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Scared to Tell Friend I'm Pregnant

Scared to Tell Friend I'm Pregnant

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Dear Rachel,

I am pregnant and thrilled over the news! The problem is that I am struggling with how to break this news to one friend in particular who deserves to hear it from me, in person. This friend had a miscarriage about one year ago. It was a horrible time for her and I know how much she grieved. Sadly, only six months later her husband died unexpectedly. While I am always there for her and make a point to continually be in touch and hang out with her, I cannot begin to imagine her pain. Now I am approaching the end of the first trimester and I want to share the news with everyone. I do not want this particular friend to find out because I have a big belly or to hear it from someone else. I want to tell her in person. The only problem is: how can I do this in as painless a way as possible? I want to share the news and I want her to be happy for me but announcing my own pregnancy may well cause her to think of her miscarriage and, worse, the fear that she will never have a baby. Any advice you can suggest is greatly appreciated. I want to be as understanding, kind, and open with her as possible.

A.T.

Dear A.T,

Your friend is lucky to have you for a friend. It is clear that you are incredibly sensitive, aware and in-tune with her circumstances and pain.

Since you are so emotionally honest, I think the best thing you can do is to speak with her, in person, and directly. Arrange a time to get together, ideally in a home so that she does not need to deal with this in public, and make sure it just you and her. I am not sure if you are "showing" yet or if you will need to bring up the topic, but either way, I would begin by telling her how much you care about her and your friendship and how not a day goes by that you don't think about her and the pain she is going through. Being that she is your dear friend, you want her to be one of the first to know of your joyous news and to hear it directly from you.

As hard as this may be for you, I think it is important that you expect nothing from her in return. And more than that, understand if she is not outwardly happy for you. There is no question that your pregnancy will evoke, in a very strong way, so many feelings for her. No doubt she wants you to be happy, but she may not be able to show that or explain that. Her feeling devastated for herself does not mean she does not want what is best for you.

I think it is important that you tell her that you understand if being around you is hard, and that you don't want her to feel uncomfortable in any way. Make an effort not to avoid her but to continuously call and see how she is doing. But understand if she doesn't want to go out with you since, as your belly grows, so may her feelings and pain. And make sure not to speak to her about the pregnancy too much and don't complain to her about feeling huge or uncomfortable or wishing you could just give birth, etc.

If you go out of your way to ensure that you maintain contact during this time (and that you have things to talk about other than being pregnant) and if you continue to be as sensitive to her as you already have been, I have no doubt that your friendship will only flourish. It may mean that she doesn't attend a baby shower for you and she may not even want to see the baby right away, but you need to remember that she is only doing this to protect herself.

In terms of her own pain and situation, what she went through is terribly tragic. And yes, unfortunately she is right that she will never have a baby with her husband. However, as we both know, that does not mean that she can never have a baby. It may be way too early for her to even think about marrying again, but the more you can encourage and support her to find happiness in her life, the sooner she will hopefully realize that while her husband is no longer alive, she very much is.

I hope this is helpful. I wish you a healthy and easy pregnancy and healthy baby! I wish your friend only revealed blessings in her life from now on. And I hope you will update me with the good news regarding your friendship and your new addition!

Rachel

"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Lisa Providence, RI January 22, 2011

Don't Know What To Do You have to tell your friend you're pregnant, since your pregnancy will start to show - there's no way to hide it. Hopefully, your friend will congratulate you, and if she cries, comfort her as much as possible. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY April 27, 2010

How to tell me I'd rather hear over the phone. If it's in person, I've got no where to go with my feelings, and I'm going to need a place to be alone quickly. If I hear from others, then I will feel like you've put distance and other people between us. Over the phone I can maybe summon up a cheery voice, then hang up and cry again. Don't make me sit with you and try not to cry. Reply

anonymous NY August 13, 2009

I disagree having had a misscarriage and trouble conceiving again, I find it very hard to hear the news directly. I couldn't imagine how it would feel if i wasn't at least trying. its really hard to imagine the opposite shoes if you haven't been there. not that you should feel guilty for your joy, of course I am happy for them, but at the same time it makes me extremely sad for myself, and it really creates an empty feeling inside. While of course I want to express my joy for them, it's is very hard to do in that moment and harder to put on an act - that almost makes my later reaction worse. I would much rather have someone else tell me, digest the news, and then be able to handle seeing her in person better when I am ready. I would suggest entrusting a mutual friend to tell her that you wanted her to be among the first to know, and wanted to tell her in person, but understood that it was going to be sensitive news; that when she is ready to get together, you would love to see her. Reply

Anonymous Keystone Heights, Fl January 2, 2009

I have a friend that is not able to have children and I am pregnant. Although it was a surprise I am very happy about it and feel very blessed. I feel very bad and have not told her yet. Do you have any advise. Reply

