Post a sensitive pregnancy announcement
When Marijke Welch tried to get pregnant, she remembers how “painful” it could be to read friends’ pregnancy news on Facebook.
“Some pregnancy announcements didn’t affect me [but] others were a painful reminder of what I wanted so badly but didn’t want to achieve, “says the Melbourne-based social worker.
While she always “put on a happy face” and congratulated her friends, she says that at times they have contributed to her grief.
Marijke is not alone with this reaction, says Melbourne-based perinatal psychologist Dr. Emma Symes. Seeing pregnancy announcements on social media “can be very painful,” she says.
The announcement of a pregnancy is a compensation
So should all expectant parents think twice before happily announcing their news on social media, or should they consider a trigger warning as some online threads have suggested?
The answer is “more complicated” than that, says Dr. Symes.
She points out that pregnancy announcements are also “wonderful news for the conceived person / couple, and making the pregnancy public is often an important step in the transition to parenthood … especially after the often tentative first few weeks of early pregnancy”.
Rachel Kolar, 39, stood on either side of the fertility fence: As the mother of two sons, she previously experienced infertility and five miscarriages.
“I’ve always been happy about friends’ pregnancies,” says Rachel from Tarneit, Victoria.
She says she can understand that choosing words that acknowledge might be a good thing, but she ultimately believes that parents-to-be should feel free to party freely on social media.
For couples who are finally pregnant after suffering infertility or loss of pregnancy, this announcement can feel especially important. And you won’t always know when that happens: “People who announce their pregnancy on social media often don’t publicize their own struggles with loss or infertility, so people just see the happy shots of the happy mother or her happy couple. “says Dr. Symes.
Consider sharing the messages privately first
Ultimately, announcing a pregnancy is about finding a sensible balance, says Charise Deveney, senior clinical psychologist at a perinatal psychology practice in Sydney.
It is about “enabling the person to publish the news of a pregnancy in a way that is special and important to them, while at the same time recognizing and taking into account the experiences of others who receive the news,” she says.
How you do that?
For starters, Dr. Symes that it is a good idea to share your messages separately and privately with these friends.
It’s an approach that Marijke, 40, appreciated when she was struggling to get pregnant. Her friends signed up privately “either by text message or one-on-one” to give her their pregnancy news before announcing them online.
She says that experience definitely influenced how she shared the news when she finally got pregnant.
What to say to friends with infertility
When sharing your news with friends with infertility problems, it is important to acknowledge their sensitivity and sadness.
You can also tell them “your dilemma: that you are worried about annoying them, but also want to include them on your special messages,” says Dr. Symes.
This approach allows the person to take the time to process the messages and understand them privately, says Dr. Deveney.
“It also takes away the element of surprise from ending up on a social media post … in your news feed.”
You can also ask them how much they’d like to be involved in the pregnancy (and understand if they don’t want to attend your baby shower).
“Sometimes being allowed not to be involved (for now) is a relief for them [person] who is not pregnant, “adds Dr. Symes.
You could add this one line to your announcement …
When posting on social media, you may also want to add a line recognizing the feelings of those who may have trouble seeing your message.
“My suggestion is honesty and sensitivity in these posts: ‘We’re celebrating right now, but our hearts go out to anyone struggling with infertility or loss,'” says Dr. Symes.
Or take a sheet from actress Anne Hathaway’s book.
She announced her pregnancy by posting a belly photo with an Instagram caption that included the line: “… for anyone going through the infertility and conception hell, please know that it wasn’t a straight line about my pregnancies . I am sending you additional love. “
This can be a considerate feeling, especially since you don’t always know how your posts will be received by friends who may be having trouble privately.
Because, as Marijke explains, “we don’t always know when people are struggling with infertility and miscarriages and I never wanted to unintentionally inflict pain on someone or disregard their feelings”.
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