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My Friend is Pregnant and I’m Not…Anymore

Jul14

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Hey Amalah!

Advice Smackdown ArchivesI’ve been reading your sites forever, and lurve you. and your wiseness/amazing ability to solve problems! This is my problem.

A few of my friends have recently found out they were pregnant. I did the cootie dance and doubled the B/c, but to no avail, Surprise surprise, the pregnancy bug hit. I wasn’t that thrilled when I found out, but I did get happy about it a few days later. Because I couldn’t remember when my last menstrual was, I got to see the Doctor earlier then the usual 8-12 weeks. And we saw a sac. with nothing in it. Not to worry, said the doctor, its probably too early to see anything. Fast forward a week and two betas, and I’m back in the stirrups, and now, the doctor sees a blobby thing. Hmmm says the Doctor. I am sent to the big high-tech ultrasound place at the local radiologists office that day. hmmm says the tech. (This is not my first baby, and obviously, even I can tell that there is no heartbeat on the weird blobby thing). I can’t tell you anything, says the tech, you have to call the doctor and he will give you the results.

The results were not good.

Fast forward ANOTHER week and I’m in the O/R having a D and C for a suspected molar pregnancy( a week from tomorrow will be a full week since). Which was, to say the very least, not pleasant…even with general anesthesia.

One of my friends was incredibly supportive and watched my children all during the day of and the day after the procedure. That friend, such a good friend(!) is one of the friends who is pregnant. And today, she and her husband found out that they are having a girl. Which YEA! but also, poor me.

I want to be supportive and helpful and all “how are you feeling?” and “is it moving?”, because I love her, it’s the right thing to do, and I’d be an incredibly shitty friend if I didn’t.

But still. OW.

I know, count my blessing, I already have two perfectly healthy children… blah blah cakes. I do not want to be this mean girl!

How can I stop feeling so sorry for myself and enjoy my friend’s pregnancy?

Thank you!
AC

Bear with me for a second here — I’m diving right into writing today before my coffee has fully kicked in — but do I really have this timeline right? That you are only ONE WEEK past your D&C and you are already beating yourself up over…feeling sad about your D&C? You are already beating yourself up over being a “shitty friend” and a “mean girl” because you can’t quite yet muster up a ton of HAPPY SHINY FUN LOVE YAY over someone else’s pregnancy…ONE WEEK after losing your own?

Screw counting your blessings. Screw all that stuff about it being a surprise pregnancy and maybe not even initially what you wanted. Screw putting on a big fake happy front. You go ahead and let your sad flag fly, girlfriend.

(Okay, I can’t really pull off “girlfriend,” can I? Even I’m laughing at myself now. Loser.)

You say this pregnant friend is a good friend. She sure sounds like it. And if she is a good friend, trust me, SHE UNDERSTANDS. She’s probably wondering how to make her pregnancy easier on YOU, and what she should say to YOU. Trust me, I’ve gotten this question from HER side of the table — the “I’m pregnant but my best friend miscarried/can’t conceive/etc.” side of the table — more than a few times already.

It’s okay — and perfectly natural — for you to just BE SAD right now. And disappointed, and a little shaken or traumatized by the experience. Fighting those feelings just because you feel obligated to engage in fun pregnancy banter with a friend is not going to help anyone. She’s probably waiting to follow your lead — she’ll bring up the pregnancy only if you ask, and right now I’m sure she’ll understand if you DON’T ASK. Because IT’S ONLY BEEN A WEEK.

(Coffee kicked in! And I continue to shriek ONE WEEK ONE WEEK ONE WEEK in all caps!)

She just found out the sex of her baby, which means she’s probably about 20 weeks or so? She’s only halfway through this; there is plenty of time for you to pull back from the pregnancy talk and put down the knitting and maybe just ask her to come over and watch Steel Magnolias with you while you sniffle on the couch and feel sorry for yourself while Sally Field chews on the scenery in the graveyard.

By allowing yourself to feel sad, you’ll greatly increase your chances of feeling better and more accepting later — maybe in time to help plan a baby shower, but maybe not, but I’m still sure she’ll understand. Again, even though this lost pregnancy was a surprise and not uber-wanted right off and even though there technically wasn’t ever an actual baby to lose (since it was molar), you are not mean or selfish or shitty by mourning the lost potential, the lost idea. You are human. So please. PLEASE. Give yourself permission to grieve. Your friend will still be there when you’re done. And chances are she probably wants to be there for you through the process right now, too.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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12 Responses to “My Friend is Pregnant and I’m Not…Anymore”

  1. crabbyappleseed Jul 14 at 4:38 pm Reply Reply

    ohhh, AC. I am so sorry for your loss.

