Today on the podcast I want to share some real strategies for coping when all of your friends are falling pregnant and you feel like you no longer have anything in common with them. It’s like you’re being left behind in life and you’re losing the people you were once close with… and kind of feeling a bit ghosted at the same time.
1. Recognise that we all have seasons in our lives
We all have our own shit to deal with. You need to recognise that you’re not the only one that’s struggling. Your friends will be struggling with other things in their lives and the other thing is you don’t know who will, later in their journey, will have secondary infertility. They will suffer from a lack of sleep and time, because they’re already dealing with another little person and they weren’t yet prepared in how to manage the hardships of not falling pregnant, of things not working and having to undergo multiple retrievals etc. You never know which friends will be struggling in the future and may come to you for advice as a mentor and for support.
2. Tell them you still want to be invited to things
Tell people what your expectations are, be really clear. Tell them you still want to be invited to things even though you may not be capable of attending at the time. There’s nothing worse than finding out that everyone’s caught up without you and you’ve been left behind because they might be thinking it’s in your best interests. Be upfront to avoid straining your friendship. Tell people what you expect and be direct about it, even if you’re not a direct person. Work at it, you can do it!
3. Ask for advance notice by message or SMS if someone is going to make an announcement
There’s nothing worse than being present at a public pregnancy announcement when it’s caught you off guard. Ask your friends to let you know if they ever announce a pregnancy to let you know beforehand, so that you can cope with it in private. Explain to them that you want to be happy for them in the moment and that you don’t want them to see the ugly emotions that can come with infertility. Tell them that you’ll truly be happy for them if they find success, but this will be helpful for you. Explain to your friend that by doing this, it will also allow me to make sure I’m bringing my best self to you.
4. It’s OK to distance yourself from your friends and your family
Sometimes friendships are like boomerangs and like I’ve already mentioned in number one, we all have our seasons. If you can maintain those relationships at a distance, you may come full circle and be at a similar stage of life one day. Don’t be afraid to distance yourself a little bit, don’t be afraid to turn down invitations but still let people know you care, sending them a message every now and then while protecting your own emotional and physical energy. If being around a certain friend is draining your energy, feel calm knowing that true friendships are made to last and can withstand seasons when you’re not as close with each other.
5. Be happy for them. Buy them food, and coffee even if it hurts
Even if it really hurts, you need to still be a good friend. Good friends bring or buy food for their friends who are in their early stages of motherhood. It’s a great way to maintain or repair relationships and be a good friend, even if you feel really sad for yourself at the same time. It’s OK to feel that way.
6. Nobody can wait forever for you
There was no guarantee that I was going to fall pregnant EVER, so if everyone waited for me to have children they’d be waiting for a very long time! It’s something to just repeat to yourself and a little mindset to have–we can’t expect people to wait for us (they probably wouldn’t anyway), but they could be waiting a very long time.
7. Go out and reclaim your life
What have you been putting on hold for this journey? Stop! There are so many aspects to your life, there is so much more to you and you have so many chapters, layers, skills, hobbies and passions that I don’t want you to put on hold for this journey. What have you sacrificed for this journey? Don’t suck out all the good things that were keeping you happy and making you feel fulfilled in life in pursuit of this one thing that may make you feel fulfilled. What you’re left with will make you feel really low, even more lonely and even more left behind on your journey. You cope so much better on your journey when you have other positive things going on in your life.
8. Find new friends!
If you find yourself only hanging out with your friends who are all mothers, get out there girl and find some new friends! If you’re in Perth, join the Fertility Warriors Support + Chat Group, go to the Chats tab and find the Perth group, where you can catch up with other warriors! But you don’t just need to catch up with people within your infertility community, you can take up new hobbies and meet people that way. You can go along to a Yin Yoga class and pluck up the courage to introduce yourself to someone and invite them for a coffee after class next week, go out with your work colleagues, find out a little bit more about your neighbours. There’s so many ways to meet new people. I really encourage you to get out there and do that even though I know it’s scary! When we get out of comfort zone, that’s how we grow and that’s when we change.
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