Preg­nancy news is tinged with loss

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: My hus­band and I just found out that I am preg­nant. We weren’t plan­ning this, but now that we’re over the shock we are very happy. This will be the first grand­child for both of our fam­i­lies, and we know our par­ents are go­ing to be thrilled.

How­ever, I’m ner­vous about telling my hus­band’s brother and his wife. They have been try­ing to have a child for more than five years. They’ve suf­fered through fer­til­ity test­ing and IVF, as well as a late-term mis­car­riage. It’s been in­cred­i­bly painful for them and for my hus­band’s whole fam­ily. Their last round of IVF ended only a few months ago, with­out suc­cess.

I know that they will be happy for us, be­cause they are in­cred­i­bly kind and lov­ing peo­ple. But I also know that this will bring up a lot of dif­fi­cult feel­ings for them.

How can we be sen­si­tive to them in an­nounc­ing and talk­ing about our preg­nancy? — WOR­RIED Dear Wor­ried: You are al­ready sen­si­tive to your in-laws’ sit­u­a­tion and are kindly con­cerned about them. But if you de­liver hugs and sym­pa­thy sobs along with your joy­ful news, this cou­ple will feel con­de­scended to and ex­posed. I think this news is best not de­liv­ered in per­son, where the cou­ple might also feel blind­sided and put on the spot.

You and your hus­band should email or call this cou­ple to tell them, “We’re let­ting you know be­fore telling other fam­ily mem­bers that we are preg­nant. We are both aware of what you have been through to try to build your fam­ily, and our news is tem­pered by our wish that you weren’t go­ing through this. We know you want the best for us, but we also want you to know that we com­pletely un­der­stand if you want to have some space or are not in­clined to cel­e­brate.”

There is no need to be hush­hush around them. Don’t apol­o­gize for your own good luck. But let them off the hook re­gard­ing baby show­ers, so-called “gen­der re­veals” (please, don’t have one), and any other baby-re­lated hoopla. They might want to par­tic­i­pate, or they might want to keep some dis­tance (pos­si­bly a lit­tle of both). No mat­ter what, you should be un­der­stand­ing and pa­tient. Dear Amy: I am a widow of three years, af­ter 40 years of mar­riage. I have no chil­dren.

Dur­ing my first year of wid­ow­hood, my friends and fam­ily checked on me of­ten and in­vited me places.

Those in­vi­ta­tions started to stop, so I asked to go places with them. Some­times they would say yes.

I have many in­ter­ests and par­tic­i­pate in them on my own. But I would like these friends and fam­ily to ask me to do things with them.

What I es­pe­cially dis­like is the post­ing of their ac­tiv­i­ties on so­cial me­dia. I re­al­ize that I am now an “odd” per­son.

I also re­al­ize that ev­ery­one has their own lives. Should I just learn to live with this? — LONELY Dear Lonely: This is your new-nor­mal, and to a cer­tain ex­tent, you will have to ad­just both to the feel­ing of ex­clu­sion, and to the need to build other newer re­la­tion­ships. If you have asked to be in­cluded and are be­ing re­buffed or over­looked, it might be best for you to “hide” so­cial me­dia post­ings that trig­ger your lone­li­ness.

It can be very chal­leng­ing to de­velop friend­ships later in life, but join­ing groups and/or vol­un­teer­ing where you are likely to meet peers will help. Mak­ing even one new and close friend will help to mit­i­gate your lone­li­ness.

I re­cently be­came aware of the term “el­der or­phan,” which de­scribes some­one in your cir­cum­stance. While I don’t par­tic­u­larly love this term, this phe­nom­e­non has been rec­og­nized be­cause it is ever-more-com­mon, and so­cial me­dia is help­ing peo­ple to con­nect. Con­sider join­ing the “El­der Or­phans” Face­book group (face­book.com/groups/el­deror­phans) to meet oth­ers who share this sta­tus and to com­mu­ni­cate about ways to sup­port one an­other.

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