“All my friends are wasted….”
A few summers ago there was a catchy song and that was the chorus. While there was a time in my life when those lyrics may have been applicable I seem to be singing a different tune now.
“All my friends are pregnant…”
Or at least it would appear that way. We’re coming down off of what I like to call peak announcement season. Peak announcement season is the time of year (December) when everyone announces they’re engaged, they’re pregnant or reminds everyone that 2016 was the BEST. YEAR. EVER. complete with a wedding photo. So many people were getting engaged I started to wonder if they were getting re-engaged since everyone else was doing it. Why not!
“Didn’t you just have a baby? Are you having another one? Is it the same one but a different picture? Can I get a Venn diagram or family tree or something so I can figure out which baby goes with who? Maybe some sort of flowchart?” That’s what I found myself thinking as I scrolled through Facebook on December afternoon.
But seriously, it does feel like all of my friends are pregnant.
It’s exciting! My friends are beautiful and glowing and I love celebrating them. I love cherishing the new life they’re stewarding. I tilt my head to the side and try not to stare too hard when they walk by, but I’m truly in awe of them.
Women, particularly pregnant women, are the bravest people I know.
They’re doing the scariest thing one could possibly ever do. I’m sure they’re terrified and yet they handle themselves with such grace and poise that one might forget how this is all brand new to them and they’ve never done this before. In fact, they’ve never done anything like this before because, I don’t care who you are, nothing could ever prepare you for pregnancy, for birth, and then for parenting. There are no books or classes or dogs that could ever convey the magnitude of what’s happening to you.
I admire my friends for their courage. I adore them and their showing and/or secret pregnant bellies. When they let me, which they’re often kind enough to do, I kneel down next to their stomachs and gently place my hands on the tiny little human they’re brewing and I’m overwhelmed by how excited I am to meet this stranger inside.
And yet he or she is not a stranger. I know him or her because I’ve known and loved his or her parents. I feel an intimacy with this miniature version of my friends that I’m positive will only grow as tiny human grows.
It’s all also quite sad too. When I come home from the baby shower or the party or the coffee date I feel a burden in my own belly too.
I wish I could tell my pregnant friends I feel left behind.
It all feels so selfish. Here they are focusing on bringing new life into the world and the last thing they need is their selfish single friend bringing them down. And yet I can’t help but feel as though they got a golden mushroom in Mario Kart and they’re speeding by, full steam ahead, while I drag behind hoping to catch up.
I think my sadness is two-fold, I think on one hand I’m sad that they’re moving on and I’m chugging along. I think I’m also sad that we won’t get to do it together, that this is yet another aspect of our lives where we will feel like strangers and, if we aren’t careful, it will push us further and further apart. It’s one less place to connect, one less sphere of common interest, one more “you couldn’t possibly understand…” to enter into our friendship.
It’s not anything to fix or to pity or to wish away. It is both beautiful and tragic.
These friendships are strong enough and wide enough to hold both at the same time.
I believe that with all my heart, I really do.
So to my pregnant friends, don’t run too far ahead and leave us single people in the dust. You need us and we need you too. You need us to babysit and change diapers and give you a break. You need us to remind you of who you really are when you strip away the poopy diapers and the sleep exhaustion. You need us to talk adult things that don’t involve breastfeeding or vaccinations, like who’s getting voted off The Bachelor and to ask you how you’re really doing.
And we need you too. We need you to pave the way and show us how it’s done. We need to watch you fall apart and come back together so that if and when it happens to us we aren’t so scared anymore. We need you to teach us which bottles are the best and how to assemble a crib. We need to watch you be selfless so that we can turn around and do the same. We need your humility, your vulnerability and your willingness to sacrifice.