update: my coworker is upset that I’m pregnant

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer who shared an office with someone who’d been struggling with infertility and started treating the letter-writer coldly when she suspected she was pregnant? (#2 at the link) Here’s the update.

I wrote a few months ago about my coworker who had begun to treat me coldly when she (rightly) suspected that I was pregnant. You advised me to send her an email before any big announcements at work. Firstly, let me say how much of a relief it was to hear that this wasn’t a me issue. I was sincerely hoping that things would, after a time, go back to relative normality between us. That… absolutely has not happened.

I sent an email to Jane the evening after my original letter was posted. To paraphrase, I told her that I enjoyed working with her, and while I knew this would be hard for her I hoped that she could be happy for me. When I came into work the following day, Jane outright ignored me. I had been expecting this, unfortunately, and just went about my day. The same thing happened the following day. I’m not sure if this is what I should have done, but I went to HR (who had been clued into my email to Jane) and told her I thought Jane was struggling with my news. I’m not sure what went on between them, but Jane was minimally civil to me for the rest of the week.

One of my coworkers who is also pregnant had her last day the Friday before Halloween. We had a socially distant lunch at the office, and someone made a comment about all the new babies we’d be celebrating over the next year. Jane smiled and said something like “plus one more.” I thought she was going to tell everyone about my pregnancy, but instead she put her hands on her belly and smiled. People were definitely shocked (she hasn’t been quiet about her fertility issues), and offered her congratulations. When we were back in our office, I congratulated Jane again, told her I was so very happy for her, and asked when she was due. She asked me not to congratulate her too early, that she hadn’t even taken a test yet (!!!). I just said “oh” and went back to work.

Jane returned to her radio silence the following Monday, then called out the rest of the week. I announced my pregnancy that Friday, and everyone was really happy for me! I was worried, based on the lackluster reaction Jane’s announcement received, but I think that may have been more a reaction to Jane herself, and the timing of her announcement.

When Jane returned the following week, she emailed me a list of topics that she was forbidding from discussing in our office – specifically babies and all things associated with them. I told her I would try to keep it to a minimum, but that I was excited to be pregnant and didn’t feel it was right to punish me for it. I, again, went to HR (Alison – is this the right thing to do here? I’m not trying to get Jane in trouble, but I think asking for cordial, professional interactions is not in the realm of crazy) and presented her with Jane’s list. Two hours later, Jane was moving her stuff into a smaller office down the hall. Our HR rep, Mary, has told me they’re looking to hire someone to fill in while I’m on leave, hopefully by the end of the year. She alluded that Jane will be taking leave, as well, but didn’t elaborate. (Alison here. Nah, it wasn’t wrong to talk to HR. You share an office with someone who forbid you from talking about your pregnancy. An intervention needed to happen. If I were going to quibble with anything, I’d say that ideally I think you would have asked for civil, polite behavior from Jane but not asked her to be happy for you or dwelt particularly on your own excitement. But Jane really crossed a line.)

There’s a part of me that really does feel badly for Jane. I mentioned in the comments on the original post that I’ve also struggled with fertility issues, and I, too, have been surrounded by moms-to-be and wishing I was one of them. It’s so tough! But I’ve always managed to find some joy in the situation, and after all the waiting, I feel I’m allowed to revel in the experience and excitement.

As a last note, for everyone who wished me a boring pregnancy – thank you! So far, all is well!

I’m hoping there won’t be another update – that Jane will work out whatever it is she’s struggling with and we can all be cordial, if not friendly, coworkers once more. Thank you, Alison, for helping to guide me through this situation.

{ 247 comments… read them below }

  1. Erin*

    Oh dear, oh this person is unstable. Much sympathy to her, but there’s something brewing besides infertility. Or fertility. Please do send another update!

    1. Boatloads*

      I dunno, fertility/infertility stuff can bring it’s own kind of crazy to an otherwise (or previously) stable person. It doesn’t help that some of the infertility treatments (not sure these are the right words?) involve boatloads of hormones that can really mess you up.

      Unless by “something brewing besides infertility” you mean “grief”, in which case: yes.

      1. The bread burglar*

        Its fertility treatment. And yeah. One of the ones they put you on (only for 5 days of hell each cycle) is a genuine cancer medicine. Like the meds they give to breast cancer patients. Its strong and the side effects are horrific.

        Some of the fertility meds boost hormones, some are hormones, some block hormone receptors to try and get your body to make more. And they give you all the same symptoms of being pregnant. Plus moodiness is one of the common (more than 1 in 10) for a lot of the meds.

        I mean I dont agree with how she handled it. I do think she is a woman going through a difficult time who is trying to set boundaries to help herself but they arent fair boundaries. You dont get to dictate how others behave. Also it wouldnt hurt to say things like “I am struggling with this. I might not always be the most energetic about it because its my dream too. But I am happy for you. And it isnt personal if some days I am more distant. I know this is my issue and I am trying to work on it.” or if not happy for her at least trying to be happy for her.

        But yeah I do think a lot of it comes from the crazy that is fertility stuff. If you arent active on the medsage boards you dont see all the women discussing their cervical mucus, peeing on sticks, vaginal discharge, etc. Its intense stuff.

        1. Forrest*

          (It is for a lot people, but it can also be pretty — not intense? I have had two full rounds of IVF and two pregnancies, and the IVF part wasn’t any worse for me than the pregnancy part, and I had pretty straightforward pregnancies (awful births, but straightforward pregnancies.) The hardest part for me was simply getting to the clinic without disclosing to my employer that I was hack by IVF.

          I just mention this because you hear a lot about how gruelling fertility treatment can be, and whilst I don’t want to dent anyone else’s experience, it’s not gruelling for *all* of us!)

          1. The bread burglar*

            True. Every body and each person is different. I think the mental stress can be just as bad as the physical sometimes.

            I’m still going through it now. The one med was totally fine but the 5 days was horrible. Not looking forward to that part next cycle. But if it helps I shall get through it.

            How did you manage the work thing? My cycle 1 I called in sick for all my appointment days. Cycle 2 got cancelled. So going to try again next year and havent figured out how to handle that with my employer yet.

            1. Forrest*

              My clinic did all the regular appointments (blood tests and scans) before work between 7:30 and 9am. This was fine the first time around, when I could go at 8 and be at work by 9. Second time, we had moved an hour away, and I commuted an hour into he opposite direction. I have completely blanked out how I did that— I think I managed two on weekends, and strongly implied that I had anaemia or something and that my GP wanted regular blood tests or something? And since my normal GP only opened at 9am, and I lived an hour away from work, that meant they expected me at 10:30? The effect of driving >3 hours before I started work was a bigger deal more knackering for me than the drugs though.

              Tons of luck, & I hope you tolerate it better next time.

          2. Alice's Rabbit*

            True, not everyone reacts strongly. But some folks go full-on crazy from fertility treatments. My sister was practically bi-polar while undergoing hers. It was a miserable time for everyone involved, and she tried her hardest to keep her mood swings under control, but she literally couldn’t. I remember her sobbing one day because she felt like she had completely lost her mind.
            Once she actually did get pregnant and they stopped the treatments, things leveled out and she was her normal, cheerful self again.
            So while this coworker’s requests were unreasonable, I personally would cut her some slack, given everything she’s likely going through.

          3. LizM*

            It depends on the person and varies by cycle. Some months, I was fine, other cycles I had to take time off because I was on the verge of tears and/or shouting and didn’t trust myself to not have a complete breakdown in the office.

        2. Dust Bunny*

          I have had PMS that made me borderline-suicidal for a week every month, I cannot imagine what IVF must do to you.

          (It’s handled now, but my twenties and early 30s were rough.)

      2. Anansi*

        The issue to me is that everyone dealing with infertility struggles, but not everyone misbehaves or makes others feel guilty for not having the same problems. I sympathize, as it’s truly awful and frankly a lot of the clinics and treatments are dehumanizing. Even with the emotional stress and the grief and the hormones, it doesn’t make it ok to take that out on other people or bring it to work, or make your coworkers feel bad for being pregnant.

    2. Bluephone*

      NGL when I got to the part about Jane telling OP she hadn’t even taking a test yet, I was bracing for a “…and now Jane is on a leave of absence after faking a pregnancy backfired on her” update.

      I am only maybe 2 percent convinced that Jane will try to steal OP’s baby a la Veronica Deramous or other fetal abductors, because damn girl.

      1. PT*

        A woman faking a pregnancy at the same time as someone around her announcing a real pregnancy, is how you get those true crime stories of “woman murdered, baby stolen from her womb.” Jane might be dangerous.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          There’s no reason to assume she was faking a pregnancy. She was probably in the two-week wait and was just very hopeful. (Or delusional.)

          1. Cait*

            I know for a fact that women who have been trying for a while and having fertility issues can absolutely lose their minds during the two week wait. When I was TTC I would participate in a forum where women who were in the same boat could ask questions and commiserate, and there were definitely some threads that sounded insane. One woman was convinced she was pregnant because a line appeared on her toenail. Not a pregnancy test… her toenail. Other women would obsess over “symptoms” like their cat being clingy or their hair feeling thicker and then other women would jump on the sounding board agreeing with them. Others admitted to spending tons of money on psychics who would tell them when they’d finally be pregnant. It all seemed so pathetic but I really felt for them because I knew this was just heartache and desperation talking.
            That being said, you don’t drag these emotions into a professional setting. I’m sure Jane was on her last nerve listening to all the congratulations about babies while another secretly pregnant coworker was in the room, but you should NEVER allude to being pregnant when 1. you haven’t even tested positive yet or 2. it’s still very early on and anything can happen. I do feel for Jane but it sounds like she keeps shooting herself in the foot with her bad behavior. The OP is doing everything right and I also hope that Jane can get her act together before she gets fired for harassing her colleagues or having a full blown mental breakdown.