    And I agree 100% w/Amalah. This friend sounds like a very good friend. She’s not mad that you’re not rushing out and buying frilly dresses for her baby girl, offering to paint the nursery, helping her build a baby registry, you name it. Don’t be so hard on yourself! This is such a difficult thing, what you’re going through.

  2. NinaN Jul 14 at 4:46 pm Reply Reply

    Not much advice to add to this one. I think Amalah has you covered. Just wanted to say that my third pregnancy was a molar. And it sucked. Even though I was freaked out about having a third when I already had a 3 and 2 year old, and completely denied that I was pregnant until my hubby forced me to take a test when my period was 3 weeks late. I then had spotting at my bf’s wedding (yay) and everything went downhill from there. So it kinda sucks that her wedding anniversary is forever remembered to me as the night “IT” all began.
    But on the happier side, we now are expecting our third. A boy to balance out our two girls (who are now 6 and 5, cause we were in NO hurry after that whole experience).

  3. amber Jul 14 at 5:08 pm Reply Reply

    I have been there and it IS hard. I lost my first pregnancy at 11 weeks, had a D&C the next day, and then had to somehow exist in a world that seemed FULL of other pregnant women…at work, in my circle of friends, relatives, people in the stores or wherever I happened to go… I felt like I couldn’t escape it. It was hard to be happy for them at that moment, but it will get better. I promise. My advice to you is the same as what Amy said: Honor your feelings. It’s TOTALLY okay to call your friend and say, “Today I’m having a hard time and am sad and I would love your support and friendship right now.” It’s also okay to say, “You’re a dear friend and I love you, but I am having a hard time and I need you to know and understand that.” And if she’s a true friend, and it sounds like she is, you’ll get through it together day by day. I am so sorry for your loss – I wish you and your family all the best. :)

  4. Melissa Jul 14 at 8:45 pm Reply Reply

    Amy is spot-on with the advice. You have are completely and fully allowed to be sad and it’s more than ok that you’re just not feeling as excited as you wish you were about your friend’s pregnancy. The fact that you’re even aware of it makes you an amazing friend.

    When I was about 6 months pregnant, a guy at my office announced he and his wife were expecting. Yay! So excited for them. A week later, I heard that his wife lost the baby. Spent the rest of my pregnancy feeling bad how my enormous belly was probably a very sad reminder for him about the baby he lost. And even now that my son is 6 months old I STILL feel bad around him. But him? He’s the picture of grace. Don’t know how he does it. Asked about the pregnancy; asks about the baby. Way, way more than I would have ever expected, or think that I could have done, had the roles been reversed. So trust me, your friend understands, and she likely wants to do everything she can to make you as comfortable as possible. And being pregnant herself, she probably understands how devastating a loss like yours can be.

  5. EmilyG Jul 15 at 9:06 am Reply Reply

    My SIL and I were pregnant at the same time. I lost mine at 16 weeks and she went on to have a healthy baby boy. She was amazing about the whole thing– she called and cried with me and didn’t expect me to be the picture of happy support for her. Of course you are sad– and I agree with the other commenters that your friend might have a deeper understanding of your loss because she is pregnant. Amalah is right– don’t be so hard on yourself.

  6. Lisa Jul 15 at 10:17 am Reply Reply

    Huh. It must be in the air. Even though I’m 6 cycles out from my prolonged m/c and then d&c, it still feels like it’s just last week. Each new cycle brings the reminder of the loss. And the repeated failure. Like you, I have a wonderful daughter, but I’m still missing the idea of her sibling. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself time, it will get better.

  7. b Jul 15 at 12:04 pm Reply Reply

    Totally agree- I was in your friend’s place when I was pregnant with my first. My friend ended up having a miscarriage a few days after I shared my good news. It was tough- I felt like I stuck out like a big sore thumb and was more concerned about how she was doing. While she was thrilled for me, she also requested some time alone to process everything- which I totally understood. She’s pregnant now with her second- and we’re just as close as we were before.

