When news of other people's pregnancies upsets you

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 Photo: Getty Images

This month was huge for pregnancy news: firstly, Beyoncé made her grand announcement of expecting twins, complete with a stunning photo shoot.

Then, back home, Zoe Foster Blake followed that up with her own lovely pregnancy news.

While Beyoncé's glamorous snap quickly became the most-liked image on Instagram ever, not everyone was thrilled to hear her pregnancy news.

For some people – especially those struggling to conceive, or who have lost a pregnancy – such news can be hard to swallow.

That's how Susan* feels.

After years of longing for a baby, Susan was over the moon when she fell pregnant last year.

Unfortunately, her joy was short-lived, and at her 10-week scan she was heartbroken to discover she'd miscarried.

Since then, every time Susan hears about other people's pregnancy news, she winces.

"I'm of course happy for them but at the same time a little piece inside of me dies," she says.

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Soon after Susan miscarried, many of her friends had babies, which she found particularly challenging.

"I had to look at newborn babies a lot, knowing that mine would never be."

While hearing people's pregnancy news still upsets her, Susan's now developed her own strategy to help her cope.

"I tend to just blank it out so that I don't have to think about it. It just seems to help with the healing process for me."

Susan is far from the only person who feels this way, says clinical psychologist Dr Nicole Highet, founder and executive director of Centre of Perinatal Excellence, COPE.

She says feelings of "grief and even jealousy" about other people's pregnancy announcements are both normal and common.

"After all, we're human beings, and it's natural to feel this way when others have what we desperately want," she says.

If you're trying unsuccessfully to fall pregnant, Dr Highet says hearing about someone else's pregnancy news can remind you of "what you may desperately want yet cannot attain at the time". 

It can also feel "unfair" when others around you fall pregnant, especially when it seems "effortless" for them.

For those who have lost a baby, your own plans are suddenly "wiped out", which often leaves you feeling dismayed, disappointed and in need of readjusting your expectations.

Hearing other people's pregnancy news can also be a stark reminder of your own loss.

"The feeling of pain when hearing of someone's news can almost bring together the instant feelings of grief, yearning and possibly jealousy - all in one hit," says Dr Highet.

To make things worse, Dr Highet says that when a friend or family member announces their pregnancy, you may feel pressure to be happy for them.

But remember: even if you are genuinely happy for them, you can still also be upset for yourself.

If this starts to impact on your relationship with the person who is expecting, Dr Highet says you should remind yourself that your feelings are a reflection on your own desire to have a baby and are not about that other person, per se.

Dr Highet says such reminders can help you keep your emotions in check, and not allow them to take over and impact negatively on your relationships.

However, if your feelings become more intense, Dr Highet advises seeking support.

You could find an understanding friend and confide your feelings, or discuss them with your GP or a psychologist.

But if you felt upset when you saw Beyoncé's pregnancy photos, don't beat yourself up about it.

"Be gentle on yourself," Dr Highet says.

"It is natural [to feel this way], understandable, and you are certainly not a bad person."

*Name has been changed