            1. Me*

              I agree with everything you said except #2. Forcing women to keep miscarriages a secret is not healthy. If they don’t want to talk about it, that’s obviously fine, but saying it’s inappropriate to announce a pregnancy early on is only trying to force women to keep quiet for others’ convenience.

              1. KWu*

                Completely agree with this. “Anything can happen” is something for someone to decide for themselves how they want to handle that possibility, not to be expected to “shield” other people from facing an immediate example of bad things happening for no reason.

              2. ThatOnePlease*

                Co-signing so strongly. Miscarriage is quite common, as well as being a devastating loss for many women (and men). It’s also a medical event that may involve time off work, doctor visits, etc. Women shouldn’t have to hide their grief and pretend to be ok just to make other people comfortable; that in itself is deeply painful.

              3. Cait*

                Thank you. I should’ve clarified. There is nothing wrong with having a miscarriage and/or talking about it. It’s extremely common and no one should feel like they should keep it a shameful secret. What I meant was that many people choose to wait until the second trimester to announce to coworkers because miscarriage is so common and, if it were to happen, they don’t want to have to explain what happened over and over, esp. if they don’t consider their coworkers to be part of their support system.

        2. Annony*

          She may have just gone though a round of IVF and was waiting to see if it was successful. She didn’t actually fake a pregnancy. She made it clear to the OP that she hadn’t taken a test. But embryo transfer can definitely feel more like “future baby is here” than the usual two week wait.

          That’s not to say that was at all ok for her to have a list of things the OP can’t talk about, but I think it is coming from grief rather than malice.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            She only made it clear to OP though, when everyone was together she just said she was pregnant.

      2. Anon for this one because it still creeps me out*

        I’ve shared it here before, but I worked at a call center with a woman “B” who had all manner of health issues on top of infertility issues. She used to announce that she miscarried a pregnancy the day after someone shared news of their pregnancy. In one month alone she miscarried 6 times! She lived in my apartment complex and we’d established a – not quite friendship, but more than just coworkers kind of relationship. We carpooled occasionally, took walks in our neighborhood, that kind of thing. Anyway, when I got pregnant she did her usual thing with the next day announcement of a miscarriage and then became really attached to me. Like in a way that creeped my normally laid back husband out. At lunch one day a group of us were sitting around and a coworker with older kids was sharing her wisdom and said something along the lines of how she knew she was a grown up when she had to pick a guardian for her kids in case something happened to her. I said that I would probably pick my sister. “B” got really red in the face and then quietly (but firmly) said “I thought I would get the baby!!!” Like, it was so intense that everyone at the table got quiet and weird and we all awkwardly ended lunch. After that I stopped being around “B” in any capacity. It was the creepiest thing a co-worker has ever done. I felt scared. A few weeks later was a story about a woman who died after her friend killed her for her unborn child (one of the first cases that I’d ever heard of…back in 2005). My husband was sure that “B” was capable of that. I ended up leaving the company and moving out of state just before I had my first born so I don’t know what ever became of her. I haven’t seen her in the news, so that’s a good sign.

        1. ThatGirl*

          I mean, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s physically possible to miscarry 6 times in a month?

          1. CommanderBanana*

            With what I know about ovulation cycles, getting pregnant 6x a month is physically impossible for humans. It’s even impossible for rabbits.

          2. The bread burglar*

            Its possible but only if she was pregnant with 6 to begin with. Then technically the loss of each could be considered a miscarriage but it is highly highly unlikely.

          3. Anon for this one because it still creeps me out*

            You are correct. That was just what she did though. As I said, she was a bit weird. And it wasn’t worth the energy trying to explain to her that she could not even medically be pregnant and miscarry six separate times in the same month. According to her, her MD said she had ailments that were never seen before so anything was possible.

            1. Cait*

              She is obviously mentally unstable as proven by 1. the obvious lie that she miscarried 6 times in a month and 2. these “miscarriages” were coinciding with pregnancy announcements. The comment that she thought she would get your baby is just the cherry on top of the crazy sundae.

              1. Diahann Carroll*

                I literally got a chill up my spine when reading that. OP, I’m glad you moved before you had your baby because yikes!

        2. HeyNonnyNonny*

          I believe Anon’s co-worker was just pretending — she appears to have have habitually announced a (fictitious) miscarriage right after hearing someone else was pregnant.

        3. The Other Katie*

          I am being totally distracted by this, but was there something in the water in your workplace or something? That’s a lot of pregnancies in a month!

          1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            We had a joke at one of my old office that we had a pregnancy chair. Whoever sat in it would be pregnant a month later. If it ended up at the desk of a non-uterus haver’s desk, he’d announce his partner was pregnant within a month. It was freaky

          2. Dust Bunny*

            Sometimes it’s just the demographic. I used to work for a veterinarian and vet office staff are often young women so, yeah, lots of babies.

          3. Anon for this one because it still creeps me out*

            There were over 200 people in the call center. At one point there were 15 of us in some stage of pregnancy. Yes, it’s not possible for her to have miscarried 6 times in the same month. But she still announced them every time someone would say they were pregnant. One time she claimed that her MD confirmed she’d miscarried twin boys at 4 weeks. I don’t think that’s even possible!

              1. Cait*

                Yeah, you can’t tell the sex until at least 10 weeks at the earliest and you’d have to have a NIPT test to do so. At 4 weeks, you’ve basically just missed your period and your baby is made up of a handful of cells. This poor woman is mentally unstable.

                1. Lots of miscarriages*

                  Not true. Embryos can be tested prior to transfer to the uterus if one is using IVF. That handful of cells has sex chromosomes that can be determined before pregnancy is even achieved.

                2. Blackcat*

                  No, they can. If you have a D&C after miscarriage, they can do chromosomal testing as long as you’re past 5ish weeks, depending on the facility and their lab skills.

              2. Lalaith*

                If you’re doing IVF and you’ve done genetic testing on your embryos, you can indeed know the sex before you’ve even implanted them. Not that I think this lady was doing anything more than spinning yarns, but it *is* possible.

            1. whingedrinking*

              I don’t know a huge amount about pregnancy, but I know that humans don’t develop genitals until later than four weeks, and Google tells me that you’d probably have a first ultrasound at six weeks.

              1. Frank Doyle*

                At that early of a stage, though, you’re not looking for genitals, you’re doing genetic testing.

            2. Lots of miscarriages*

              This is actually possible. She could have had a very early pregnancy loss (often called a chemical pregnancy) around 4 weeks. With IVF you can do preimplantation genetic testing so it is possible to know the sex of the embryos prior to the time others would typically find out. It sounds like this person had other issues going on but this particular thing doesn’t seem weird to me as someone who has had recurrent early losses and done IVF with PGS testing.

            3. Jen (with one n)*

              I had a miscarriage at 5 weeks 6 days; the egg had stopped developing at that point. It literally looked like a fried egg on the screen, no sign of fetus development, and definitely no identifiable genitals.

              The ultrasound at 18 weeks is usually the one where they can identify the sex of the baby if desired; the amniocenteses I had with my son at 24 weeks also identified his sex since it involved looking at the chromosomes (I’d already found out he was a boy from his first U/S, and they offered to tell me his sex after the amnio; the woman giving me the information said they only really worry if the U/S and the amnio results are at odds with one another).

            4. Cat Tree*

              Four weeks pregnant is about the time a woman would just be missing her period. I wonder if she had IVF, transferred two male embryos, then found out she wasn’t pregnant when the doctor did the blood test. That would be a serious misunderstanding of how both IVF and miscarriage work, but she doesn’t seem like she’s super on top of things in general.

              1. ccb1345*

                I do find that when people are doing IVF treatments everyone has a different way of thinking about losses. I had two chemical pregnancies during my 6 rounds of IUI and 3 IVF transfers (a chemical pregnancy being that I had positive home pregnancy tests and positive HCG blood tests and then the HCG levels dropped prior to confirmation of heartbeat around 6 weeks) I personally do NOT call either of these miscarriages but some with identical histories do. Now you cannot miscarry six times in one month, but it is possible for a woman to have an IVF transfer of two male embryos, get positive home tests/HCG levels and then find out on a six week ultrasound that they stopped developing at four weeks and consider that a miscarriage.

    3. Miss Demeanor*

      I’m balking a little at “unstable” and might gently suggest other language. I agree Jane is behaving very badly and is making her grief the OP’s problem, but “unstable” is a loaded word. I also see someone below comparing Jane to Veronica Deramous… and I really would encourage people to steer clear of that. Jane is being inappropriate and the OP is handling it gracefully.

      1. Cait*

        Meh. I agree that she’s being inappropriate but she’s also declaring she’s pregnant when she isn’t sure, sending a mass email dictating a new company policy forbidding topics of discussion that was obviously not vetted by any managers, and treating pregnant women in the office like they’re only pregnant to spite her. This isn’t the behavior of a stable person.

  2. Cheesehead*

    So I’m guessing that Jane actually wasn’t pregnant herself if she was forbidding pregnancy talk?

