Big life moments often feel like they come in groups. At one point, it may feel like everyone you know is engaged, then you’re planning out one weekend after another with weddings, and, suddenly, baby showers are part of the plan.
Dealing with conflicting emotions
Many fertility patients know that it’s 100 percent possible to be happy for pregnant friends or family members, and also feel a deep sense of hurt/longing. It can be very taxing to attend gender-reveal parties and baby showers while struggling to conceive or undergoing fertility treatment. You want to be supportive of those who are having a baby, but it is impossible to ignore the fact that you desire what someone else has.
Being supportive to others during your own journey
Many fertility patients worry that they will be seen as unsupportive if they take steps toward self-care, like missing a gender reveal or sending a gift without attending the baby shower. How you choose to take care of yourself during times of stress is your decision, and honest conversations, though sometimes difficult, are often the best route to prevent misunderstandings.
How to speak honestly about how you feel
How much you reveal and to whom is your choice, as everyone’s comfort level with discussing their fertility is different. The goal is to be clear that you do not wish for anyone to feel guilty or uncomfortable about their pregnancy, that you are happy for them and only wish them the best. In doing so, you have to acknowledge that you have faced difficulty conceiving or perhaps endured a miscarriage or failed fertility treatment. And because of this, in order to ensure you are at your most supportive, you might decide not to attend certain activities.
It can be a delicate balance to convey your support while withdrawing your presence, but it may be favorable to attending an event that you experience with pain that you feel pressured to pretend to enjoy. Smiling through the emotional challenges of infertility might be familiar territory, but that doesn’t mean you need to RSVP for every opportunity to swallow your feelings.
Hopefully, your family members and friends will be compassionate and understanding. They know you, and they know that your lack of participation isn’t due to rudeness or disinterest in their growing family. At the end of the day, sending a gift with a kind note is going to be the better option than attending an event you sincerely struggle through. When you’re ready to be supportive in person, you’ll do so.