Knowing what you know about friends and acquaintances, it’s sometimes hard to find the right way or time to share happy news, when you understand the impact it will have on other people that you love.
Earlier this week, when I announced that we were expecting twins, it was news I posted with a mixture of excitement, but also apprehension. As my life as a mother goes on, I meet more and more people for whom the baby journey is challenging, painful, delayed, hard work, impossible, even. It isn’t always about thrilling news, grainy scan pictures, painted nurseries and tiny newborn clothes – sometimes it’s about loss and heartache. Balancing the knowledge of this, with your own much-longed for happy news, is very, very hard.
Having had our own share of false starts, I know how difficult it is to see ‘baby announcements’ on social media, to hear happy news and feel nothing but despair. A friend who is trying to get pregnant recently said to me, fear etched on her face: “If we can’t have children, I’ll have to quit social media. I couldn’t stand it.” The horror of having to watch over and over again as people added to their families while hers stayed resolutely small, was too much to contemplate.
And it doesn’t matter how much you love your friends and want the best for them, the challenges you are facing are enormous and scary and sad. The lack of babies in your own life is only enhanced by the increase of them in everyone else’s. You feel like you’re being left behind. And it’s not selfish to feel like this, it’s just human.
There isn’t a solution either – with the good often comes the bad, and social media is a force for sharing (and over-sharing) that cannot be stopped. But, still, it’s good to be aware that these things are hard to hear for some people. And that, if you can, acknowledging that pain really helps. It made the world of difference to me during tougher times that people understood that things were hard. Their ability to say: “I’m sorry, this must be a bit shit for you,” meant the world. And eased the pain.
So, don’t be afraid to share good news, but don’t be reticent about sharing your understanding of how hard it is for others too.
Sending love to all those people dealing with baby loss, uncertainty and frustration…you are never far from our thoughts.