Pregnancy and Friendship - Part II

You've been trying to get pregnant and envy your friends who are.

Posted Sep 13, 2014

What happens when a friend announces that she is expecting a baby, and you feel envy because you have been trying for some time? Depending on how long you have been trying to get pregnant may determine just how this scenario plays out. If you have spent months or years dealing with fertility treatments and scheduled sex with your partner, seeing a friend radiant with that pregnancy glow can send you from joy to jealousy in a flash.

If she is a good friend and she knows your circumstances, be up front with her. Let her know that while you are truly thrilled for her, it is painful for you to see her expanding belly – some women feel it is a reminder of their own failure as a female. In her own state of happiness and in obsessing about the pregnancy, she may be oblivious to any insensitive remarks she has made in your presence. A good friend will be able to empathize with where you are and your struggles. If she seems to be flaunting her joy and happiness in your face and appears insensitive to your pain, then it may be a friendship that has run its course or needs to be put on hold. You may let a natural distance arise between the two of you. If you feel unable to put your envy or resentment aside, this is no reason to “punish” a friend; this is your issue and just as you recoil from friends who seem to flaunt their fertility, don’t intentionally aggravate others by playing the martyr because you haven’t yet conceived.

If you are committed to the friendship, you can definitely ride out this new transition in your friend's life and your relationship. “Baby hunger” is a primal type of desire and when you cannot satisfy it, you may begin to feel that every woman sporting a baby bump or pushing a stroller is on the enemy’s side and is taunting you with what you do not have. It hurts . . . a lot. However, if the friendship is one that is cherished and one that is worth fighting for, this means that you must fight your own personal demon and prioritize your needs. The state of your newly pregnant friend has absolutely nothing to do with your own circumstances; if you need her in your life, be the friend to her that you need her to be with you.

(You are invited to participate in a research study exploring adult friendship experiences. We are hoping to learn about the ways in which adults manage friendship conflict and the behaviors they value most in enduring relationships. If you would like to share your experiences, please click on the following link: Friendship Experiences Survey)