So your friends are pregnant. Maybe not all of them… but it only takes one good girlfriend getting knocked up to feel like the entire world is growing a human inside them. Facebook albums documenting the fetus’ growth will appear and your news feed will be inundated with constant streams of morning sickness updates and belated well wishes. It’s a momentous day when the phone rings and your friend shrieks “I’M PREGNANT!!!!!” It’s even more momentous when that statement is followed by birth plans and giddy laughter instead of finding a ride to the sexual health clinic. I hear this is all part of growing up and I’m anticipating that the next 10 years or so will be full of friends and colleagues hopping on the baby train to parenttown. This is fine. A majority of the population enjoys the idea of birthing people and raising them the best they can. I am not one of those people and I am now faced with the realities and the real pregnancy test that comes with being a friend of pregnant women.
I should preface this mess of writing by letting you know that despite my desire to remain childless so that I can do things like travel, sleep, and have a disposable income, I’m a little excited to become a faux-aunt (a faunt?). Tiny baby clothes fill me with joy, I love little baby fingers, and it will be cool to see something so small get big and start asking me to buy them cigarettes and beer (to which I will gladly say yes). So there are definite perks to my friends procreating that I do not deny. Most of all, I am always happy when my besties are happy. Deep down I am glad their eggs were inseminated and their vaginas are going to be tortured by various medical interventions, simply because I know they are glad too. The thing is, despite all the joy surrounding a planned pregnancy, there is also a great sadness.
I understand the desire to keep things the way they are. No one wants to straight up admit babies eff shit up and will turn everything upside down. We all want to believe we’re rockstars at managing life and mothers are no different. I imagine it’s difficult to realize the shift that will happen in your life once you have gotten preggers and have a whole new person to care for. As new moms consciously or subconsciously mourn the loss of their pre-baby life, so do their pre-baby friends. We were there when you were drunk off your ass dancing in cages in sketchy clubs and held no judgment when you fucked four different guys in one week. We saw it all and we held your hair. And even though we’re [insert age here] and have grown-up jobs/houses/cars, it’s not that easy to say goodbye to the person you were. It may have been awhile since we stayed up till 5am drinking magnums of $10 champagne but with no babies roaming around there was still the chance we could have an unexpected night of bad choices. Maybe we’ll still party. Maybe we’ll still take expensive trips to Vegas. But the context will change, the spontaneity will leave, and the experience will have a different feel. You’ll be sad you aren’t with your new love and I’ll be sad I tore you away simply because I miss you. I’ll feel selfish for calling and whining about my ugly haircut because you have bigger things to deal with. Even though we are both happy and living a life we love, there will be a tinge of sadness around our fast lunches and brief phone calls.
Just as in any relationship hitting a rough patch, this pregnancy thing will be a test of our commitment. I’ll sit through tales of disgusting things like episiotomies, diaper rash, and chaffed nipples. You’ll sit through stories about bitchy co-workers, chipped manicures, and one night stands. There will be times when you will wish I had a baby and there will be times when I wish you didn’t. We will reminisce about the old days but know this is where life goes, and that we’ll get through the young baby stage and reunite when the babies grow into kids and go to school. When they’re at sleep-away camp we’ll go to Cabo and when they’re at slumber parties we’ll get drunk like we used to. Things will shift and we’ll find our way. Friendship pre-baby and post-baby certainly won’t look the same, but I hope it will feel the same.