To the woman about to announce her pregnancy,
Congratulations! Above anything else you read in this letter, please know that we are thrilled for your news! The baby you are carrying is a miracle. We could not be happier for you.
That being said, we find ourselves incredibly saddened and jealous. You see, every day for the past few years has been consumed with trying to figure out how to make a baby. Infertility is robbing us monthly of our finances, friendships, health, intimacy and hope. We may look good on the outside, but we are caught in a whirlwind of shame, pain and anger. If that sounds like a foreign experience to you, I celebrate that for you as much as I celebrate the new life occupying your womb.
You see, struggling to get pregnant is much harder that culture suspects. It’s not just more sex or more months of freedom without midnight feedings and messy diapers. With each passing month, hope seems more bleak. Self-hatred creeps in. Guilt becomes an unwelcome roommate. There is a constant black cloud over our marriage, stealing our joy. The you-just-get-to-have-more-sex sentiment? Sex is awful. It’s timed. It’s not intimate. It’s a mandatory job that doesn’t pay. Infertility has even stolen that.
If you have experienced infertility or pregnancy loss at any level, I celebrate you like a sister. You walked the miles of infertility that I am walking. You have fought and longed and grieved. You have cried will-it-ever-be-my-turn tears. You are part of this terrible club.
Now it is your turn. You are leaving this club behind. As you do, know that we kick you out with gratitude on your success. Please don’t forget the lessons you learned. Please don’t forget how badly you wanted to be seen by pregnant people. Don’t forget how badly you wanted the stick to read PREGNANT and tell you that your future made sense again. Let the tears that you once cried remind you of the empathy you wished other pregnancy announcers had.
Before you decorate social media with your phenomenal news, would you stop just for a minute and call. You can text too or just send a message. Let us know your sweet news and give us room to be sad. We will never feel as loved or honored in our friendship as we would in that moment. Then, please go about your plans to announce.
Please do me a favor and try your hardest to understand that I might need some boundaries for a little bit. Seeing your pregnancy glow, pregnant belly or watching you eat pickles and pepperoni is going to hurt me to the very core of my femininity. You may think that I am really mad at you. I’ll do my best to convey the other but I am just really sad for me.
For your baby shower or gender reveal party, I will do my best to muster up the strength to come. If I can’t, I realize that it will look really selfish to you and others close to you. I will do my best, but in the event that my best still can’t get me to your shower, I would love to celebrate you another way.
Let me reiterate, my feelings have very little to do with the fact that you are pregnant. The despair that encircles not being able to have a child makes this one of the worst (if not the worst) seasons of my life. I would give anything to be in your position right now.
Thank you in advance for the grace that you are and will extend to me throughout your pregnancy. Our relationship is important to me. I’m doing the best that I can. Friends like you who seek compassion and understanding of my experience sustain me.
Congratulations and thank you for allowing me to celebrate you in my own way!
Your Infertile Friend