Care and Feeding

How Do I Talk About My Pregnancy Around Friends Who’ve Had Fertility Issues?

Should I tell them in person in case they get upset, or via text so they can process it on their own?

Torso shot of pregnant woman holding her belly.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by cunfek/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

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Dear Care and Feeding,

I’m pregnant and starting to share the news. One of my friends has been struggling with infertility for a while (I should say, she’s the only friend that I know is suffering with these issues; obviously, it’s an intensely personal matter, and a lot of people aren’t comfortable talking about it). What is the best way to be sensitive to her when I tell her the news? Should I tell her in person so I can comfort her if she is upset, or tell her via text so she can process it on her own? Is it OK to acknowledge her own struggles as part of the conversation? How to handle?

—Guilty Girlfriend

Dear GG,

I think it’s great that you are thinking of your friend’s feelings at this time. Really, you know better than I do if she’d better handle this news in person or if she’d need to sit with it on her own before being able to give you a hug and wish you well on your pregnancy. Personally, I’d prefer to have that sort of conversation over the phone so that we can hear each other’s voices and speak directly, while still allowing my friend the space not to worry about how her face looks or how she’s struggling to hide tears.

I do feel confident in saying that it is appropriate for you to acknowledge her particular circumstances and to ask her to let you know both how she’d like for you to support her in her own journey and also how she’d prefer that you did (or didn’t) share updates and information about your own pregnancy. I wouldn’t expect her to have immediate clarity on what she wants—e.g., “I’m down for deets about cravings, but I don’t want to see sonogram pics”—but you can let her know that you want to be sensitive to what she is experiencing right now and allow her some time to determine how closely you involve her in the events related to your child’s birth. Wishing both of you a peaceful, healthy, and happy journey toward motherhood!

—Jamilah