I am pregnant with my third and need to tell my close friend who has been struggling with IF for five years. She has gotten pregnant four times but has had four early miscarriages (one very recently) and is obviously in very deep distress about this. I am dreading telling her at all, but obviously need to. She actually lives far away but we talk on the phone almost every day. I know that, given her emotional state, she is in no way going to be happy for me, which I completely understand and am fine with. I just want to tell her in the most painless way possible. Should I do it over the phone or by email? Any ideas on ways I can cushion the blow?
I will first tell you that it is different for everyone. Telling someone by email may work better, telling someone by telephone may work better. For ME, I had a friend tell me about her first pregnancy by email, but it was an email blast to all of her friends, even though she knew I was struggling with infertility and was trying IVF. I was SO MAD that she told me that way. It hurt, and I had a tough time talking to her for a while after that. Her second (and after I had my first) she also told me by email, but this was an email specific to me. I handled it much better, but we were not yet embroiled in fertility treatments again, although we were not preventing. I think that the fact that I had one made it easier, and the fact that she made the email very specific to ME to soften the blow made it easier as well.
A couple other friends advised me of their pregnancy by telephone, and that was more difficult for me, because after they dropped the bombshell all I wanted to do was get off the phone and digest the information. However, the thing that I liked better about the calls was that it was SO much more personal. It was those friends trying to soften a blow.
I am not really sure how I would prefer to hear it. I will tell you this - no matter what you think is the right way, it won't seem like it is the right way after you do it. Today I might think I would prefer to hear by phone, but maybe I'm having a good day today and feel like I can handle it. Tomorrow is a different story. Maybe I had a dream last night and I woke up feeling down and broken hearted, and I couldn't handle you telling me over the phone, and then having you listen to my attempt to cover up my heaving sobs before I can try to tell you I'm happy for you, and then get off the phone as quickly as possible. If you make the decision to do it by phone though, then do it. Don't chicken out and then email, because it would (I think) hurt more to talk to the person and not have them tell me, then get an email a day later.
However you do it, let her know that you understand the news is difficult for her, and that you understand that she may need some time to absorb it. Let her decide when she is ready to talk to you again.
Whatever you do, DON'T hide it from her. If you're telling others (family/friends etc) then you need to tell her too.
I will say that you asking in this forum means that you really do care for your friend. I have a feeling that you will do it in the best way for your friendship based on how well you know her. Remind her that you care. Don't complain any (even if she asks). And I'll reiterate, give her the space she needs to digest the information. When she is ready, she will call you.
I agree that it is different for everyone, and that it's probably going to be hard for her to hear no matter what. I think that email might be better, because it gives her time to process, but if you talk to her literally every day on the phone, it does seem sort of awkward to email her. If you do tell her on the phone, I would try to make sure first that she's at home and alone (or just with her dh), if it's a cell phone. It would be awful to get that kind of news while grocery shopping, or at work. Definitely let her know that you understand if she's not overjoyed at the news, and be willing to let her cry on your (metaphorical) shoulder if she needs to, or to hang up and call back another time. I would also say definitely, definitely make sure she is one of the first to know. There are two reasons for this: 1.) You don't want her finding out from someone else, and 2.) It hurts to hear that someone you care about has been avoiding telling you something they've been excitedly telling others. I know it stung a little to find out that my family knew about my brother and his wife being pregnant (with twins, no less) for more than a week before he told me. I don't know how much of that was genuine avoidance, and how much was just happenstance, but it was still a little painful. It probably would have been a lot more painful, except I was just in complete shock that they were having another baby so soon (there daughter was about 7 months old), not to mention it being twins!
Anyway, I know that it will probably be awkward for you no matter what you do, and painful for her no matter what you do, but just the fact that you are thinking about her and her feelings and trying to break it to her as gently as possible mean a lot. There's really nothing worse for someone with IF than being told in front of a whole group of people that someone is pregnant and then having to fake happiness or flee the room. And honestly - I think most of us ARE happy for our more fertile friends. We just have to process our sadness for ourselves, too, and that can take time.
Good luck with whatever you decide!
Thanks so much to both of you for your thoughtful postings! It is really helpful to me. I really appreciate it.
I'd say phone. With email she could be at work which would be very difficult but on the phone you can make sure she is home and has support. Also she won't feel that your taking the easy way out.
Please try not to be too offended if she withdraws a little for a while. I find it very hard to be around pregant women but enjoy being around babies and love my firends who inviet me to children's parties, play parks etc. Some women would hate this but as more and more of my firends have kids I don't want my social life to vanish with my feritly. It's such a personal thing, I know this might be the only interaction with kids I get and want to enjoy it.
I know you wont want to gush about how great pregnacy is but also try not to moan or treat it like a big inconvience as it was be hard to feel like someone isn't appricating something you want so much (it's like going "isn't it so annyoing organising your finances after a lottry win?").