A.J. ASKS…

Real Simple - - Relating -

I have a good friend who has strug­gled with in­fer­til­ity. She and her hus­band are try­ing to adopt, but the process is long and emo­tional. Sev­eral of our mu­tual friends are now ex­pect­ing. I know it’s been hard for her to hear the news of other preg­nan­cies. Now I am ex­pect­ing too, and I don’t know how to tell her with­out adding to her sad­ness. What can I do to bal­ance not hurt­ing my friend with en­joy­ing my preg­nancy and ex­cite­ment about start­ing a fam­ily?

Con­grat­u­la­tions! And thank you for tem­per­ing your joy with com­pas­sion for your friend. I think that ex­pan­sive­ness should al­ways come from the hap­pier per­son. So do tell your friend your news, since she’ll be sad and hu­mil­i­ated if you don’t, but ac­knowl­edge her mixed feel­ings: “I knew you’d be happy for us, but I can only imag­ine how heart­bro­ken you feel not to have your baby on the way yet.” In­vite her to talk to you, if she likes, about the adop­tion process, her grief, or the ways you can sup­port her. You might even con­sider email­ing your news—that way she can burst into tears or dowhat­ever she needs to do be­fore con­grat­u­lat­ing you. If she says, “I’m happy for you, but please un­der­stand if I don’t join all the cel­e­bra­tions,” you will un­der­stand, be­cause that’s life: happy and sad, both at the same time.

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