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Expecting…..and feeling let down by friends

February 21, 2011 | By | 6 Replies Continue Reading

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

I am six months pregnant, and moved to my current city 2½ years ago. I hadn’t had a chance to tell all my friends yet (many of whom are spread throughout the country), so I sent a "Happy Valentine’s Day" message to them, informing them of our impending family member, and asking them to "send good thoughts our way towards the end of June."

 

I received lovely congratulations from some friends, but three of them, who work at the company I used to work for, have not responded. I am stunned. I had heard from two of them a week before about a work-related matter. I received a "thank you" from the third for the birthday wishes I sent her. All three of these people were invited (and came) to our wedding, and one of them was in it, so it’s not as if we were merely "work" acquaintances.

 

Or were we? I certainly didn’t ask for gifts, and I thought it better to tell my friends now so they didn’t hurt their feelings and feel like I was leaving them out. So where did I go wrong?

Signed,
Lexi

 

ANSWER

Dear Lexi,

Congratulations! This has to be one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life and it’s natural that you would want to share this news with good friends.

 

A few thoughts:

You wrote to me only five days after Valentine’s Day so I think you need to give people a chance to respond. They may be busy, away from work, or even may not have had time to open your message let alone respond. There may be a note or card from them in the mail, they may be planning to call, or they may feel like they want to wait for the baby’s arrival.

 

I don’t know whether you texted or emailed your friends, or whether you sent individual messages or one message to the group, but it might be nice to follow up with a phone call, which is so much more personal.

 

Although I can understand how you feel, bear in mind that you may be overly sensitive right now. This lapse shouldn’t throw your whole friendship into question.

 

You certainly didn’t do anything wrong and so far, neither did they. I hope you’ll write back to me in a month or two and let me know what’s happened and if you still feel disappointed in your friends. I suspect things may turn around.

 

Wishing you good luck and happiness,

Irene

 
Other posts on The Friendship Blog that touch upon pregnancy and friendship:


The importance of showing up

The mother divide: Friends with children and friends without

Till kids do us part

 

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Comments (6)

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  1. Leslie says:

    I don’t know about your particular friends, but I can say as a person who is childfree by choice, I have a hard time responding to friends when they get pregnant. It’s not that I’m not happy for them. If it is something they genuinely want, then I truly am happy. However, I also know it’s going to affect the friendship so dramatically that it could mean the end. I’ve had a lot of friends over the years that I’ve lost because they no longer put any time or effort into friendships, etc. A lot of childfree people just assume that a pregnancy is the end of a friendship because we’ve been burned so many times. We get replaced with other moms who have kids the same age, etc. Personally, I have to sort of grieve the loss of a friend before I can congratulate them and honestly move on.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    Maybe your friends felt left out that you waited six months to tell them you were pregnant, especially having seen them a couple of weeks ago? Maybe they are delaying their response in turn, or just haven’t yet. Congratulations!

  3. Anonymous says:

    An announcement does not, by most etiquette standards, require a response. An invitation does, but not an announcement. If I received such an announcement from a work friend I may not necessarily respond. I might, by phone or email or otherwise, but I would not feel obligated to.

  4. Kathryn says:

    Do you know the circumstances of these people?

    My husband and i are childless. We will remain so. It is painful. I’m struggling to accept it.

    When i get news of someone’s impending pregnancy, i WANT to feel joy for them, but it takes some time to get over my very sarcastic reaction, “Oh, goody for you!” and “Well, isn’t that just precious” and a number of other things i wouldn’t say for the world. I don’t want to hurt the folks i care for (or anyone else), but this is still a very sore spot for me.

    It can take some time for me to get my head around your blessing and be happy for you because i’m struggling with feeling sorry for myself. I don’t like this about me, but it is where i am at. It is particularly hard if you got pregnant easily. We would have a 4-1/2 year old, a 3 year old & an almost 2 year old had miscarriage not be recurrent. Because of certain circumstances in our life, adoption/foster care is not possible.

    Sorry, i’m not trying to blast you, but there may very well be a reason at least one of them didn’t respond. Some folks don’t share infertility/pregnancy loss, but it might effect them just the same.

  5. Irene says:

    You make a good point. Sometimes, it is a jolt to friends when your life changes in significant ways.

     

    Best, Irene

  6. motherwarrior says:

    Congratulations. Sometimes it takes friends a while to get up to speed when it comes to the joy of family.

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