    1. AKchic*

      My assumption, based on friends who’ve gone through similar : Jane was going through fertility treatments and was in her waiting window to find out if treatment was successful. So, technically, she was Schrodinger’s Womb. Both pregnant and not pregnant. Artificially, all of the hormones and variables were there to make things as successful as possible, but it’s not a 100% guarantee. She wants to be hopeful. She may not be able to afford more treatments (financially, emotionally, physically, whatever the case may be). She is fully invested in this and she is so hopeful and excited for this to work that she can’t help but have *good* news to share, even if it may be premature. She may even want to give some good news in hopes that the good news will shared will magically be good will amplified back to her (kind of like the power of prayer).
      Then, after opening up to her coworkers (many of whom she has been cold/distant to), she is thwarted again. It becomes mentally/emotionally draining. I can 100% see why she’d want to close the subject. Do I condone her behavior? Absolutely not. Do I see how her reactions are (in retrospect) understandable from a personal viewpoint? Yes.
      I really hope Jane finds some peace.

      1. I'd rather be snuggling my cat*

        I really appreciate your level of compassion towards Jane here. Not that her behaviour was excusable – but because we all deserve that in our low moments, and because I think it’s clear that her actions were driven by pain.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*


      Jane returned to her radio silence the following Monday, then called out the rest of the week.

      I inferred although I realize it wasn’t stated, that Jane did a pregnancy test over the weekend which came out with a negative result.

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      Not a chance.

      (Note that she may well have had symptoms that mis-led her. This really does happen and it can be a sign of big health problems.)

      1. Lots of miscarriages*

        If she is doing fertility treatments she is likely taking medications that mimic early pregnancy symptoms. Not a sign of health problems, it’s literally the symptom of the treatment.

      2. Risha*

        My first attempt at IVF, I was 100% certain I was pregnant. (And of course I was crushed when the test came back negative.) The daily progesterone supplements can/will exactly mirror every early pregnancy symptom – sore breasts, peeing, nausea/vomiting, food avoidance, etc.

        1. Natalie*

          You can also easily get a false positive if you take a home test at the wrong time. The nurse warned me about that, but I could easily someone not registering that or disregarding it out of wishful thinking.

    3. Derjungerludendorff*

      I suspect not, but we probably shouldn’t speculate.
      It’s not really relevant to the letter or to how OP should handle this situation.

  3. Cassidy*

    “When Jane returned the following week, she emailed me a list of topics that she was forbidding from discussing in our office – specifically babies and all things associated with them.”


    Good grief. Jane needs to go live on an island all by herself. Perhaps she has experienced a past tragedy related to pregnancy or babies, but that’s no excuse to be an ass about someone else’s joyful experience of the same.

    I’d talk about your pregnancy – congratulations! – all you want to and disregard what she thinks or – seriously?? – “fobids.”

    1. I Need That Pen*

      ^ All of this. I have seen women who I knew were struggling with this be completely happy for those who were not, and I remain all too keenly aware that it no doubt was crushing them, but you don’t grind the pieces in somebody else’s hand for it. Pregnancy or no, who comes in with a “here’s a list of what I’m forbidding you to talk about.” I’d tell them that I’ll stop saying these things at the conclusion of our meeting with HR.

    2. Tabby*

      Even as a person who never wants to hear about pregnancy, that part made me cringe. Like… I could see asking the OP to not talk about it WITH ME, but banning it from the office at large? It’s a no from me, dawg. You don’t get to stop people from talking about it in general.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, this. I mean, sure, it would be appropriate for Jane to ask the OP and the rest of the offices not to talk about their pregnancies with her, but banning it from the office at large is a step too far. That said, it would probably be prudent not to show too much pregnancy-related joy in Jane’s presence, that’s too much like rubbing salt in the wound. That said, Jane has behaved very badly here and I hope she can find some peace.

  4. shhhhimhiding*

    I think a lot of people struggle with knowing that you can be compassionate and have healthy, happy boundaries with people. I’m very sorry for her pain, and I legitimately hope she takes this time to start the healing process.

    But more importantly, I really loved reading you advocated for yourself and I agree HR was the right call. Loved even more hearing that you’re dong well with your pregnancy!

  5. Gibby*

    I don’t think anyone is obligated to “find the joy” in having everyone around you have your dream come true while your dreams are repeatedly crushed, but everyone is obligated to be polite to the people they work with. So it looks like you got everything you need.

    1. Alexander Graham Yell*

      Yeah, I’ve been on the other side of that (not with pregnancy, but with watching people who have only ever kind of thought about getting the thing I want more than anything offered to them) and it….wow. It’s hard. And I would so appreciate somebody who knows that giving me a heads up before a major announcement so I could process the information, but man would I not be able to be happy or find joy. I would be sad and bitter and hurt and work my butt off to be polite and find some neutrality in the situation, but oof. That was a big ask.

      That said, I’m very happy for you, OP, and glad your pregnancy is going well. I hope Jane gets whatever help she needs and that y’all can go back to being neutral coworkers asap.

      1. Jackie*

        Agreed! Asking someone to find joy is too much in this situation but civility is not. I had a friend who was always needling me to be closer to her when she was pregnant and I was struggling. She knew my struggles but it’s like she needed me to be ok with her being pregnant. This was not a close friend so I was fine with how we were but she seemed bent on getting me to be closer. It… did not work. In other words, let people be and if they don’t seem up to being closer/happier/etc , let them live.

      2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        Yes. I’ve seen all my cousins get stable relationships, successful jobs, financial stability (although this year annihilated that for some), marriage and start their own families. It’s nobody’s fault, and it’s definitely not on purpose. Jane needs professional help to work this out before she’s fired.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      I agree. Expecting her to “be happy for you” is too much. But wow, she crossed just about every line that she could cross!

      1. AspiringGardener*

        Yes, that line of OPs email to her was gross and unnecessary. The email should have been to inform her of your pregnancy so she could process it privately, not to tell her how to feel.

        1. Pennyworth*

          I found the ”be happy for me” bit totally tone deaf and insensitive. Why would you even think of putting that in the email? Here’s some information about me which I know you will find upsetting so I am giving you the opportunity to process it privately. Then I want you to suck it up and be happy for me. No.

          1. Lisa*

            Clearly because she’s done it herself. Since you missed that part, “I’ve also struggled with fertility issues, and I, too, have been surrounded by moms-to-be and wishing I was one of them. It’s so tough! But I’ve always managed to find some joy in the situation.”

            It is possible to be happy for other people while being sad for yourself. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s not egregious for her to suggest it’s possible. Now, should you request that of a coworker – eh, maybe not. But if this were a topic other than infertility, I think the responses would be different.

            1. Diahann Carroll*

              But since this is about infertility and the OP knows how hard it is to feel happy for others when you’re not getting the same results as others around you (a baby), then she should have cut that line. It was insensitive, it did attempt to tell Jane how to feel (which is never okay or productive), and it doesn’t hurt the OP to have that pointed out to her for future reference.

            2. allathian*

              Yeah, that phrase grated on me too. You don’t get to tell other people how to feel, ever. (Not even parents get to do that to their kids, if they try, they’re basically abusive if it goes on for long enough. We’ve all heard stories of people who weren’t allowed to show any negative feelings growing up, and dealing with that often requires therapy.) People are entitled to their own feelings, although naturally some ways of showing your feelings are more appropriate than others. Jane is allowed to be unhappy that everyone around her seems to get pregnant and she’s struggling, but she can’t forbid the office from talking about pregnancies altogether. People are different, and although the LW was able to be happy for other pregnant people while she was struggling with infertility, Jane is a different person and expecting her to do the same can be seen as insensitive. It’s also not a great idea to imply that “because I struggled with this and overcame it, you must also be able to do the same”.

        2. Lots of miscarriages*

          Agreed. I’d be super pissed if someone said that to me. Civility you can demand, but my personal emotions are mine alone, and not owed to anyone else.

        3. Derjungerludendorff*

          Calling it “gross” seems a bit harsh. It was tone-deaf, but saying “I hope you can be happy for me” isn’t dictating performative happiness.
          It deserves a reminder to keep it out next time, but nothing more IMO.

          1. allathian*

            Yeah. Hoping for a certain emotional reaction is definitely not dictating it, but it’s still insensitive and unnecessary.

        4. HoHumDrum*

          Eh, I chalk it up to the awkwardness of the situation. I know I find myself feeling like it’s wrong to send someone a difficult message without adding in an upside or positivity, because it’s so ingrained in our culture- even though I am a vocal critic of “toxic positivity” and a grump myself! But in a situation like that, where I’m sharing something bad or upsetting with someone else over an impersonal format, I can feel myself floundering for what to say and desperate to “wrap things up in a bow” or whatnot.

          I think it’s good to point out to LW why that phrasing was not helpful or necessary, but I don’t think the LW is gross or was trying to force Jane to feel a certain way.

          1. Name Withheld*

            Agreed. There’s nothing wrong with hoping someone can eventually be happy for your good fortune.

    3. Anonforthisone*

      I understand that fertility can be a very painful topic for people, but I am weary of the leeway I see people wanting to give to Jane. Jane didn’t just say, “I prefer not to talk about this with you, but I wish you luck,” she iced out her colleague and acted unreasonably. There are plenty of dreams that people have in life that can be crushed, and it is devastating not to have the life you want, but there is a line where if you are participating in a society where you have to learn you can’t take your bad feelings out on other people.

