How can you be happy when other people get pregnant, and you don’t?

Jul 10, 2023

There are so many mixed emotions that come up on your fertility journey.  And they’re not little emotions either.  They’re the big chunky ones that don’t go away by “just thinking positively”.  On this journey, you experience the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows.  And after a while, it can become too much.  We reach breaking point, and we burn out, which means that we shut off and become numb.  There is no high or low after that - just a complete detachment and apathy.  Or if you’re anything like me, you revert to the surface emotions – the prime one being anger. 

We’re angry when other people get pregnant.  Which then leads us to feeling guilty, and punishing ourselves because what kind of person is angry that other people are happy?  We feel ashamed that we can’t be happy for them.  Especially when people keep saying to us – you can be happy for others, and sad for yourself.

Which begs the question - how the f*ck do you do that?  How do you separate out your emotions?

It’s hard, because the sadness is SO big.  And when it’s so big, it overshadows any other emotion that may be trying to come to the surface. But, like anything, just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.  And I know it’s possible because I see my clients achieve this state of separation.  If you haven’t gotten there, it’s not because you’re not trying hard enough – you are! But it’s not a place you can get to overnight.

Unfortunately, I was never able to achieve that split state - of being happy that someone else was pregnant, and sad that I was not.  Why? Because I kept on pushing the emotions down and relying on my anger to push me forward. The problem we face is that people keep telling us to be positive and hopeful and grateful.  This is toxic and is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Instead, they should be telling us that it’s ok to feel sad, and angry, and frustrated.

So how do you make space for the grief of this journey you’re on, and the gratitude for all the good things in your life? How do you make space for the hope that this month is the one that you get pregnant, and the fear that it’s not? And most importantly – how do you make space for the excitement and happiness of someone else getting pregnant, and the sadness that you are not? 

The first step is to concentrate on the heavy emotion first. And for most of us who have spent our lives brushing the “negative or hard” emotions to the side, or pushing them down, that can be a hard pill to swallow. You may even be feeling some resistance to me saying this.  It doesn’t feel good.  But this is the only way to get to that space of feeling the lighter emotions too.

We essentially need to offload the harder emotions, in order to make space for the gratitude, hope, excitement and happiness. I always look at our emotions and mind like the storage capacity on your phone. Just like that annoying reminder that keeps coming up on my phone telling me that I have insufficient storage space, and have to delete something before I take another photo, our mind is exactly the same. We only have a certain amount of mental space before we head into that numb territory – where we disconnect and shut down.  And instead of squeezing out the hope, happiness and excitement (which is what we usually do, because we don’t want to face the negative shit), we need to delete the hard stuff.  

So how do you delete it?  We need to feel them.  Yep, sorry.  The cure for grief is to grieve.  The cure for sadness is to feel sad.  The cure for anger is to feel angry.

I’ve written a number of blogs on this previously, so here are a couple you can refer to for further support –

How to grieve –

How to release the anger -

The next thing we offload is the stuff we don’t need to be carrying i.e. the guilt and regret.  Guilt and regret are heavy.  You have nothing to feel guilty about – you didn’t do this to yourself on purpose.  You have done nothing wrong.  And you don’t have a crystal ball, nor can you predict the future.  So, looking back and punishing yourself for the things you didn’t know is a waste of time and energy. 

The way we offload the guilt and regret is by forgiving yourself.  Acknowledging that you’re human.  And while you may have made some decisions that didn’t go according to plan, show yourself the same kindness and compassion you would afford someone else who didn’t know any better. I know we hold ourselves to a higher standard than we hold others to, but you are not perfect – none of us are.  And the guilt and regret you are holding onto is taking up precious space in your heart and mind, that could be dedicated to feeling joy and contentment.

Once you’ve offloaded the heaviest emotions, you’ll feel a little lighter. That will make space for both. You may find that you have glimmers of hope and happiness.  You may even hear yourself laugh when something is really funny.

This is when we can start focusing on feeling BOTH emotions that come up when we see a pregnancy announcement. Yes, I want to set the expectations upfront.  While you are on this journey, you will never (ok, that’s a strong word, but I’m a realist here) get to the point where all you feel is joy when you see a pregnancy announcement.  There will always be an element of sadness. And that is completely ok.

If we don’t feel the sadness and acknowledge it as it comes up in that moment, we’ll experience another blockage, and end up back where we started.  With zero capacity for joy or happiness.

A great strategy to help you lean into both the sadness and joy or grief and gratitude, is keeping a journal.  On one cover you can label it joy, and on the other end, you can label it sadness (or whatever tickles your fancy).  Set aside 10 minutes each day to write in it – 5 minutes on each side.

Or each day you can allow yourself time in the shower to cry (who doesn’t love a good shower cry?), and then when you come out of the shower, you can put on some upbeat music to get dressed too.

But more than anything it’s important to understand –

  1. The reason why you can’t feel happy for others and sad for you at the same time is because the sadness is too big (no it’s not because you’re a bad person).
  2. In order to start feeling anything other than sadness (or stop feeling numb), we need to offload the hard emotions by feeling them.
  3. We also need to offload the things that aren’t helping us i.e guilt and regret, by showing yourself some compassion and forgiveness.
  4. You will always feel an element of sadness – setting reasonable expectations is important.
  5. It helps to have some strategies for acknowledging both the lighter and heavier emotions at the same time.

Easy peasy, right?!!  Ah no, it’s fucking hard.

If you’d like some support sorting through the hard emotions, this is what I work through in my 1:1 coaching program.  If you’d like further details on how you can work with me, head to – or send me a message at [email protected]

Would you like to know more about how you can work with me, so you can get back control of your life and start moving forward?  My 1:1 coaching program is packed with information, tools and support. Find out how you can get on the wait list now.  

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