Fertility & Struggling to Conceive
There is nothing like a new baby to turn your world on its head. When you're plunged into the all-consuming maze of sleepless nights and dirty nappies, it leaves little time for your friendships. Friends have to take a backseat to antenatal classes, baby yoga and night feeds, and if that friend is struggling to conceive herself, your bundle of joy can push her even further away.
When Fertility Fractures Your Friendship
Our experts reveal how to mend the most common friendship fractures caused by fertility.
She's pregnant, and you want to be ( Aisling Killoran of Conceive with ease can help you get into a positive mindset in helping you get pregnant.
Your best friend is pregnant, and while you want to be delighted for her, your own struggle to conceive makes it hard to see her growing bump. Sound familiar? Fertility Baby envy is increasingly driving a wedge between 30-something women, and for the friend left struggling to conceive, it can throw up some pretty uncomfortable feelings. "If you are struggling to conceive, seeing a friend radiant with that pregnancy glow can send you from joy to jealousy in a flash," warns counsellor Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, co-author of Friends Forever: How Girls and Women Forge Lasting Relationships. "You may view her expanding belly as a reminder of your own failure to conceive." It's natural to want to pull back, but be upfront with your friend if that's the case. "Let her know that while you are truly thrilled for her, it is painful for you. A good friend will be able to empathise with where you are and your struggles," says Suzanne.
You're Pregnant, And She Wants To Be
From the moment 35-year-old Aine* saw the clear blue line on her home pregnancy kit, she couldn't wait for the three-month mark to tell all her friends the exciting news that she was expecting her first baby. All except one that is. Her best friend, Carla*, had been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for eight years, and the thought of breaking the baby news to her filled Aine with dread. "I was a bag of nerves beforehand," says Aine. "She didn't take the news well and burst into inconsolable tears. I felt for her as I know how much she's longed to be pregnant, but part of me was resentful that she was taking the shine off what was supposed to be a really happy time for me." The gulf between the friends grew throughout Aine's pregnancy. "I didn't want to appear like I was rubbing salt in her wound, so I steered clear," says Aine.
"It's normal to be excited about your pregnancy; however, it is also normal for someone who wants what you have to be envious or resentful," says Suzanne. Be sensitive to her feelings, advises Suzanne. "Make time for her and consciously focus on what is going on in her life."
She Feels You've No Time For Her Since You Had A Baby
It's not that you're deliberately neglecting your friendship, but when it takes you three nappy changes and two changes of clothes to get out of the house, even meeting your friends for a coffee can seem like an impossible task. For your friend, getting used to having a baby as a third wheel in your friendship will take some adjustment on her part. Suzanne says, "When your friend complains that she hardly sees you, consciously find ways to include her in your social life, as different as it may now be. Walking the baby, visiting baby‑friendly restaurants, and taking strolls through the park are all activities that can be shared with the new baby and your friend."