      To use an example from my own life, I’ve never been married. I’ve never had a successful relationship even; I’ve been on a few dates and gotten involved in a couple of messy situations that hurt me and were a real blow to my self-esteem, sometimes for years. I would love to be married. There are times when I have laid on my bed, sobbing my heart out, because this hasn’t worked out for me. The loneliness at times is crushing, and the judgement of other people can be shocking. People can like you well enough, but finding out you don’t have any successful relationship can relegate you to the role of pathetic loser or secret weirdo to many. They think if you want to be with someone and you aren’t, there must be something about you that keeps everyone away that they just haven’t discovered yet. It’s a bad situation, and one where you often have to be faced with people’s questions about your desires, sex life, and sexuality. I also get all the same questions about children, and have found the best thing is to pretend I don’t want them, when the truth is I have just (almost) missed my chance. I couldn’t afford to raise a child on my own, so even if I am able to have a baby… I’m also not able to have a baby without struggling to survive and provide my child with a good life.

      I don’t stop people around me though from sharing their happy news. I don’t begrudge all engagements. I don’t tell friends or colleagues they are forbidden from discussing their partners with me. I’ve listened to many friend’s lament a problem with a date or a partner that I can only wish to have. I’ve even dealt with friends who had a partner they loved who they cheated on. I’ve attended and even been in weddings at times. When it gets to be too much for me or I am in a fragile place, I draw a boundary or a withdraw a bit or sometimes even withdraw entirely, but that isn’t what Jane did. She couldn’t muster any well wishes for her colleague, which seems like the bare minimum just to wish someone luck, but she also wanted OP not just to be mindful of her pain, but to hide her experiences for months to prevent her pain. No one can do that for another person. We all have to learn to reckon with, grieve, and find our way through the lives we haven’t lives.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        The problem is that pregnancy lasts nine months and then you have a baby who is there forever so it never lets up.

        Jane handled this very, very, badly, but I completely understand the feeling that once somebody announces a pregnancy there is no turning back on the Pregnancy and Baby Talk, which actually is not a vital part of the work day no matter how enthusiastic people may be about it.

      2. Alexander Graham Yell*

        I totally agree with you here, but I don’t see people giving Jane leeway so much as understanding where her desire to make the *deeply unreasonable* asks are coming from. Like, I’m long-time single too, and I wish I wasn’t. Do I sometimes wish I could ban people around me from talking about dating or marriage or anything I want? God, yes. Would I ever do it? Hell no. But if somebody who knew I was struggling asked me to be happy for them, *that* would be extra difficult.

        To me, Jane seems like somebody who is really disappointed and used to getting what she wants. Possibly somebody who has taken talk about setting boundaries a little too….far in the wrong direction. But at the core of it, this all comes from pain, and I think what I’m seeing is mostly people empathizing with somebody who is clearly in pain, even when they don’t agree with her actions.

      3. Elsie*

        I just wanted to say I am sorry for the pain you’ve experienced. I have definitely been there and you have all my compassion.

      4. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

        Anonforthisone, you sound like a really mature person with a lot of self-knowledge, and I wish you well! We are all on our own paths.

      5. anon for this*

        I agree with this. Your personal pain is never, ever an excuse to lash out at a loved one or seriously, a coworker, for goodness sake! Of course it will happen, like it will with grief or anything else, but then your responsibility is to be mature and apologize, or at the very least, just say it’s painful for you at this moment and you’ll be backing away from interacting for a little bit.

        People get to enjoy things and you do not get to dictate the terms of other people’s experiences. It is often excruciating, but that is the right thing to do.

      6. Anonymous AF*

        I agree. The leeway granted Jane is pretty odd. I also agree OP shouldn’t have asked for happiness, but in the grand scheme of things it is a minor misstep — especially if one steps back and remembers that Jane shares a lot of information about fertility issues and wants sympathy for her challenges and happiness for her announcements too. It’s natural to want those emotions reflected back at us even if we cannot demand them.

        I lost my husband when he died of cancer. Should people *really* be sympathetic with me if I ice out colleagues who happily discuss their spouses or their upcoming wedding? Grief is wrenching and it absolutely scrapes away the protective emotional skin but my grief isn’t excuse for me not managing my behaviors in the workplace.

        1. Mayor of Llamatown*

          “This is a minor misstep” – agree. Pregnancy (especially early on) is an emotional time and even without that, the LW can be allowed a small mistake. I think she acknowledges that. No one is perfect.

        2. Pumpkin Spice Unicorn*

          I agree – some of these comments are needlessly harsh on LW. Poor word choice? For sure. But based on the two letters and her comments, I think she meant it in a very benign way. To call it “gross” I think negates that LW was put in a tough spot at an emotional time.

        3. chi type*

          Also “being happy for someone” is really just a phrase meaning “react somewhat positively to their news”, it doesn’t actually mean your soul needs to be filled with joy.

      7. Apatosaurus*

        I agree that people are being overly sympathetic to Jane here. She harassed a pregnant coworker for being pregnant.

      8. Daisy*

        What I find most curious about the whole thing is that Jane isn’t childless – she already has a son. Presumably she was talking about him sometimes while OP and these other women in the office were trying to get pregnant? Is she willing to take him completely off the table as a topic of conversation in return for OP never mentioning the pregnancy?

        1. allathian*

          Oops, I missed that. That said, secondary infertility can be a wrenching experience, too. It hasn’t been in my case, I came to terms with it pretty early on mainly due to my age, but if you really, really want another child, it’s not very pleasant when people say “well, at least you’re not completely childless”. It’s about as bad as when someone announces the death of a child, and the comeback is “well, at least you have other children”.

      9. Soulcyld*

        I know I’m late as I’m just reading the comments the day after, but I wanted to comment that I am you too! You are a brave and mature human being. I always wanted to be married ( just turned 44) and I’m again single after another disastrous entanglement. I never really had a relationship either. I use to think that people thought there was something wrong with me or that I was somehow “defective”. I also want to have a child (actually want the child more than the marriage).
        I started looking at all the pros of being single and childless. I started showing up in a meaningful way for all the kids in my life (I have a niece and 4 godchildren) and I just started doting on myself. (FYI I’m not saying any of this as advice, just sharing my story and how I cope).
        Therapy helped me to reframe the “people think I’m broken and defective” narrative. For me, I found out that I was actually projecting a lot of feelings I had about myself on to my family after having a wonderful heart to heart with my sister and mom. The people in my life whose opinions I truly value didn’t see me this way at all. They sorta saw me as this badass who was enjoying being single and just living their life. Me never being in a relationship wasn’t a testament to be being broken, it just meant I have never been in one. I’m hopeful that I will be in a relationship and have the healthy happy marriage I want because it’s never too late to find love. I may not be a mom (I’m actually going to try to get pregnant by IVF myself once Covid is a little contained and just be a single mom).

        Like you I have never begrudged any of my friends their engagements, marriage or baby announcements. I find so much joy in someone finding their “person”, adding a new life to their family. Me wanting those things and not having them is not the fault of the people that do have them. I’m genuinely happy for them.

        The way Jane handle this was wrong and I do hope she finds peace. It costs nothing to be kind and being kind and happy for someone having a life milestone that you desperately want will not take away from what you want.

        Thank you for sharing your story and you are a badass. :)

    4. Budgie Buddy*

      Yes, OP would have done better to deflate the “be happy for me” line from that email. We can’t control other people’s emotions, but we can expect them to behave civilly.

      Jane has every right to rage at the universe’s unfairness on her own time, and to nope out of any baby-related small talk at the office. She doesn’t get to be a jerk to her coworkers.

      Bringing up emotions when the focus should be on actions just muddies the water and gives Jane a reason to feel mistreated, allowing her to justify further weird behavior.

      Good advice: avoid telling people how they “should” feel. Just don’t. It’s not usually appreciated, and when you add grief or depression or anything else along those lines to the mix….oof

    5. Starbuck*

      Yeah that seemed out of line and comes across as pretty condescending. I would probably have reacted to it poorly as well.

    6. Catherine*

      I agree it was poor wording in this case but it’s also a pretty standard phrase to use when announcing this kind of news.

      Imagine if OP had written “I trust you to act civilly about this” instead. I can’t picture any scenario in which that wouldn’t escalate the tension, simply because it’s so blunt.

  6. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    Poor Jane! How bad/left out she must have been feeling to make that overly hopeful announcement. I wonder if it was misinterpreted and she had just meant she was hoping to be the next? Oh my.. this is just.. poor Jane!

    1. Lacey*

      Yeah. Even though she’s behaving very badly, I do feel for her. I’m in the same spot – it sucks. I think it must suck even more if you can’t manage to feel good about it happening for other people. Being happy about other people’s kids really takes the edge off for me, when otherwise I think I would be a mess.

      1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

        Same. We’re also infertile and trying to save up for adoption. I just throw myself into loving my students and nephew. It takes therapy and practice but it sounds like Jane hasn’t sought help in that direction.

      2. Elfie*

        I know I’m late to the comments, but I’m in exactly the same boat too. And I’m 44, so I’ve just about missed my chance. I don’t know about anyone else, and I know it’s not logical, but there was a time where I was at the stage that anytime anyone else became pregnant, it made me feel like that was one less chance for me to get pregnant (as if there’s a world quota on pregnancies or something!). Like I said, not logical – but heartbreaking, at least for me. All that being said, I’ve tried very hard never to let my own personal grief get in the way of my happiness for other people.

