So, your friend is pregnant.
Her belly is swelling, she’s growing a child inside of her and she won’t stop sharing analogies of what size fruit it is each week.
She’ll be nauseous, happy, scared, emotional and hormonal (or a messy combination of all of the above) and for a little while – nine months, let’s say – this may be the main thing she wants to talk to you about.
If you’re straight up happy for your friend and have no issues with fertility or baby-making, then go ahead, enjoy this time with your mate.
However, if her pregnancy makes you feel vulnerable because you can’t have children yourself, are trying to get pregnant but struggling or because you’ve made the decision never to have children, then let’s talk this through.
Someone else’s pregnancy can be a tender thing if you have an accompanying baby-related issue to contend with. It’s going to be OK.
What to do if your friend is pregnant and you can’t have kids
This can be a very precarious and emotional situation.
Maybe you’ve been trying to get pregnant a long while or just found out that you can’t have kids; that longing and grief is going to make it very difficult for you to be around someone who is pregnant.
A gorgeous woman I know is struggling with fertility and she’s had to quietly, gently excuse herself from birthday parties and picnics where little kids are going to be present, just until she feels strong enough to be around them without wanting to fall into a heap and sob.
It’s absolutely OK to protect yourself like this – please do. Take time away from your pregnant friend, if you need it.
The inability to have children can be utterly devastating and you should give yourself permission to mourn it in whatever way feels best. If that means turning down an invitation to a baby shower because it’s too much for you to bear, then do it. Take care of yourself.
Someone else’s pregnancy can be a tender thing if you have an accompanying baby-related issue to contend with.
Explain the situation to your beloved pregnant friend, if you’re able to. Just say: ‘Babe, I love you, but I’m hurting and I just can’t be around you right now. Give me time to find a way to be OK about this’.
You will eventually figure out how to be happy around parents and children. If in the meantime you need to bow out of any baby-related events for a while, that’s fine. You will be forgiven. Keep a little distance, talk to your partner and your other friends about it.
Feel your feelings – there’s no other way through them – and let people who are important to you know what’s going on.
What to do if your friend is pregnant and you’re trying for a baby
You’re busy trying to become pregnant and your friend has already done it.
This happens all the time, because women’s reproductive capacity, timing and luck are so different. You could have been trying for ages, only to watch your best mate gets pregnant on her first try. It can be an agonizing thing, and the jealousy is real.
Try not to be angry with your friend for her fortuitous fertility – she can’t control it any more than you can.
Find a way to be happy for her, even if that happiness is tainted by a serious case of envy. Hopefully, you will get pregnant too, if it’s what you want, but it can take time.
If it doesn’t happen, there are other ways to make a family. In the meantime, talk to your friend. She can listen to you, talk this through and try to understand.
Explain how you’re feeling, if you can. You can also take a little breather from the friendship if you need, but don’t push her away just because she’s pregnant.
What to do if your friend is pregnant and you don’t want to have kids
OK, so you never want to have kids and you kind of resent your friend for getting pregnant.
You’re worried that you’ll lose her to parenthood, that you’ll have nothing in common anymore and that all she’ll want to talk about from now on is babies, breastfeeding and nappies.
I get why you feel this way, but it’s just not going to happen.
Your friend is still your friend; you still have whatever brought you together as mates in the first place.
She will most likely be delighted to have someone in her life who doesn’t want to talk about kids – you can be her distraction and her confidant. Just because one of you has chosen to procreate, it doesn’t suddenly make you incompatible as friends.
Talk to her about work, reality TV, dating, dogs, shoes, politics, books, holidays and dreams. Her entire identity doesn’t need to be swallowed up by the word ‘mother’, so don’t treat her as if it does.
Be there for her, try and get on with her kids, but otherwise just proceed with the cracking friendship you’ve always had.
She may be someone’s mama now, but she’s still the friend you fell in love with however long ago.
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