I have several pregnant/new mommy friends. I am not handling it well.
I’m putting on the requisite happy face, because I’m happy. I AM. But I also keep saying dumb things. Loud, dumb, probably offensive things. I am being a bad friend, and it’s because I’m not doing well with this for a lot of reasons.
Your Pregnancy Terrifies Me
You know that scene in Alien? The one with the chestburster? The second I think of pregnancy, that is the first thought that pops into my head. There is something GROWING INSIDE YOU. I’ve seen cross-sections of pregnant ladies, and the extra human body tucked up in there? It gives me a severe case of the squicks. Even though I often feel my own biological clock ticking, the physiological realities of pregnancy terrify me. And when you go, “OH! The baby moved!” I have to force myself to stay still and not slide away from you. I’m praying you never ask me to touch your stomach, even though I think having something kicking your ribs 24 hours a day and STILL LOVING THE ALIEN LIFE FORCE, pretty much makes you Superwoman. (And also, I kind of want to feel the baby kick because I feel like I’m supposed to want to because of bonding(?) and also because I want to conquer my fear. It’s like holding a tarantula.)
I Can’t Relate to the Details
The merits of breastfeeding? The relative benefits of charcoal-activated cloth diapers vs. regular cloth diapers vs. disposables? The colors of your nursery? The fact that you’re calling it a nursery like you’re some kind of late 1800s duchess? I have no experience here. I literally cannot communicate on this topic. I’m happy to nod for a while, but I feel useless to you. I can’t offer anything to you and the conversation is so unrelated to my life, all I want to do is escape into a non-baby zone. And that makes me (and makes me feel like) a bad friend. The details of your child-rearing are unimportant to me. I care about this kid because this is going to be YOUR awesome kid. The rest of it? I have no opinion on. And since I know you can tell I’m practically baby illiterate, I don’t know how to offer help with the next few years of your life. I’m really afraid that you’ll never let my irresponsible, immature self hang out with your kid. Even though you used to think I was pretty cool.
I Don’t Cope With Change Well
Let’s not pretend this isn’t going to fundamentally change our relationship. It already has fundamentally changed our relationship. I feel guilty opening a bottle of wine in front of you. (And besides, I don’t want to drink the whole bottle by myself. I already feel like you’re entering this brave new world without me and I’m stuck in my old ways.) What happens when the baby is born? Can you come out past 10? Can you hang out in your own house past 8? Everything I’ve read from new parents is like, “My life just started now that I’ve had this baby.” “Babysitters are expensive and my old friends just don’t understand, so I don’t see them anymore.” “Other people with babies just understand my life better.” It all adds up to make your childless friends feel like they weren’t part of your REAL life, even though all we want is to be with you. We get that your life has changed, it’s got a (hopefully awesome) tiny person now. We just still want to fit in that life somewhere, and all signs point to the fact that you’ve exited the highway and the rest of us are still driving.
So I’m sorry. I’m sorry I keep saying the wrong thing and making an ass of myself. I’m sorry I’m not coping well. I’M (selfishly, I know) NOT READY FOR THIS. Please keep being my friend anyway.
And feel free to yell at me with your scary pregnancy anger hormones. I (probably) totally deserve it.