    2. Shenandoah*

      Yeah, I also feel empathy for Jane, even though she’s acting badly. Her announcement just made my heart hurt, though if I was in OP’s shoes I confess it probably would have made me feel really anxious.

      I hope Jane is getting care and support from people who are not her colleagues, and is able to return to the realms of polite behavior.

  7. Jennifer Strange*

    TW for Miscarriage

    As someone who has also been struggling to get pregnant (and recently had a miscarriage myself) I do get how hard it can be to hear/see others around you having babies while you feel like a failure. BUT I also know that those people aren’t getting pregnant AT me. I’m happy for you, OP, and I think you’ve done what you could to create a courteous working relationship with Jane. I do hope she is able to get past the struggles that are keeping her down and reciprocate your good will.

    1. 10Isee*

      My sister had a baby born when I would have been due with my first miscarriage, and my best friend’s baby was born when I would have been due with my second. Sometimes it was excruciating, and sometimes I had to take a break for a while and focus on my own coping strategies. But I always did all I could to avoid putting the burden on them.

    2. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      Yep, my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks, right after I told many friends & family. One of my best friends from college was pregnant at the same time, as were two different friends whose weddings were within weeks of mine earlier in the year. I went on to have my first baby five months after the first one’s due date, and I never stop thinking about him/her in the spring time when all those friends are posting about their (now 12 year olds!) birthday kids. For two months right after it happened, I was an open wound about babies, so I am very sympathetic to Jane. BUT… why didn’t she go to HR and ask for an office reassignment?? Why make OP feel bad for her good fortune?

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        BUT… why didn’t she go to HR and ask for an office reassignment??

        Maybe she thought that would be extreme. I know I wouldn’t have thought about that (I also wouldn’t have given my officemate a list of topics to avoid in my presence, but, eh).

    3. Name Withheld*

      “aren’t getting pregnant at me.” What wonderful wording! I know when I was struggling with fertility issues, it was very hard to be happy for my friends who were expecting. It took years of trying, all sorts of fertility treatments, dietary changes, hormone therapies, medications, testing, etc. to have my kid. And during those years, literally every married woman of childbearing age in my social circle had at least one kid. Some had multiple!
      I felt like such a failure, and I mourned all the babies I lost. Every time another friend announced her pregnancy, I couldn’t help feeling a flash of sheer rage. But I never let it show.
      Their getting pregnant had nothing to do with me, except that, as my friends, they wanted to share their joy. Like you said, they weren’t getting pregnant at me. They were just living their lives, and I had no right to ask them to do otherwise.
      And after that quick spark of anger, I was able to be happy for them. I was still jealous as anything, but I kept that part private, and was fully supportive. Enthusiastic, even. And honestly, focusing on their joy helped. I let their glad tidings cheer me up, and we eventually figured out our fertility issues and were able to have two adorable kids of our own.

  8. Thankful for AAM*

    I had fertility problems, had a baby and then could not get pregnant again.
    Around the time I realized it was not going to happen a second time, a friend at the preschool coop got pregnant with her second child. It was so very hard for me! I had to avoid her during her whole pregnancy bc it just created such feelings for me. It took time for me to get back to an even keel with her. But as badly as I felt, I never expected her to manage my feelings!!

    OP, you dont have to manager her feelings for her! Congrats on the pregnancy!

  9. Spicy Tuna*

    Woah! Jane is beyond the pale. I am childfree by choice. If people are so bold as to ask me if / when I’m having kids, or why I don’t have them, I’m honest with them in a polite but direct way so that there is no further discussion on the topic. At a job years ago, I sat next to a woman (open office, not even any cubes!) who was pregnant. She knew I was child free by choice, but I was always perfectly pleasant to her. Imagine my surprise when I was called into my boss’s office. She had complained that merely sitting next to a child free person was “too upsetting” for her. Thankfully, he wasn’t going to do anything about it, but wanted me to know. She ended up leaving early for maternity leave, the stress of being in the same room with a child free person had something to do with it, I’m sure!

    1. Jean*

      WOW. I mean I know being pregnant can make you a little “cuckoo” (I speak from personal experience here, I had multiple embarrassing episodes of crying over weird things when I was pregnant) – but that’s… wow.

    2. I Need That Pen*

      Unbelievable. That’s like saying, “I can’t sit next to anyone that blinks.” When did we start working on playgrounds and not in professional offices???

    3. ThatGirl*

      Wow. Thankfully, the only person I’ve ever had an intense conversation about being kid-free with is my mom. My work conversations have all been at most “so, do you have any kids?” “nope, do you?” and that’s the end of that. I know people have strong feelings about having kids but … sheesh.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Agreed. I don’t think I’ll ever understand people being overly-invested in the reproductive choices of others. If you tell me you have kids, grandkids, pets, or hobbies, I’m likely to try to remember at least something about them to make polite conversation at work, but that’s about it.

        I must just have very civilized coworkers because I don’t recall these sorts of discussions happening at my place of work regularly. I did once work with a woman who was childfree-by-choice and very smug about how superior she was to parents and then, when she and her husband changed their minds and decided to have a baby, they became very smug about having a natural childbirth and how awful it was to use painkillers during labor. (My favorite was when, at a work event, her husband – the person NOT giving birth – told me (had one kid and was pregnant with another) and our boss’s wife (two kids) that labor pains were a mind-over-matter thing and anyone who needed an epidural was weak-minded and he was glad his wife was going to be stronger than that.) I don’t think that was about being child-free/having kids, I think they were just very smug and judgmental people and, if it wasn’t kids, it would have been something else.

        1. Observer*

          I think they were just very smug and judgmental people and, if it wasn’t kids, it would have been something else.

          Definitely! When you are THAT ignorant, you WILL find something to be smug and superior about.

        2. Lacey*

          Yup. I know a number of people who are child-free by choice, but only a few of them act like they’re the world’s best people for not having kids. And if it wasn’t for not having kids, it would be for being vegan. Or having tattoos. Or living in an apartment.

        3. Jean (just Jean)*

          I flunked out of LaMaze class (dropped it because of pregancy-related health problems), grasped at the epidural almost as soon as labor pains began, and have always felt a bit inadequate about this. (Which is ridiculous, since parenthood is way more than labor & delivery.) People this smug arouse my evil desire to wish for them just one afternoon (not an entire lifetime! not even an entire year!) when their beloved child will not nap, will not eat, and will not be redirected from throwing toys, running around, screaming, and drawing on the walls with crayons, or permanent marker. No lifelong trauma for anybody, just a toddler sufficiently cranky to give their self-satisfied parents a three-hour taste of Hell aka enough time to realize that sometimes in life we only *think* that we have all the answers. In other words, grrrrowl.

        4. HoHumDrum*

          I think they were just very smug and judgmental people and, if it wasn’t kids, it would have been something else.

          ^^^ this is my take on so many of the things people fight about. I mean for me I developed this philosophy about the judgmental vegan guy in our animal rights group, but since I came to that realization about him it’s helped me see the same attitude in so many other places.

        5. AKchic*

          Oh my gods. no. just no.

          Full disclosure: I didn’t have pain medications with any of my labors or births. It wasn’t because I didn’t want them. It was because by the time I got to the hospital, it was too late for them to be effective (and in once case, with delivery 3, we didn’t even have time to put an IV in until after delivery).

          Pain management is not a contest of wills and mental fortitude. Pain management is a tool on the shelf. It’s an option for those who may need it to help facilitate / ease the birth experience. Birthing a baby should not be a horrifying experience for the laboring/birthing person. It shouldn’t be a “scared straight” moment. Some people need to stop treating it as a rite of passage to collect horror stories to pass on to the next generation of new birthing parents. *glares at the majority of my family*

        6. allathian*

          Ouch. They’re jerks. I pity the kids who have the misfortune to have them as their parents…

      2. cat lady*

        Ha, my gut response to the do you have kids question is “no, gross.” It doesn’t go over well, generally, but is my genuine instinct (and only gets stronger the older/farther into my 30s I get)

        1. Filosofickle*

          Yeah, “Oh Hell No” is my instinctive response. Sometimes I say “Absolutely not!” with a big smile, going for funny-honest. But it’s better if I remember just to answer the question without commentary.

        2. Extroverted Bean Counter*

          For whatever it’s worth, my current response to “do you have kids” is “yes, it’s gross” – ha.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            +1, though the cats give the kids a run for their money on the gross-out factor, especially now that the kids deal with themselves in the bathroom and can usually make it to a trashcan or toilet if they feel sick. The cat will look you straight in the eye while they line up the hairball hork trajectory to juuuust hit the carpet instead of the hard floor.

          2. AKchic*

            My youngest is 12. I fully support your response. Especially when my adult children come home with bags of laundry, art and prop supplies, and *ideas* for costuming (meaning I may have to spend money). Oh hey, look, photos of animals, don’t I want another pet? They’d visit more often (oh, um… do I *want* them to visit more often?)

        3. whingedrinking*

          For me, the weird thing is when people go, “Oh, but don’t you really, really want one?”
          Well…no. Babies are just small humans to me. I don’t have an “awwww!” reaction any more than I do looking at a random adult. If I wanted a baby half as much as I want a dog, there would be multiple FB groups featuring baby pictures in my feed and the Youtube algorithm would be constantly recommending me baby videos.

