When trudging through any kind of infertility struggle, the pregnancy announcements will find you. It’s like the grand unveilings are a laptop and your brain is the source of all wi-fi. They usually come at the most inopportune times: family get-togethers, days at work when you’re at your lowest, or my personal favorite—the winter holidays.
You know that strange emotion you feel when you find out about yet another pregnancy? The sensation in which deep down, you really are happy for your relative, friend, or co-worker, but you’d rather scream your throat raw about how said parent-to-be doesn’t deserve to get pregnant over you? Yep, so do my wife and me. And sure, it’s selfish. But you know what? It’s normal.
When making your way through infertility’s minefield, consider taking the following steps to protect your sanity, especially when it seems like everyone else around you is getting pregnant with little to no trouble:
Say no to baby showers
Few events have the power to turn a festive, cheerful occasion into your own waking nightmare (one in which you’d probably feel the need to keep a constant, reassuring—and fake—smile on your face the whole time). If you find yourself emotionally unable to handle these otherwise glorious parties, you owe it to yourself to be honest with your friend/loved one and decline the invitation. If those celebrating the shower truly have your best interests at heart, they will not only understand, but support and empower you to take all the personal space you need to keep from subjecting yourself to further grief.
Unplug from social media
Another day, another scroll, another mega creative Facebook pregnancy announcement (because sonogram photos are just too passé in the 21st century). And then come the baby-bump pics. And the gender-reveal party pics. And the nursery-in-waiting pics. And eventually the newborn pics. And with each new unveiling, it’s like another little piece of your soul gets eaten away. Delete all social media apps off your phone, wipe out the shortcuts on your computer, and take a much needed breather until you’re really, truly ready to go back. Look, no one should ever be discouraged from excitedly gushing their good news online, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you to compulsively return to this medium for more self-inflicted torture.
Share the load with your spouse/partner
The person with whom you’re planning to parent should be your primary go-to as you walk this road. My wife and I knew going into our marriage that due to a rare uterine condition, we would be unable to conceive and carry a child to term. We thought our prior knowledge of this fact would make it easier to accept everyone getting pregnant around us while we navigated the adoption process. It didn’t. At all. I was so afraid my wife would think I blamed her or regretted marrying her that I swallowed more than a year of deep grief before I confessed to her how much bitter jealousy I’d been bottling inside. Instead of responding in anger and disappointment, she affirmed my emotions and admitted she felt the same way.
Over the next year, as we continued to walk the infertility journey, we grew so much closer as a couple and as best friends. It wasn’t easy, but we committed to being honest with each other throughout every step, which only served to solidify our foundation before we officially became the proud parents of two incredible girls through domestic adoption a few years later.