The worst part about checking the mail used to be expecting bills; now you have the same feeling in your stomach when you receive a baby shower invitation. You can’t go to the grocery store or the park without seeing a dozen baby bellies. Every time you hear about a teen mom you want to explode with frustration. Are any of these scenarios familiar? For anyone who has been trying to conceive for a while, the feeling that everyone else around you is pregnant can threaten to overwhelm you. Here are a few principles to help you protect your own well-being while still sharing in the joy of the moms-to-be you encounter.
Don’t Be Afraid To Put Up Some Boundaries
There is no law or standard etiquette that says you have to attend every baby shower for which you receive an invitation. If sitting in a room full of people talking about nothing but childbirth and newborns sounds like emotional torture, then send a gift and write your friend a nice note. On the other hand, if you feel like going and the party is honoring someone you are close to, attend but feel free to remove yourself from uncomfortable situations and refill your punch glass. The same is true of other social gatherings where a number of pregnant women will be together. If you know that the conversation will be dominated by baby talk, then give your heartfelt regrets and do something life-giving, like a date with your husband or a long bike ride. Above all, trust your gut and don’t get bound up by the expectations of others.
Remember That Everyone Has A Story
When you are desperately looking for happy pregnancy news from one month to the next, it’s easy to feel like everyone else is able to conceive in a matter of days. But below the surface, acquaintances and even friends might have struggled through miscarriages, infertility battles of their own or other medical hardships. Nearly every person you meet has encountered loss or grief in some capacity and even if you never learn their entire story that fact can help when joyful pregnancy announcements seem to dominate the landscape. Imagine how things would be different if you, and the people around you, were more transparent about their journeys.
Stay Connected With Others Who Understand
The evidence around you might suggest otherwise, but there are truly plenty of others who understand the painful pitfalls that mark the journey of infertility. A good friend who is either going through it herself or has been there in the past is an invaluable resource – keep her on speed dial for the moments when you feel like you are under assault from happy pregnancy news. A loving sister, mother or best friend will hear your frustration with a patient, listening ear anytime, even if you need to get some fresh air during a baby shower. And online communities for infertility support are invaluable when you need solidarity.
As you continue trying to conceive, remember these 3 keys to staying sane when the world seems unfair. Do you have any additional tips to share?