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Your Friends' Reactions

You probably have all kinds of friends: Some have kids, some want kids but haven't started trying, some have been trying and not having any luck, some want kids but haven't found a partner yet, some don't want kids.

How your friends react to your pregnancy will probably depend on which of those categories they fit in. Friends with kids will probably be excited. You'll have more in common now because moms never run out of stuff to talk about with each other; you're joining their club, and they're happy to have you. Friends with older children may not be as thrilled as parents of toddlers because they know that you'll be preoccupied with your baby and won't be as available as you were before; despite this, they'll probably still be happy for you. They may start telling you horror stories about problem pregnancies or difficult deliveries or colicky babies. If they do and it bothers you, stop them and say that you'd rather not hear such things. And remember, most people have a flair for the dramatic, so the story of the "five-day labor" needs to be put in perspective.

The friends who want to have children but haven't started trying to conceive yet may show an intense interest in your pregnancy. They may think of your pregnancy as a dress rehearsal for theirs. These may be the friends you can count on to exercise with you or accompany you to a medical test that your partner can't make. Share as much as you feel comfortable sharing with them.

Friends without children -- singles and couples who want to remain childless -- will think of your pregnancy as a mixed blessing. They're happy for you, but they wonder whether a baby will leave you any time for shopping, going to movies, and doing all the other things you've usually done together. This is a valid concern. Many couples who have a baby suddenly find they have little in common with their childless friends. Your friends are raving about the latest exhibit at the art museum, and you're raving about the great diaper prices at the nearby warehouse store. This is tough for everyone, and some friendships don't survive it. Others go into a dormant period that lasts until your baby is older and you have more time for socializing.

If you have a friend who is experiencing infertility, your pregnancy may make it difficult for her to spend time with you. Being with you may be a constant reminder that she can't have what she wants so much -- a baby -- and you can. It may be particularly difficult for her if you conceived easily. Every time someone else gets pregnant, an infertile woman feels more sadness and regret that she is not pregnant.

Think carefully of an infertile friend's feelings. Instead of springing the news of your pregnancy on her at a party full of people, for example, call her and tell her privately, in case it's difficult for her to hear. And if she starts to avoid you, be patient and don't hold it against her.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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