Friend's stork issues become friendship albatross
Q: I found out recently that a good friend of mine is having trouble getting pregnant. She's miscarried once and has had fertility problems since — this has been going on for two years but she's a pretty private person and just told me a couple of months ago. I felt awful that she was going through this and of course told her she was welcome to talk about it with me anytime.
Since then, she hasn't brought it up on her own and I've had a hard time knowing when and how to ask how it's going. The last time I asked, about a month ago, she was going through an in vitro cycle. She hasn't brought it up since, and I don't know how long it takes to determine whether it was successful or not. When we met for lunch yesterday, at one point there was a lull in the conversation, like she wanted to say something but didn't, and I couldn't find a way to bring it up without just coming out and saying, "So how's the baby thing going?" Any advice for being a supportive, but not overbearing, friend?
A: You're soooo close here — you're listening, you care, you're attuned to her feelings. That's going to carry you most of the way, so trust that.
The one thing I'll suggest is that instead of the "So how's the baby thing going?" you toyed with at the last lull, use the next one to say, "I think a lot about you and wonder how your fertility efforts are going, but I'm not sure how or even whether to ask. Would you like me to check in, or let you bring it up when you're ready?"