Ask Amy: Coping with complex feelings about others’ pregnancy

Dear Amy: I am a grown woman, in my 60′s, very happily married.

I have been infertile my entire life (that in itself is a long story) due to medical complications early in life and I have never handled the situation of my infertility well at all.

My husband has a grown son from his first marriage.

I recently struck up a friendship with a lovely younger woman. We have many things in common, despite the difference in age.

She is married and has a young child.

She has always said she only wanted one child, but recently has started talking about having a second.

If she does, I will be unable to be happy for her because I have never been capable of being genuinely happy for any expectant mother (because it never happened for me).

Please don’t recommend counseling. I have tried it in the past and it does not help.

I want to be happy for her, but I can’t, and this is breaking my heart.

– Can’t Get Past the Hurt

Dear Can’t Get Past: I wonder if a counselor has ever told you that it is not necessary for you to be happy (genuinely or otherwise) for a pregnant woman.

All you need to do is to accept it as a fact of this woman’s life, along with accepting the feelings this brings up in you.

One way to cope with challenging emotions is to recognize them when they arise, to accept the reasons behind them, and to allow yourself to feel them, understanding that they will subside.

It would help if you explained your history to your friend. You can tell her that pregnancy brings up complicated emotions for you.

If you find you are ruminating excessively (It sounds as if you are), then talking it through with a counselor really would be in order, even if you believe it hasn’t helped in the past.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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