        4. Keyboard Cowboy*

          Huh, interesting. I’ve always had that reaction too and it’s gotten stronger as I get closer to 30. My mom is convinced some switch will flip and I’ll change my mind, but I feel like that would have happened by now. Thanks for sharing your experience, it helped me out to hear that my hormones might not get into a fight with my life choices :)

          1. London Lass*

            I’m 35. The more I see of my friends’ kids, the happier I am that I don’t have any of my own! Especially the really young ones. I prefer young people I can have a conversation with.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer*

              40- something here and entering menopause (ye gods it’s rough) and STILL getting told it’s ‘not too late to have a baby’ every time I interact with my nephews and nieces. I’m currently online gaming with my 16 year old nephew who is a real geek, clever but misunderstood by family because he has a few mental differences. I can get on fine with him, but the younger (and mentally normative) kids are…just incomprehensible to me.

              I’m sure I’m happy just being the weird aunt.

            2. Petticoatsandpincushions*

              I have a young child and I want another one, and I would NEVER wish it on anyone who wasn’t super enthusiastic about the whole idea. Even enjoying having a child took a long time for me to process (and a prescription for antidepressants haha), and he was very much wanted and planned for. I can’t imagine doing it just because people thought I should have kids.

        5. Rainy*

          A well-meaning coworker of mine asked me, not long after Mr Rainy and I got married, when we were going to “start our family” and it’s like, we have a cat and a dachshund, what more do you want (well, turns out–another cat) but I, knowing what she meant, said something like “Oh, we’re not having kids, the cat and dog are enough work” and she actually corrected me: “You mean you’re not intending to have them.”

          Uh, dude, we know how that works now, so we can stop it.

    4. Temporarily Anon*

      I had a hysterectomy at 25. Very suddenly. I wrote about the experience a bit in the six months or so after the surgery and was proud of my writing, so it was there if anyone googled me or went back to that period of social media. I didn’t talk about it a lot in person, but if someone got invasive about kid questions, I might mention it, but only if deflecting did not work. So. Three years later, I’m in grad school. A classmate who I never told about the surgery got pregnant. Her advisor called me in to talk. Apparently she (classmate) found my writing about my surgery (either googling me or going back through three years of social media posts) and the fact that I had had the surgery made her uncomfortable despite the fact that I’d never been anything but warm and friendly to her. She was convinced that I secretly resented her, that I was jealous, etc. (funny enough if she’d read what I’d written, I wasn’t particularly interested in pregnancy, I was more concerned about how sudden having the surgery was, the fear that it would be a dealbreaker in relationships, etc.). I was told I needed to tread carefully around her, and encouraged to send her one of the more expensive items on her registry as a show of good faith. I told my advisor what happened and that I was going to avoid both classmate and her advisor, and that if anyone asked about it, it was because of the assumptions she was making, not because of the pregnancy.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I’ve got a theory about it, not backed up by any evidence, that if someone chooses to do/believe in something and then sees someone else making a different choice it shatters their belief that their way is the only possible right way and thus by doing otherwise you’re indirectly calling them ‘wrong’ and they can’t take it.

        Like if I saw someone go horse riding and complained afterwards because I can’t do that because of a spinal injury and therefore by doing it they are insinuating that people with spinal injuries deserve to have less fun in their lives.

        Any computer would emit more smoke than a coal fired power station upon trying to understand that ‘logic’ but human brains are really good at it.

        1. allathian*

          That may hold true for some people, but I’ve found that if someone gets pregnant just because it’s the expected thing to do, without actively wanting to be a parent, they’re the most resentful when someone else “dares” to make a different choice and is clearly happy with it.

          People who are confident in themselves and their choices, or simply happy with how their lives have turned out, are much less prone to judge others for making different choices. At least this has been the case in my experience.

          I have a child, but my sister is happily childfree and she told me that people have finally stopped asking her when she’s going to have kids or questioning her choice now that she’s 45. Or at least they don’t go “oh, just wait and see, you’ll change your mind” anymore.

          One of my best friends has four kids, two boys and two girls. When she had just given birth to the first son, some people started asking her if they were going to try for a second child. A couple of years later, she had a daughter. That seemed to make lots of people happy, she had the “ideal” family of one each. A few years later she got pregnant again, and from what I heard, some people wondered a bit how she was going to reconcile having a career with her larger than average family, but with the fourth kid, she told me that more than one person had asked her if the pregnancy was an accident… They just wanted a big family and were lucky enough to get it.

          1. Hamish*

            Yeah, I think this is the case, not just for having kids but for lots of things in life. The people who seem to get most upset about others making different choices than themselves are the people who seem to not really examine their choices, just do the thing because it’s expected/the norm/path of least resistance. (Another scenario that comes to mind is the trope of the vehement Christian homophobe who turns out to be queer, but closeted.)

  10. palomar*

    Everyone’s right, it’s not your job to manage anyone’s feelings, but…. oof, I hope commenters can be a bit more kind and stop insinuating things like Jane’s going to steal a baby, or that she’s now faking a pregnancy. That whole segment of the letter that goes from Jane’s sudden pregnancy announcement to radio silence to a week away from work and a return that features a WAY more intense lockdown on pregnancy talk… well, let’s just say I can tell that a lot of you have never had fertility problems and then jumped the gun when what you thought was a pregnancy turned out with a different ending. I’m glad OP got a good outcome from all the work strife, but… I hope Jane is okay. Because it kind of sounds like she might be going through a personal hell right now.

    1. AspiringGardener*

      I agree. And I vehemently disagree that OP “deserves” to talk about her pregnancy as much as she wants. It’s not relevant to the workplace, and although it will come up it doesn’t need to be a constant source of conversation.

      1. Tabby*

        This part. Pregnancy talk should be the absolute minimum — no details, just a quick, “Progressing well!” “Nursery’s looking good!” is ALL you should be announcing to the office at large. Anything else is TMI.

        1. HoHumDrum*

          Eh, I think it depends on your office culture though. In my office people chat a lot, about a lot of their life. It would be weird if we told someone who was pregnant that they needed to keep that part of their life to themselves.

          1. allathian*

            In general, yes. But I hope that if you knew that someone was struggling with infertility, you’d expect the pregnant person to at least avoid gloating about it in the struggling coworker’s presence. But yeah, a total ban on pregnancy talk is usually uncalled for. And to be fair, most people who are struggling with infertility don’t expect a total ban on pregnancy talk at the office.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        False. The majority of work places do not dictate that you only talk about work and keep personal conversations to a minimum. You’re being extra-extra right now.

        There’s a middle ground. Find it.

      3. The Other Victoria*

        Like, Jane should not have tried to ban the topic entirely, but if OP did not have the good sense to realize that Jane is not the ideal audience for regular discussions on the topic (which to her credit, I’m sure she does), it would be worth accepting the fact that life is probably easier if she doesn’t talk about the topic around Jane a lot.

        I know someone who was recovering from miscarriages while their coworkers were pregnant on a similar timeframe aligning with their would be due date, and apparently even asking nicely “this is really hard for me, could you please consider not talking about pregnancy for extended periods of time around me” got them lectured by HR about pregnancy discrimination. I hope that this is just really, really shitty HR and not actually a thing. All of that to say, Jane could behave a lot better, but I feel like people, in general, are already more primed to empathize with a pregnant person than someone who is struggling to conceive and this compounds already fraught scenarios.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          I am certain that OP already planned to not discuss much with Jane, but having a blanket ban is unreasonable because you have to allow for the occasional comment like “I have to leave early for a doctor’s appointment” or something without having Jane get mad that you went back on your word. I mean, in the first letter, OP literally had not even said one single word to *anyone* about being pregnant, let alone Jane, and Jane was still getting angry at her for her morning sickness. I think it’s probably safe to assume from that that the list of things Jane wanted to ban was unreasonable.

  11. Jaybeetee*

    On the one hand, poor Jane!

    On the other hand, Jane got wildly unreasonable there! I’m in a similar situation, not with fertility, but with a different Basic Life Goal that many people around me have achieved but I have not. I’m capable of being happy for other people, but yes, I understand the “ouch” feeling of other people having the thing you want.

    That said, I can’t imagine how self-absorbed I’d have to be to ban the people around me from discussing things happening in their lives. In the end, many of us have our griefs to carry.

    1. ampersand*

      Right?! Very well said. Things don’t always go the way we want them to, and that’s part of being human.

  12. Working Hypothesis*

    Yeah, like many other people here, I’ve been through this. I’ve had fertility problems when everyone around me seemed to be getting joyfully pregnant with no trouble at all, and I’ve had a miscarriage when everyone else’s pregnancies seemed to be going swimmingly.

    AND I always managed to smile painfully and congratulate them and behave like an adult, even when my heart was breaking. Because they weren’t getting permanent to make me feel bad, and they had the right to celebrate their own moments without my making it all about me and my pain.

    Jane has no right to ‘forbid’ anything, let alone to forbid normal topics of conversation because they happen to be painful for her. As a compassionate person, I’m sure LW doesn’t have any intention of rubbing her face in it deliberately; but pregnancy is so big a life experience that it doesn’t make sense never to mention it at all for several months! Nor is it the right of any coworker to dictate what their office mate may talk about and when.

    LW, congratulations on your pregnancy!! I wish you a smooth and uneventful experience and a healthy baby, and I hope your colleague works through her own stuff and comes around at least to the point of being capable of common courtesy.

