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.


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!