When every one around you is having babies and you’re just trying to figure out how to make this month’s rent.
I received a text from one of my closest college friends one day. It was a picture of the tiniest knitted socks with our college logo on the front. The caption that followed the attached image was nothing more than an emotional face – the one that if it could be accompanied with audio, would say “I’m all warm and fuzzy inside”. Instantly I knew what the image was trying to convey; any person with working eyes could see those socks weren’t meant for normal sized feet. Nevertheless, I asked her to spell it out for me. What did the photo mean? Naturally she came out and said it: she was pregnant.
She began breaking down the timeline, leaving no detail out about how her parents felt, his parents felt, and what the soon-to-be family’s next course of action was. As she laid out every detail, I felt her excitement jumping out of my phone screen and dancing around me in circles. Me and my other friend who was also included in the group text, congratulated her on her news and joked about what we hoped the sex would be and what kinds of gifts we would buy. She was happy, and in that case, we were happy too. But within all my joy for her, I couldn’t help but think about my own goals in life and how her circumstance would alter our relationship.
Can friendships in your twenties endure a pregnancy?
We graduated college only two months earlier, and a baby on board just wasn’t on my radar. A month after graduation, I packed up what I could fit in a U-Haul truck and moved to a small apartment in New York City. Along with the burden finding a place to live, I was also plagued with the stress of finding a job. Friends who graduated a year before, told me stories of how hard life after college was. They weren’t lying. Finding employment quickly became the number one goal on my to-do list. So amidst my frantic job search, I was even more so surprised to here that my friend was having a baby . Before, our talks of baby names and baby showers, our friend group discussed non-responsive jobs and future plans. It may have been clear that we all wanted children; my now pregnant friend expressed her enthusiasm playing the mom-figure as a part of her future plans. I guess I didn’t realize the future she spoke of in college was now. Even more than contemplating how different our realities were at this point, I wondered more about how they would affect our friendship. Can friendships in your twenties endure a pregnancy?
It’s not that I haven’t had pregnant friends before. In fact, many of my friends have been getting pregnant over the course of the last three years. My childhood friend recently celebrated her child’s one-year birthday and I recently had the best time on New Year’s at a friend’s house as she put her baby down for the night. These were friends, but I rarely ever saw them anymore; we lost touch, and that wasn’t because of their pregnancy alone. Although it was a combination of things, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that it was even if we stayed friends, we could no longer relate. My friend now is a much closer friend, who I’ve shared many more laughs and cries with, but the issue still prevails.
How can you continue to grow a friendship if you’re growing in opposite directions?
When we all get together and catch up, she’ll be drinking water, while I’l be chugging my third beer. When I talk about how my boss is a raging lunatic, she’ll be sharing stories of her ultra-sound and baby clothes. Our friendship is deeper than what kind of beverage we drink at dinner, but how can you continue to grow a friendship if you’re growing in opposite directions?
Sure, I want kids eventually, but I don’t want them now. That may be because I haven’t found anyone I want kids with, or it may be because I have a different big picture painted for myself. I’ve found that that it’s unhealthy to push your dreams on other people and because of that realization and I can be completely happy for my friend’s choice to go along with her pregnancy. But if the roles were reversed, I’m sure I would choose a different path.
It may not come across as so, but I am genuinely happy for my friend and her growing family. And when her baby arrives, I will marvel at its tiny feet and make all the funny faces I can make. Even so, I have to question whether our friendship will ever make it past the occasional check ins and visits.
A couple of days ago I received another group text from my friend with pictures of her sonogram. We all laughed while guessing the sex of the baby. It’s nearing the end of the month, and I’m fixating on getting all of my money together to pay rent and 3-dollar Happy Hours. She’s thinking about baby showers and nurseries.