  8. Bridget Jul 16 at 9:34 am Reply Reply

    One of my best friends and I got pregnant the same week (!!!)
    Then I miscarried.
    I got pregnant again 2 months later. Then she lost both of her babies – twins – at 21 weeks.
    Oh God that was a shitty few months all around. She was great and asked about the pregnancy, and I was careful to not flaunt my pregnancy in her face. She told me that she wasn’t going to be able to handle coming to my baby shower, and I totally understood. – We were just honest with each other. We cried together a lot, and that was okay too. She was pregnant again before I had my son, and she has a gorgeous little boy now too :)

  9. Eileen Jul 22 at 8:37 pm Reply Reply

    If this friend is a good friend, she will understand and be sensitive and not be the least be offended. Right before I was finally going to “go public” that I was pregnant, a friend and coworker found out the baby she was due to adopt in about a month wasn’t going to happen (mom went with another couple). I was terrified to even tell her I was pregnant because I knew how sad and disappointed she was. She was happy for me, but has kept her distance for sure, and I’m totally fine with that, knowing what a disappointment she has suffered.

  10. Maaike Jul 23 at 2:13 pm Reply Reply

    Dear AC, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I agree with Amy’s advice and I want to share something with you: Between 2004 and 2006 I lost 5 pregnancies. A few years (years!) later my best friend got pregnant. I was genuinely happy for her, and yet it was still painful and difficult for me. This was several years after I lost my pregnancies. AC, you lost your little one a week ago. There is no way you can be ‘over’ such a devastating loss in so little time. I too had the guilty questions: Am I being a good friend to my pregnant friend? Am I not casting a shadow on her joy with my grief? Am I being selfish? It was my pregnant friend who taught me not to think that way. What really helped us and our friendship was to be open about our feelings from the start. She often asked me how I was feeling about her pregnancy, and I asked her how she felt being faced with my grief while being so happy about her own pregnancy. We were both very honest about our feelings, the good ones and the bad. Towards the end of her pregnancy I really began to enjoy it, and I was thrilled when her son was born. Still, I also cried some tears at the raw pain of not seeing my own children being born and enjoying every new day of their lives with them. I felt both feelings at once, the joy and the pain, which is very normal. But again, AC, this was years after I lost my babies. A week after my miscarriages I was still staring out the window with puffy, red eyes, hugging a pillow. Life moved on, which felt totally strange to me. I just wanted everything to stop. Laundry? Dishes? I just wanted to sit and stare, or walk aimlessly through the house. It was deeply painful to empty the dryer, and to realize that when I had put the laundry into the dryer I had still been pregnant. I felt so empty and strangely quiet inside. Everything that reminded me of my pregnancy or the babies could make me break down in tears. AC–you are in a very early stage of this mourning process. Give yourself time. Lots of it. Months! You are expecting far too much of yourself by wanting to just ‘put aside’ your grief already. Don’t do it. Love yourself, and do something to make yourself extra comfortable (I did warm baths with rose oil and a lovely book, or snuggling on the couch with hot cocoa and a nice movie). You need to be there for you now. I am sending you lots and lots and lots of love, and a big hug, Maaike

  11. Lynn Jul 23 at 2:28 pm Reply Reply

    Gosh, this really hit home. My friend and I were pregnant at the same time, due six weeks apart. Hers was planned, mine was unexpected. I already have five children, but I warmed up to the idea. Our pregnancies dominated every conversation. We idealized a world where our babies were best friends and went to schooll together. My routine ultrasound at 12 weeks showed a fetus with no heartbeat and further tests indicated a partial molar pregnancy. Within a week, I had a D&C and my womb was empty. I could not talk to my friend for weeks. I avoided her at all costs. I just couldn’t look at her growing belly. It didn’t help that I had to go to my OB’s office every week for blood tests to make sure the mole wasn’t growing. I realize now I just needed time to feel my own loss and work through it. It took me several months to process my grief. Now that she’s due in two weeks, I can be happy for her. I’m even planning her baby shower this weekend. I think everyone just processes the loss differently, some need more time than others. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

  12. AC Jul 27 at 11:09 am Reply Reply

    Thank you Amy, for answering my question! and uber-fast too! Most awesome! I’m feeling so much better lately, and my friend and I are still pretty tight. Ok, I’ll admit that her last prego picture kind of bummed me out, but if I call, I know she would be in my driveway in three seconds flat, no matter what. And I have been able to talk about her pregnancy with her and ask how she feels, and those little pangs of oww are getting smaller everyday.
    Thank you again for answering my question!
    AC

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