As responsible young women, my girlfriends and I spent the earlier parts of our sexualized lives trying to not get pregnant. Fast forward past college, add on one more decade, and now that we’re in our 30’s most of us either have kids, are trying to have kids or are pregnant.
Despite the endless scroll of happily delivered babies on my FB feed, what’s been eye opening is learning about how difficult the process can be. Through my own experiences, and the experience of women around me, I’ve learned that we all have our own stories. From infertility to miscarriages to unwanted terminations to risky pregnancies and extremely dangerous deliveries and infant deaths, the struggles are real and heart breaking.
I wanted to broach this subject on the blog because in the last few years I’ve seen these struggles put strains on friendships. Things like harmless questions, insensitive remarks, a lack of self awareness, overall insensitivity and let’s be really honest here, raging hormones, can lead to hurt feelings and fights. And I believe those strains can be better avoided by being conscious, sensitive, and humble in a few specific ways.
When it comes to the friendships and pregnancy, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Some of your friends may be single or in a relationship of uncertainty. If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant and they haven’t made the marriage/life partner step, be sensitive to that. Try to avoid monopolizing conversations with your baby blinders.
2. It’s not easy for everyone to get pregnant or stay pregnant and you never know what someone may be going through (your BFF included). Be mindful and self-aware when it comes to the topic.
3. Refrain on judging friends who might not want to have kids. Just like it’s someone’s choice to try and get pregnant, it’s theirs not to.
4. Avoid pregnancy gossiping including speculated infertility (Beyonce and Amal included). Again, you never know what someone is going through.
5. Be aware of the way you talk about your own baby victories (“I got pregnant right away!)” and/or hardship (some people may strongly disagree with choices you’ve made for religious reasons or otherwise).
6. If you go out with a friend who usually drinks and she isn’t drinking be mindful that:
- A. She very well may be pregnant. If she doesn’t tell you, it’s because she isn’t ready for whatever reason. Let her tell you when she’s ready or perhaps has clearance from her doctor to share the news.
- B. It doesn’t always mean she’s pregnant. She very well could be struggling with fertility and has been told to lay off the booze through her process.
- C. She may have recently lost a pregnancy and isn’t drinking for a variety of reasons.
- D. She simply isn’t drinking. Stop speculating!
Bottom line, if you are in this drink situation, take their lead and respect their privacy. Don’t under any circumstance, congratulate them based on your speculations. Especially with a toast.
7. If you’re pregnant and are around girlfriends that aren’t pregnant/don’t have children it doesn’t mean they haven’t been pregnant before so be cautious if you find yourself trying to educate others on what it’s like to be pregnant (“the first trimester was awful, you’ll see!”).
8. If you have friends that you know are struggling with pregnancy and you get pregnant, be kind when communicating your great fortunes. If you’re having second thoughts about telling them at all, remember that they will find out and it may hurt their feelings that they weren’t included. Honesty is the best policy.
9. Delivery choices can be contentious topics and often people feel strongly about these things. It’s not always your place to push your opinion or agenda on anyone.
10. If you know a friend is going through pregnancy struggles and aren’t sure what to do to show support, a handwritten note sent in the mail along with a little memento that helped get you through a rough time is always kind. For example, a little charm, a crystal, your favorite mix-tape or a poem.
If you have any recommendations on honoring friendships and pregnancy, please share them in the comments? We can all learn from one another. XX
Photo: The Fashion Sight