Today’s post is how to cope when everyone around you is falling pregnant.
Isn’t that the way though, and it almost always happens, and it hurts. Big time.
See the thing is though, you’re most likely at that ‘falling pregnant’ age, and if you’re trying to fall pregnant and it’s not happening, chances are that’s a lot of time.
Although it hurt, I used to always joke, that, if everyone waited for us to fall pregnant, the human race could go extinct, because we didn’t know if it would ever be a reality for us.
Before I share my tips for how to cope when everyone around you is falling pregnant, I thought I’d start with an excerpt from my book:
The year before we’d began trying for a baby I was at the baby shower of a close friend, and she had another friend there, Annette. There were only three of us there who didn’t have children. One was me (who secretly in the back of my head had an inkling that we’d begin trying at 30), another friend who was single, and Annette.
I have clear vision of her saying “Oh yuck. Kids, no. Nowhere near that point.” And then one day at the supermarket I ran into her. And she was about eight months pregnant. My heart just sank, like the anchor of a ship dropping to the bottom if the ocean and crashing on the ocean floor. Of all the people in the world, and even though I didn’t know her that well, I think there was a part of me that thought that although everyone else around me was having children, at least she wasn’t there yet. And then she was.
I just panicked. She was having a baby too, just like everyone else. At that moment it felt like I was the only person in the world who didn’t have a child. I was truly alone. I had to get out of there. I could feel myself start to hyperventilate and my world started crashing down around me and I just blurted out “hi, oh congratulations, gotta run, sorry I’m running late for something,” and I turned, and walked straight out, trying to breathe and hold my tears in until I at least made it to the car. I raced home, walked through the front door and straight onto our bed, bursting into tears. This was awful. We were supposed to have children before her, and we were getting left behind. Ross heard me sobbing and came to the bedroom, and looked at me, confused and unsure of what he was supposed to do. I cried all the time, and so frequently that he felt helpless, and useless at comforting me.
I get it.
And it’s like everyone around you is rubbing in your face the one thing that you want, so here are six things to help you cope when everyone around you is falling pregnant.
People are ALWAYS going to say the wrong thing.
No matter what you do, no matter how much your friends and family love you, they’re always going to say the wrong thing. It’s just a fact of life.
Much the same as the fact that you possibly don’t know the right thing to say to someone who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, or Is going through a divorce or some other (shitty) significant life event.
And even if you think you DO know the right thing to say, chances are, unless you’ve gone through it, you may never quite nail it.
But you can help guide people to help make it easier on yourself.
First up, I am a true believer in telling people about your struggle. Not everything – telling people the detailed ins and outs just makes for a billion texts and phone calls wanting to know whether you’re pregnant or not at the end of a cycle, but letting people know in general about your struggle.
I found it much easier to deal with ‘how are you going?’ than ‘when are you planning on having kids?’
If you’re still unsure, then check out my second podcast where I talk more about whether or not to tell people.
And then, once people know, I highly recommend sending people out an email or a text with some info on what you’d like to discuss and not discuss, and how they can help you. When you send out an email, it gives you the opportunity to think really carefully about what you want to say, and gives you some time to craft responses when people email you back. Plus, if people send you really lovely, thoughtful responses, then you can save them and print them for when you have rough times.
I had a friend who sent out a big bulk email when her husband was diagnosed with Leukemia, and I thought it was a wonderful way to handle the situation and gave everyone time to process the information.
You also need to consider that people often won’t know themselves what to say or do and would LOVE you to give them some guidance.
There are benefits to being the last of your friends to have kids
Right now you’re probably like ‘get stuffed,’ but I want you to remember when you have kids (because stay positive – this WILL happen for you!) that Robyn said this, and think to yourself ‘yes!’
I was the last of my friends to have kids and I make no secret of the fact that motherhood hit me like a slap in the face. Seriously. I’d spent years dreaming of motherhood, but had never stopped to learn about what having a kid is actually like.
Like seriously, baby giraffes can pretty much stand up as soon as they’re born but baby humans are just like fully dependant blobs for SO long, and like what the what? Why can’t they just close their eyes when they feel tired and drift off to sleep?
