occasions). Funnily enough, now I'm a parent (albeit through adoption) people don't think I have any feelings on the subject any more and readily tell me everything. Sometimes more than I want to know IYKWIM?