Before she even said it, I knew. She had ordered water with dinner. Girls night out without wine? She had to be pregnant. Sure enough, the confession came out. She was still in the first trimester, so I had to keep it quiet.
I've been pregnant. I have a child. I knew what I was supposed to say. I smiled. I hugged her. I gushed and said all the things you're supposed to say when one of your very best friends confides in you that she's expecting a child.
But inside, I just wasn't feeling it. If I dared to be completely honest with any of my half a dozen pregnant friends (seriously, what is in the damn water?), they'd probably be hurt and not want to talk to me again.
Because the truth is ... I hate when my friends get pregnant.
I'm a mother. I have a kid. I know that what I'm saying makes absolutely no sense. But whoever said emotions make any sense?
I also know that what I'm saying is horribly selfish, but I think we're all kind of selfish sometimes. What's most important is keeping that selfishness bottled up inside and acting a lot nicer than we feel.
But who hasn't felt a little bit crappy when their friend announces they're pregnant?
The fact of the matter is, when a friend gets pregnant, you can pretty much guarantee that your lives are about to diverge like those two paths in the Robert Frost poem. She's about to dive back into sleepless nights and shitty diapers, and even though she is a brilliant, funny, fun woman to be around most of the time, you won't get to enjoy any of that awesome side of her because she just won't have TIME for you what with all those shitty diapers to change and sleepless moments.
Your friendship is about to change, and as happy as you might be for her, I think it's OK to grieve that change. The fact is, you won't be as close as you were. You won't call her any hour of the day because you'll fear waking the baby, and she won't want to go out for a monthly girls night because she's breastfeeding and she wants to be near the baby.
Things will change.
I hate change.
I also hate myself more than a little bit for feeling this way because as a mother myself, I get it! I absolutely, 100 percent understand what new motherhood is like, and why a new mom doesn't have time for her friends. I was there once.
But now that my child is older, I have gotten back some of my own life. I CAN have a girl's night. I CAN spend an hour on the phone while my kid plays video games or LEGOs. I CAN be a good friend and a good mother both.
A new mom just can't.
And honestly, I'd probably be OK with all of this if we were just talking about a year or two. But when you have a child, it isn't just that new motherhood stage that divides you from your current friends. It's everything about life with a child from here on out.
What you do with your child dictates your own social life in many ways. If your child is in story hour at the library, you're making friends with the moms at story hour. If your child is in pre-school, you're making friends with the moms at pre-school. And so on. These are the women you have the most in common with at this point in time, after all. Friendship with them is easy. You don't have to bring out your brilliant, funny, fun sides with those moms to find something to talk about it.
The older my child gets, and the farther I get from pregnancy, the more I understand where the childfree folks are coming from when they can't muster a whole lot of happiness over a friend's pregnancy.
She's happy for her friend, but she knows what's coming: she will now have to compete for a piece of the pie not just against the baby (who will and SHOULD come first) but against all those other moms out there. She -- we -- have to share our friend.
I went to kindergarten. I know HOW to share, but let's face it, sharing kind of sucks. You never get as much as you really want.
Do you ever feel disappointed when a friend announce she's pregnant? Why?
Image via Sonja Dahlgren/Maskot/Corbis