  13. Robin*

    FFS. I was struggling with fertility issues at the same time as I worked in a “baby factory” …. I E many many people at my office got pregnant. at one point BOTH of my supervisors were on maternity leave at the same time. Not only did I genuinely be happy for them, held the tiny babies when they were brought to the office, I knitted hats for almost all of them till I burnt out, and had to Etsy the hats for a pair of twins. Then I stopped knitting for everyone, I couldn’t keep up.

    I got so I would come home, laugh, and say guess what? My husband would say “someone’s pregnant” YUP.

    You get so you cope, or you crack.

  14. Zephy*

    Hoo boy, I hope Jane is able to get the help she needs. Of course we can’t diagnose over the internet, but this lady is not well – that’s simply not how healthy, well-adjusted people respond to pregnancy announcements. Good luck with your baby OP, may your pregnancy continue to be uneventful.

      1. I'm just here for the cats.*

        Yeah I was wondering that maybe she was saying that She’s trying andit was just really odd timing and odd way to say it.

    1. Alice's Rabbit*

      Likely she was in that waiting period between ovulation/IVF and getting a positive pregnancy test… and then the test came back negative.

  15. CommanderBanana*

    I can see that it could be very, very hard to be working in such close quarters with a pregnant person if you are struggling with infertility, and I could also see gently asking someone to be mindful with the baby talk if you are in that situation, but giving if you are in such a bad headspace that you are giving a coworker a diktat of things that are Forbidden to Discuss, my recommendation would be to find an appropriate place, like a therapist’s office, to work that out in.

  16. AndersonDarling*

    I’m really curious about the forbidden topic list. I figured Jane would just forbid everyone from talking about BABIES. There must have been enough topics to make the OP feel like it was off the rails, so I completely understand going to HR about it.

    1. SherSher*

      Can’t talk about traditional baby colors – never say blue or pink.
      Do not mention booties, toddlers, babies, burp pads, maternity clothes, pacifiers, cribs, Dr. Spock, Baby Elmo, Baby Yoda, diapers, diaper service…

      *shrug* IDK!?!?!?

        1. TTDH*

          What are crybaby cookies? And more importantly, how is there a type of cookie that I’ve been unaware of??

    2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      I didn’t really question this (but you’re right to be curious!) as my mental picture of the list immediately went to something like: childbirth, baby names, setting up an area as a nursery, childcare options when you return to work, maternity leave entitlement, etc.

    3. Observer*

      Well, the OP says babies and “and all things associated with them”

      That is off the rails. I mean, of course the OP should try to be cognizant of the audience. And asking her to be happy for her was not exactly the best move. But this is a whole different level.

    4. OP*

      OP here!

      The list was quite extensive, but it ranged from normal (baby names/ clothes/ nursery stuff) to things that might impact work (no talking about being off for dr appointments), to some truly bizarre. The bizarre is really what made me take the list to HR.

      Disney anything (I’m a huge Disney buff and have a Belle and Beast funko on my desk)
      Anything animated (cartoons, movies, etc)
      Going clothes shopping (because she knew it would be for maternity clothes)
      Food (…)
      The house projects we’re working on (we tore up some gross carpet in our basement and I mentioned we were getting new floors)
      Certain TV shows (The Crown was on this list…)

      I had no intention of discussing baby things with Jane. That would be disrespectful to her, and I know that. This was just… a lot, after the silent treatment.

      1. Tabby*

        OP: What a bizarre list she had there! None of those are baby centered, really! Okay, the mat clothes a little bit, but…

        Goodness, it’s such a bizarre list.

      2. Totally Minnie*

        Oh, wow. This is not a “baby related topics to avoid” list. This is an “I hate you, never talk to me again” list. It’s better all around that she’s not sharing an office with you anymore.

      3. AY*

        Food??? My goodness that’s just bizarre. I’m glad you took this list to HR. That’s so outside the bounds of what’s acceptable in a workplace.

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          Probably because talking about food while pregnant must obviously mean talking about cravings and morning sickness.

          1. Jennifer*

            Or it could just be, I’m grabbing a sandwich from the place down the street, do you want anything?

        2. Name Withheld*

          When we were undergoing fertility testing and treatments, my husband and I were put on strictly regimented elimination diets, to see if food-related issues might be part of the problem. Even the barest mention of chocolate cake had me wanting to eat someone’s face off, because I hadn’t had carbs in 6 months! It took a lot of self-control to stay polite through normal food chatter.

      4. Velawciraptor*

        Sweet fancy Moses, that list is something. It’s far enough out there, I’m almost stunned the list didn’t come with a demand that you exclusively eat sushi and soft cheese around her.

      5. Diahann Carroll*

        Certain TV shows (The Crown was on this list…)

        The Crown?! How is this baby adjacent?!

        1. Natalie*

          Well my mind went to “crowning”, but I can’t imagine why anyone would be talking about that at work…

        2. Dr. Doll*

          Well, you see (elaborately explaining), in Season 1 (or is it 2) Elizabeth has a baby.

          Ooooof, so sorry for Jane; at the same time, she really can’t be this self-centered and still be functional in normal life. What does she do at church, or whatever other normal interactions. she has?

      6. Jennifer*

        The Crown? What in the world? So basically any TV show where someone has had a child. Which is all of them.

      7. Gazebo Slayer*

        OK, that tells me this isn’t about Jane being in pain and this IS about Jane being a controlling, vindictive person. Any sympathy I had for her just vanished.

  17. Seashells*

    I’ve told this story before. I worked with a woman in 1995 who faked a pregnancy right up to taking maternity leave. She would fake being sick, had a baby shower and would invite/encourage people to “feel the baby kicking”! She was a larger woman so no one thought anything about her not “showing”. She made up elaborate lies about what her parents were doing for a nursery (custom made crib, name brand baby clothes), etc. Two weeks after taking leave, no one had heard anything so someone from our shift (this was a factory and – twist!- we made cribs and toddler beds) called her. She said the nursery at the hospital had too many babies so the doctor was going to wait for some to be discharged and then induce her. I knew right then she was lying. Another week goes by and someone else called her house. Her dad answered. They asked had “Kim” had her baby yet and her dad said “What baby? Kim’s not pregnant”. Not five minutes later she called trying to make a cover story but her lie was exposed.

    She claims she was pregnant and lost the baby but was too ashamed to tell anyone. She had planned on finding another job and never coming to back to where we worked. I’ll never know how she managed it, but somehow, she was allowed to return to work at the company. I knew some of her old friends from high school and they said she was never pregnant, she tried to use that to keep her ex, who ended the relationship anyway and married someone else.

    I hope Jane gets therapy or help and congratulations to the OP!

      1. H.C.*

        LOL initially read that as “Lifetime moxie” – which would be fitting too given the string of lies

    1. TL -*

      One of my high school classmates faked a pregnancy and ended up being institutionalized a few years ago (I only saw it unfold on Facebook, but it was wild.) I just checked and she has a happy, healthy kiddo now and lots of familial support, so hopefully she resolved or manages whatever the issues were.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I’ve got to say, the only person I’ve ever heard of until now who’d made up a pregnancy and a baby was my former coworker’s grandmother, who was 95 years old, had dementia, and was in a nursing home. Apparently a very common thing in nursing homes, as they kept a stash of lifesize baby dolls on hand for just these occasions. They gave her one, she happily spent the rest of her life caring for it, and was eventually buried with it. That was totally understandable to me (heck, it might be me someday for all I know), but these stories are mindblowing. Wow, all I can say is, life is wild and the human brain is a complex and fragile thing.

  18. TimeTravlR*

    I feel bad for Jane but, for reasons I don’t want to go into here, it is also painful for me to hear people talk about new babies. Having admitted that, I also want to say that I never ever let on. When the topic comes up I am pleasant, congratulate people, etc. My pain is my own and I don’t need to blame other people for it.

  19. Jennifer*

    Sorry I’m fresh out of sympathy for Jane. Implying she was pregnant too was the last straw. Glad the OP doesn’t have to bunk with her anymore.

    1. Observer*

      I don’t think she was faking. It sounds more like she jumped the gun. Which would have made the situation that much harder for her.

      Her behavior is still not OK.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        I suspect that she was experiencing symptoms of something and interpreting them as symptoms of pregnancy.

        OP wrote in and included this: “Jane isn’t pregnant, but she is having some serious medical issues that will require surgery”.

    2. Gazebo Slayer*

      I’ve been out of sympathy since I saw the list of Forbidden Topics above. This is someone who either insists on controlling everyone around her or has a nasty and very work-inappropriate grudge against OP personally.

  20. ampersand*

    OP, I’m glad things have more or less worked out so far, and congrats to you! Having been in Jane’s position, I can vouch that it’s HARD when a co-worker or friend or honestly, anyone, is pregnant and you’re not. Also being a reasonable person, I feel strongly that Jane is so far out of line. Even when I was on very potent fertility meds I wouldn’t have said/done anything Jane did! Reasonable people don’t act like that. I have sympathy for Jane but also think you made the right call by going to HR. She needed to have someone step in and advise her to rein in her behavior. I’m glad she moved offices!

  21. Sue Wilson*

    If the office isn’t only shared between you too, then I get being frustrated with Jane overall, because she wasn’t acting in any way professionally, and she certainly can’t forbid you from talking to other people and you have every right to expect civil behavior from her, but are there OTHER people in the office you share besides Jane?

