Dear Prudence

Help! My Pregnancy News Is Going to Bum My Friend Out.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

A video call is shown on a computer screen. A partially visible woman holds a positive pregnancy test. At bottom, the woman on the other end of the call appears upset, with her hands at her head.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Getty Images Plus.

Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.

Q. Sharing the “good” news: I’m pregnant! This is exciting and overwhelming news. I want to tell my very best friend, but I’m not sure how. She has always wanted a baby, and it hasn’t happened for her yet. She’s getting older, and I know she feels this (potential) loss acutely. On top of that, like many of us, she’s feeling the stress, anxiety, and fear of the COVID-19 pandemic. She lives in NYC, and the situation has been weighing on her. I’m sure she will be excited for me, and it may even bring her joy during this time, but I also feel like the news could be accompanied by some complicated feelings. So, what’s the best way to tell her? I want to give her time to process how she feels and not be put on the spot to immediately be excited, so a phone call or FaceTime seems like a no. Text? Email? Do I write her a letter? Send a care package with a note about the pregnancy?

A: This is remarkably thoughtful on your part, and I hope that your friend is able to respond with genuine warmth, excitement, and generosity in kind. I do think you can at least consider the possibility of a phone call, in part because text and email feel remote by comparison. But if you think it would be easier for her to have time to process this news by herself first, then I’d suggest sending her a text and making yourself available for a phone call later that day (or later that week). You don’t have to address the fact that this news might be complicated for her, I think, in part because you’ll want to give her the chance to have her own reaction without attempting to read her mind. So to that end, I think all you’d need to say is that you’re pregnant, you’re both excited and a little overwhelmed, and you wish you could process the news together in person and would be happy to talk on the phone whenever she’s available.

If you do want to include a caveat, I don’t think you need to say anything more than this: “I don’t want to presume anything, but I realize this may feel complicated. Just know that I love you and I’m here to talk anytime.” I hope she’s able to separate whatever fears or anxieties she may have about her own future from this situation so she can share in your joy. And congratulations, and good luck!