When your best friend, sister, or cousin is a “mom-to-be” how do you deal with the news, and 9 months of hoping everyone is sensitive to you, but attentive to her?
1. Communication. Here’s the deal, if your loved ones don’t know, they won’t understand, and they won’t be sensitive to you. Go to coffee, go to lunch, go for a walk, and talk about it! If you cannot bear to look at their growing belly, and ultrasound photos, ask them to please call you on the phone. You cannot ignore the growing baby bump in the room. You want your loved ones to understand your perspective. Everyone around you is celebrating, everyone is pregnant, everyone is blessed, and you are broken.
2. Relationship Boundaries. Heartbreak changes relationships. Jealousy and resentment may happen if there is no sensitivity. If you cannot look at your pregnant friend–don’t. If you cannot attend the baby shower because of the pain–don’t feel guilt or shame. If you need time to accept they will have this blessing and you won’t, and the relationship may take a step back–that’s okay. Time can heal most wounds. If you need to unfollow them on social media–hit the button. Tell them that the pregnancy will remind you of your own struggle.
3. Make moments count. The struggle is real, but you need to keep living. One of the best moments I experienced was when my best friend named me the godmother to her son. I am already a godmother to a few more amazing kids, but before my godson was baptized, my bestie asked me to hold him during the ceremony and hold him while he was getting holy water over his little head. My hysterectomy was 3 weeks after that. She knew I would never have this moment with my own children, and gave me her moment. She is the most loving, selfless person I know. I will never forget it. If you feel too emotional and heartbroken to accept this honor–tell your friend that you appreciate and love them, but its too heart breaking for you.
4. Don’t walk the baby aisle at Target. Looking at all the newborn baby clothes, cribs on display, bottles, nuks and baby monitors have made me cry. I always imagine what the theme would have been for my nursery. Would we have found out the gender if we became pregnant? Would it be pink or blue? Just stay away from all things “baby” if you can. You are happy for your friend’s baby registry, just sad for you. Keep hope alive that you will be able to buy that baby name book, gender neutral yellow sleepers, join a mom group, consider cloth diapers, and talk about breast feeding.
5. Pamper yourself. Go get a massage, a pedicure, a hair appointment. Go out for a coffee and read a good book. Get your mind off your sadness and sit in the sun. Even if you cannot go on a “babymoon,” take your spouse on a couples retreat. You may not be collecting pampers for your baby’s bottom, but you can pamper yourself. Love yourself first and your friends and family should understand. You can always buy your expecting friend a baby gift, and they can buy you a manicure. The support can go both ways.