Gayle Gruenberg Park Ridge, NJ, USA June 20, 2008

Telling a friend about pregnancy I have not yet read the other posted comments, but I would like to weigh in. Having been on the miscarrying side, I would suggest that you tell your friend in person, then allow her to digest the news in her own way, for as long as it takes. Don't be surprised if you don't see her for several months or longer. She will still love you, but her hurt is very deep, as you know. Not that you would, but try to avoid saying things like, "You'll meet someone again" or "Someday you'll have a child of your own." That hurts. Be patient. Her life may change for the extraordinarily positive one day, and she will appreciate your understanding. Kudos to you for being so aware and sensitive. Please let your friend know that there are women around the world who are cheering her on, sending her a virtual hug, and wishing her the very best. Reply

Anonymous June 19, 2008

Great Answer I am very young and had two children right away (within two years). It was always difficult for me to be around friends who had not had the joy of conceiving a child.
I must say though, that Rachel's answer here is beautilful, practical and inspiring. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful answer Reply

Kelly Rae Sydney, AU June 16, 2008

Mazel Tov!
Nearly 26 years ago my family went through a terrible time. First my sister in law gave birth to a beautiful boy who only lived 27-days - a victim of a heart abnormality. 4-weeks later I gave birth to my own son, at term who had died during labor. A month later my brother gently informed me that his wife was again pregnant. I expressed my happiness for them and later secretly cried out my pain. Although it was on and off for a few weeks, I soon became very excited for them and felt that they were so considerate in telling me quickly and privately. Your sense of love and compassion are proven by your questions to Rachel. I am sure that your friend will have a bit of pain in the beginning as she associates this news with her own losses. However, knowing that you spoke to her yourself out of respect for her pain, she will more easily be able to separate her angst from your happiness and join in with you as you celebrate your new little baby to come.
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jacqueline yaffe kfar saba, israel June 13, 2008

telling a friend i was in a similar situation not long ago, i was blessed by the birth of a grandaughter, i found it so difficult to tell my dearest friend as she sadly lost her fourteen year old grandaughter a year ago. the reason she is such a dear friend, will be understood by her reaction, she shared my joy, and told me never to feel guilty about a simchah. life is complicated, and i am very aware of being grateful for the good and aware of the others pain. Reply

Gabriela Lisbon, Portugal June 12, 2008

Wonderful Time Dear friend, it is amazing your care for your friend! During this joyous time you are mainly concerned for the other, and you are feeling guilty! So now, what is this bringing you? A huge link to your friend as well, maybe you can connect her to your baby, maybe as a special aunt, a honored aunt or any other special link you find appropriate! Just be truthful and speak from the heart, G-d will help with the words! G-d bless you and congratulations!
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Anonymous Australia June 12, 2008

Scared I am an older mother, and when I was pregnant with my last child, I was very conscious of how to share the news with a much younger friend who had shared with me the difficulty she was having conceiving a second child and how desperate she was. I also didn't want to tell her outright. The matter was actually taken out of my hands when another woman made a "big announcement" about it in shule. I was actually embarrassed and didn't make a big issue of it, and she never did either. I just let her find her own time to talk about it at all and in time she came to be involved with my baby in the way she wanted. I acknowledge how difficult it is, and I don't think I could have sat down directly with her. In a way whilst the way the news came out was embarrassing at the time it allowed her the space to deal with it privately. Mazaltov and b'shaa tova to you and just believe that true friendship prevails thru all circumstances. Reply

Gavriela June 12, 2008

advice Rachel, I couldn't have said it better.

To Carmen of Sterling, I wish only blessings for you.

I lost my innocence at age 43 minus one month. I had two beautiful children already, born after easy pregnancies and no trouble conceiving. I became pregnant again, "accidentally" (to me, but not to HaShem), but she died 7 weeks after conception. I went into labor 4 weeks later. (Yes, I carried my dead baby for 4 more weeks. That time was very precious to me.)

I was in a chavurah with other women who were expecting at about the same time. They knew I had miscarried. One day they began whispering about labor and childbirth. They thought - or hoped - that I could not hear them, but I could. I was the only woman excluded from the conversation. I still think: how selfish of them not to be able to wait till I was not there, to talk of those things. I could've been happier for them, if only they had cared about my feelings too. 13 years later, now, they still have no clue. Reply

Carmen Sterling , AK June 11, 2008

Scared I lost my little boy last September and a month later, my brother told me that he and his wife were pregnant. There is really no good time to tell someone any news, no matter how wonderful it is. From personal experience, I know that it will be a hard thing for your friend to process, but by not telling her, and she finds out some other way, will only hurt her even more. Expect a not so favorable response, and don't be alarmed if it happens. On the other hand, she may relish in your wonderful news and be over joyed for you right from the start. I was very happy for my brother, but very sad for my self. Your friend will always be your friend, just remember that, and her pain is the only one that she knows. Maybe a little good news might be good for her. I'm not really good at giving this kind of advice as I'm still struggling with my own pain, but it does subside eventually. Good luck and CONGRATULATIONS! Reply

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