How to Cope When Everyone Around You is Pregnant

By Alice Domar, PhD
Executive Director
The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF

 

Within an hour of checking my email this morning, I already had three emails from patients of mine who had learned of the pregnancies of friends over the weekend. Each email was full of despair and the main theme of each was the same:

“Why is everyone but me getting pregnant?”

I wish I had a magic answer/solution/antidote because the pain of others’ pregnancies seems so widespread, yet you rarely hear anyone talking about it. I guess jealousy is considered a sin.

When a friend, co-worker, or even worse a close relative conceives, etiquette dictates that you be happy for them. And part of you probably is! You wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone you like. So it’s not that you don’t want them to be pregnant (well, maybe you do for some of them and that’s ok), but you want to join that club more than anything in the world.

So how to best maintain your sanity when faced with a pregnancy announcement?

Here are some basic rules:

  1. If you feel comfortable, tell the person that you are happy for them but since you are facing a struggle building your own family, could they please leave you off their pregnancy email/Facebook pregnancy updates
  2. Support them to the best of your ability but don’t do anything which makes you feel sad or resentful. Do not under any circumstances host a baby shower. Contract a stomach virus the day of the shower.
  3. For a baby gift, go online and order some of your favorite kid books. Do not even think about going into a baby boutique.
  4. Focus on your own infertility journey. Remind yourself of everything you are doing to increase your chance of conceiving a healthy baby.
  5. If all else fails, use humor. What happens if that baby inherits the dad’s nose or mom’s ears? 
  6. Remind yourself that you don’t want their baby. You want your baby!

Remember that their pregnancy has no bearing whatsoever on your chances. There is no annual pregnancy limit in your office, town, or family.

But most of all, know that feeling sad and envious after hearing about someone else getting pregnant is totally normal. You are not a bad person because you feel this way.

ABOUT ALICE DOMAR, PhD

Alice D. Domar, PhD is a pioneer in the application of mind/body medicine to men’s and women’s health issues. She not only established the first Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health, but also conducts ongoing ground-breaking research in the field. Her research focuses on the relationship between stress and different women’s health conditions, and creating innovative programs to help women decrease physical and psychological symptoms.

Dr. Domar received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Health Psychology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Ferkauf School of Professional Psychology of Yeshiva University. Her post-doctoral training was at Beth Israel Hospital, Deaconess Hospital, and Children’s Hospital, all in Boston.

She has conducted research on infertility, breast cancer, menopausal symptoms, ovarian cancer, and premenstrual syndrome. Dr. Domar has earned an international reputation as one of the country’s top women’s health experts.

She is currently the Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, and the Director of Mind/Body Services at Boston IVF. She is an assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, and a senior staff psychologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. Domar has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments as a best-selling author, media authority and sought-after public speaker. She is the author of numerous books, on the advisory board for Parents Magazine, Health Magazine, Conceive Magazine, and Resolve, and on the Board of Experts for LLuminari. Two of her books have been finalists for the Books for a Better Life Award. She was also the Series Editor for a series of mind/body books by Harvard Medical Publications/Simon and Schuster. She is the narrator of the DVD’s “Stress and Relaxation Explained” and “Infertility Explained”, both of which won silver Telly Awards.  Dr. Domar has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Dateline NBC, CNN, PBS, and the CBS and NBC Evening News, to name a few. She presents lectures and conducts workshops throughout the US and around the world and went on tour with Oprah in the spring of 2004 and 2005 with the LLuminari team. Dr. Domar was named to the prestigious list of 15 “Women to Watch in 2004″ by Lifetime TV. Her newest book is “Be Happy Without Being Perfect” (Three Rivers Press, March, 2009) and she is currently working on a new book, co-authored with Dr. Susan Love, called “Live a Little” (Crown, December, 2009). She is also a featured expert on the new online social health network BeWell.com.