    Because, if the office you share was JUST you and Jane, and she demanded you avoid non-work topics related to pregnancy/children (because you know you’d be talking about something that hurts her to her) in the office you share? Then yes, I do think it’s a crappy to tell HR that Jane asked you to avoid topics that would hurt her and involved just you and her. The answer to that was to 1) take it as a request, even though she demanded, say 2) yes I’ll avoid these topics WITH YOU, but I’m not going to avoid them when talking to other people, and c) directly tell her that you don’t appreciate her ignoring you working together. Instead you felt entitled to talk to her about these hurtful topics? Really? You’re absolutely right to expect Jane to be civil regarding the work you both share, meaning that her outright ignoring you is beyond, but that civility does not require that Jane engage with you regarding non-work topics.

    I think you and Jane have boundary issues from sharing an office, and I don’t think it’s just Jane, so it’s probably for the best that she moved. Also I think you saw this as an escalation of Jane’s previously unprofessional behavior and Jane saw it was a way to make sure she could be civil. And for the record, if you’re going HR, I would focus on things that are affecting your work, like her ignoring you completely, not her limiting the topics outside of work, which doesn’t affect your work with her at all.

    1. GothicBee*

      It’s not reasonable to expect the LW to never even mention pregnancy in Jane’s presence. I mean the LW is pregnant. It’s understandable that that fact may occasionally come up. It would be reasonable for Jane to have asked her to avoid discussing it in depth with her, but expecting her to avoid the topic completely isn’t. Ultimately it’s probably best for Jane that she has an office space away from the LW anyway since even if the LW had managed to avoid mentioning pregnancy at all, working in the same office as the LW once she was visibly pregnant was probably going to be too hard for Jane to handle.

    2. OP*

      Reading your comment, there are a few points to clear up. Jane and I share a room, but there are about 20 people in the building. Our work is very collaborative with other departments, so people come through our “room” constantly. But were are the only 2 people with desks in there.

      And I was very careful not to discuss baby things with her. If someone came in and asked how I was feeling/ doing/ etc, I answered them honestly (tired… so tired). Some of the moms had advice, some funny stories. It was hardly me feeling “entitled” to talk to her about things I know are hard for her – I’ve been there too.

      Perhaps we do have boundary issues. Some days, we’re the only people we see. If Jane had asked me to be mindful of bringing up babies around her, I would have been much more receptive to a polite request than an abrasive list of demands. But mostly we discuss movies, or weekend plans. I certainly wasn’t lining her desk with nursery patterns or debating which onesie to buy.

    3. Observer*

      Jane saw it was a way to make sure she could be civil.

      By being preemptively UN-civil?

      In a shared office you don’t get to tell people what they are “allowed” to talk about. The idea that someone is never to talk to anyone else about a particular subject because it bothers the other person in the office is what is boundary crossing. *NOT* sometime talking about whatever the subject it.

    4. Pumpkin Spice Unicorn*

      If you reread the first letter, Jane actually already has a child, and was openly hostile to OP before she announced her pregnancy. I think the letter was fine, and OP was hardly the entitled person you’re making her out to be. Infertility is incredibly difficult to navigate, but OP also struggled with it and seems to have been gracious when Jane discussed her son.

    5. Batgirl*

      Hmm but the list was really more “avoid all non work topics and some work topics too”. Most of the list had nothing to do with babies, but was quite bizarrely to do with OP having a life in general. On the back of icing her out it was a complete silencing order. Given that Jane despises every word OP could or might say, the best route to civility was HR intervening and separating.

  22. Lizy*

    Congrats, OP!

    Infertility and child loss sucks. I don’t doubt it was incredibly difficult for Jane to be around OP. A couple of years ago when I was pregnant, a fellow daycare mom who has struggled with infertility for years literally did not talk to me or look at me AT ALL. We’ve become friends since then, but the pain of seeing someone pregnant when she knew she couldn’t be was quite literally so difficult for her that she opted not to be around me (or anyone pregnant). TBH if she had to work in the same office as someone who was pregnant… I don’t know how she would have reacted. She very well might have tried to get transferred or at the very least get a different office while that person was pregnant. Thankfully she’s doing ok now – it still sucks majorly, and she still wants to be pregnant, but she handles being around pregnant people a lot better.

    But if she had to work in the same office as someone who’s pregnant? Even now? It would be incredibly tough, and while she may be able to push through it, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was icier than normal to her coworker.

    Jane’s response was not ok, but I can’t imagine the pain she must constantly go through. I hope she’s able to find peace.

    OP, her response is not your fault, and you SHOULD be happy for yourself. Congrats, again.

  23. Hei Hei, the Chicken from Moana*

    Don’t tell people “I hope you can be happy for me.” It’s so passive-aggressive. Granted, Jane was WILDLY OUT OF BOUNDS. You can’t dictate how someone feels about your news, regardless of circumstances.

    1. Chriama*

      I think it’s something you can say to someone you have a personal relationship with, but not a coworker. (E.g. mom I know you wish I was marrying a doctor instead of this teacher, but I hope you can be happy for me and stop making pointed comments about his income) Alison covered it well when she said asking for professional behaviour was more appropriate.

    2. Umiel12*

      I disagree. I think, “I hope you can be happy for me” is much less confrontational than saying, “I hope you can be civil to me.” In this sense, I think it was code for “I know you have issues, but don’t act like a jerk over something that I am happy about.”

  24. JeepersCreepers*

    I worked with a woman who was openly resentful and hostile to a pregnant coworker- it was insane. She was insane. I felt bad for her but it was hard to respect her or be around her because she was so bitter.

  25. Chriama*

    To a certain extent, I feel like Jane pushed it with OP because OP was too nice. Like, if at the very beginning OP had said something like “I know this is difficult for you and I don’t expect you to celebrate with me, but we do need to maintain a positive and professional relationship,” that might have cut Jane off before she started making some of the snide comments. But then again, it’s not like there are magic words that make unreasonable people start acting reasonably, so who knows how Jane could have reacted.

  26. OP*

    Hey all –

    I’ve read through some of the comments, and want to thank you for your good wishes and support.

    I sent this in a few weeks ago, and have a bit more of an update. Jane isn’t pregnant, but she is having some serious medical issues that will require surgery. She’s working from home as best she can (our work isn’t really remote-friendly) because she needs to be isolated to avoid infections. My manager told me today that someone is starting with us to begin taking over Jane’s role after the first of the year. Jane’s is expected to be back just before Memorial Day, which coincidentally is just about when I’m due. So this person will be “filling in” for the better part of a year.

    Some of you brought up that talking about baby things with Jane was insensitive, and I totally agree! I hadn’t really said much of anything to her that wasn’t work related, so the list of banned topics was more alarming in that it seemed to come out of nowhere. We weren’t really speaking at that point beyond work stuff, so it did feel quite punitive. I’ll admit to being quite hurt by her behavior; we were friendly enough before I became pregnant, and the complete change in demeanor left me a bit off kilter. I knew it would be hard on her (hence my original letter) but I don’t think I ever expected her to act this way.

    I do appreciate everyone’s feedback :)

    1. Alexander Graham Yell*

      It sounds like you two will have a nice break from each other and she’ll have more than enough to keep her mentally occupied (if in a really unfortunate way). I hope her surgery goes well and that your pregnancy stays safe, healthy, and (medically) boring ;).

    2. Observer*

      Was this list things that she did not want you to discuss WITH HER or things that you were “banned” from discussing in her presence? Because the former is pretty bad (considering what was on the list), but if you squint just right, I can see how she could have thought she could get away with it. But she expected you to not talk to anyone else either, then it’s a good thing she is going to be out for a good long while.

      I hope it gives her the space to get the help she needs to deal with life.

      As for the rest, I hope you have a really boring pregnancy. Those are the BEST ones. And an easy end with a healthy baby.

      1. Batgirl*

        The list is crackers. OP was banned from talking at all about a bunch of very neutral topics in an absolute power play. She updated upthread.

        1. Observer*

          Oh, sure the list is ridiculous. And indefensible.It’s just that I can follow the mental gymnastics that could lead someone to conclude that they could tell someone “Do not mention anything on this list *to me*.” (And it really DOES take mental gymnastics.) “Don’t talk AROUND ME” is another whole level.

    3. allathian*

      Thanks for your update to the update. I hope your pregnancy is boring and that you’ll have an easy delivery. Congrats!
      I also hope that Jane recovers completely and that she’s in a better place when she can get back to work.

  27. Bookworm*

    Thank you for this update, OP. I’m glad all is well for you personally and hope that it continues to be so.

    I am sorry for Jane. It does sound like you tried, but at the same time, you have every right to be happy. Jane emailing to “forbid” certain topics is a bit much. It does sound like she has deeper issues to work out and unfortunate you were caught in all of that.

    Wishing you all the best!

  28. Anonforthis*

    As someone who wants a child, and is having to deal with the fact I may very well never have one…

    It is absolutely hard to hear so many women express their joy at pregnancy, but I honestly have never been highly interested in the topic (I’m a private person so I am always boggled at the borders people cross when talking to a woman who is pregnant).

    Anywho, I do genuinely feel happy for excited expectant mothers, even if I have to distance myself from the message a little. I would never imagine daring to “forbid” someone talking about something so major and impactful on their life. I hope whatever Jane’s problem is, she finds some sort of soultion or comfort.

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