And when I used to buy gifts for my mates who had kids, I never stopped to think about whether the season (i.e. Summer or Winter) would fit with the size of clothes the kids were wearing. I was probably out there buying them snow jackets when the size of clothing they were wearing at three months old was during the height of Summer. Doh!
And bringing a new mum a meal? Never considered it.
Aaaannnywwaaayy, when I had my bub, my girlfriends got it. Seriously they were rad.
I was given such thoughtful gifts, they all brought me meals and they got it (get it). They know all about sleep deprivation, they understand all about what kids are like and they can commiserate with you and offer advice if you need it.
Plus, having a baby puts the kibosh on heaps of things, like spontaneously going shopping or out to dinner, sleeping in etc, so there’s a chance to soak that all in for a little longer, while your friends are tied down with little ones.
Again, I’ve been in your shoes, so I know you’re probably like ‘just give me the baby, now!’ but you’ll remember this one later!
It’s time to reframe failure.
It’s really easy to be let down by every little failure, but I bet you weren’t bothered before you started trying, and I bet that (baby or no baby) life will be enjoyable for you when this season of life is over. It’s the trying, the failure of each cycle that is getting you down.
I bet that if a genie appeared and told you that you’d fall pregnant (for realz) in 2.5 years, you’d be like, ‘ok, sweet’, and life would return to what it was like before, amirite?
So maybe, all you need to do is reframe your perception of success, and rather than define it by a single cycle or a single year, consciously work on changing the goal posts a little.
Deal with your anxiety
It’s a heart stopper when someone announces their pregnancy to you publicly. I can feel those moments now as I’m typing this – short of breath, wanting to crawl in a hole and start bawling kind of moments.
Here’s the thing: they’re going to happen.
Big dinners with people who don’t know your story
Co-worker announcements (and #inyourface) pregnancies
So, my question to you is how are you going to deal with it? Do you have a plan of attack in place?
Do you have a song, or a mantra, or an action that you’ll take to help remind yourself it’s going to be ok?
Do you have any breathing exercises you can do to help you manage these moments?
Surf your own wave
This is a song by Kid Cudi – it’s got me hooked!
There is more to you though than this fertility struggle though I bet, and it’s easier said than done, but I’m here to remind you that you’re surfing your own wave.
You have your own journey to walk, your own path to take, your own challenges.
I always go back to the podcast I did with Gabriela Rosa, who said that for some people, our Achilles heel is our reproductive area. All of your friends, who are dropping babies like flies, probably have a physical or emotional weakness elsewhere, and we should never celebrate that, but we should acknowledge that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and that they may have other areas in their lives that are less than perfect.
In the song, it says “I’m too busy surfing my own wave” and so I also want to ask you, are you putting your life on hold too much in the pursuit of this baby, or are you still out there seizing the day?
You have a life.
You have passions.
You have desires.
And they shouldn’t be put on hold for a baby…. And truth be told, discovering a new passion might just be the thing that keeps you sane whilst it seems that everyone out there is procreating but you.
Feed off their energy
Last but not least, is the balance between keeping your distance and being around people who are having babies
Here’s the thing. I’m a big believer in energy.
Could you imagine if the only people you spent time with were people who couldn’t have children? I feel like that would be a pretty depressing scenario!
Because everyone would feed off the negative energy.
Pregnant people are generally happy.
They have a beautiful, positive energy.
They have what you want.
And being around positive energy can only be a positive thing in my opinion.
I’d be rubbing their bellies for good luck like a Buddha!
But I do also remember vividly times when I’d go out to coffee with my girlfriends, and the entire conversation would revolve around their children. They couldn’t help it, but I’d sit there the entire time, with no experience or ability to relate to their situation, and be constantly reminded of my desire yet inability to have a baby.
Know this. If you distance yourself from your friends and family a little while you’re going on this journey and spend time nourishing your body and mind instead, true friends and family will understand and allow you to pick up where you left off when you’re on the other side.
I think that if we can educate the people around us on what triggers us, and reframe failure, it will enable us to celebrate the successes of people around us without feeling that unimaginable sadness every time they do.
Hopefully the tips above can help you cope when everyone around you is falling pregnant, and make the time a little less sucky.
Patience grasshopper, your time is coming.