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I just found out that I’m pregnant. I want to share the good news with my family and friends but I’m not sure how to tell my twin sister because she and her husband are desperate to have a baby, but haven’t been successful in getting pregnant after three IVF cycles. My sister and I had always dreamed that we’d have our children at the same time. How do I tell her that I’m pregnant?

Written by our mental health expert, Emily Koert, Ph.D. Candidate and Registered Clinical Counsellor. 

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I can imagine that you want to celebrate this exciting news. But it sounds like that your joy is a little bittersweet, given your twin sister’s fertility struggles and your sadness that you won’t be able to have your kids at the same time. The fact that you’re sensitive to your sister’s experience and how she might react to hearing that you’re pregnant is already a good sign that you will be able to navigate this disclosure with tact, compassion, and empathy. Given that you are twins, you may be particularly aware of your sister’s suffering because of your shared bond.

My suggestion would be to share the news with your sister soon – before you make the announcement to your friends or extended family so it doesn’t get back to her before you’ve had a chance to speak with her directly. This will give the two of you a chance to share your joy and your tears, while also giving your sister some time to process this news in privacy. If you feel she will need some time and space to digest this news before speaking with you, rather than telling her face to face, you might consider telling her the news in a letter or e-mail – letting her know that you will understand if she needs some time before she’s able to speak with you.

Whether you communicate through a letter or in person, it is also important to let her know that you’ll understand completely if she has some mixed feelings about your pregnancy. Assure her that she doesn’t have to feel guilty about those feelings – that you’d likely feel the same if you’d been through everything she’s had to go through in her efforts to have a child. Don’t feel hurt or offended if she does need some space – know that it’s completely normal. If you can be understanding and compassionate, your sister is likely going to appreciate your sensitivity to her feelings and willingness to give her some space to come to terms with your news. Even though your sister might respond with tears and/or sadness now, that doesn’t mean that she isn’t happy for you. Hopefully she will come around and be able to share your joy with you, but at times during your pregnancy she may find it just too difficult to be around you. Give her permission to do what she needs to do to take care of herself throughout your pregnancy and even after your son or daughter is born.

Above all, it’s important for you not to feel guilty for being pregnant – this is exciting news, and it’s news that deserves to be celebrated. So along with being sensitive to your sister’s experience, give yourself permission to be excited and happy. Surround yourself with friends and family members with whom you can express and share that excitement without any concern.

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