The Washington Post

Carolyn Hax: Pangs of jealousy over a friend’s pregnancy


Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

A friend of mine has recently announced her pregnancy. I have been trying for a few months to conceive but haven’t been successful yet. I don’t think I’m at a point yet where I need to panic, but I’m a worrywart, so my emotions are fragile.

This friend and her husband have semi-invited themselves to my house for a weekend. It seems that they want to celebrate their happy news . . . and while I want to do that with them, I’m also jealous and upset that it hasn’t happened for me yet. I am able to deal with this from afar, but a weekend of them in my house? I don’t want to be a grouch or a downer. Any tips on rebuttals when the, “Oh, don’t worry, you’re next,” and, “I can’t drink, for obvious reasons,” comments come?

Not So Lucky (Yet)

(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)

You haven’t told her yet that you’re a few months into trying? That you’re happy for her but also jumpy about it yourself? As a way of explaining why you might not appear as thrilled as you genuinely are for her?

Maybe you’re afraid that’s grouch behavior, but I see that as the way friends look out for each other — by being transparent and taking it from there instead of letting them walk blindly into a minefield.

Maybe there’s more to this, like she’s super-touchy or you don’t like sharing, but otherwise I think the straight-ahead answer is the right one here. Talk to her.

By the way, you’re right, a “few” months is pre-panic territory.

By the way II, unsolicited advice division: Worrywart tendencies tend to come into full flower when there’s a baby to freak out about. Do you have strategies for keeping them in check?

Re: Friend:

Also, if you’re not ready, you can tell your friend that it turns out it’s not a good time. And then YOU invite her when you’re ready. Whether it’s a semi-self-invitation or a full-blown one, it’s your home, you aren’t a hotel. If you’re not ready to be “on” for a houseguest, then politely and kindly put her off.


This is a tutorial in saying no. Thanks.

Re: Friend:

I’m six months pregnant, and we found out a month ago that our daughter has several serious congenital heart defects. The best cardiologists in the country are thinking that she might not live beyond 48 hours after birth (if she makes it that far).

A month ago I was agonizing over the “best” stroller and wondering if I’d look fat. Now I’m thinking a nurse will have to do a quickie baptism in the delivery room. This is all to say that if you know someone with a healthy pregnancy, even if you’re going through difficulties, try to be happy for them. People with experience had told me that every healthy pregnancy is a blessing, and now I see the truth of that statement.

Anonymous 2

I hope you come out of this darkness sooner than you dare hope, and I second your “try to be happy for them,” thank you. It applies well beyond pregnancy, too.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at



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