Pregnancy and Parenting Advice From Friends: It Is the Worst Thing Ever. You Should Totally Do It.Heather L. Barmore
There are many great things about having friends who have hopped onto the procreation train while you maintain a close relationship with your cat. The first great thing is that there is always a newborn around to satiate any cravings to feast on some cherubic cheeks. I have the joy of wanting and fulfilling the desire to snuggle a baby with the bonus of knowing that once it starts to cry I can hand it back to its parent. Meanwhile, I sip my wine thinking how blissful it will be to go home and be alone and dive right into a Law & Order: SVU marathon. The second great thing is that my parent friends are all very willing to share. If I mention, out loud, that pregnancy might be a good idea and I might — MIGHT — be contemplating it several years down the line, they laugh and show me their c-section scar.
Recently my friend Heather wrote a piece on what people don’t tell you about pregnancy. It included helpful tidbits about your hair falling out and morning sickness that lasts all day and that it feels like someone is stabbing you in the abdomen. The part that left me thinking that perhaps I might want to rethink this whole giving birth thing was when I got to the part about your feet growing. YOUR FEET GROW. I wear a size 11, sometimes a 12. My feet cannot grow anymore. If they do, I will be shopping in the men’s section. Which, dude, it’s totally fine, I guess. I just don’t think they sell booties with a slight wedge in a men’s size 10.
I used to find the anecdotes helpfully offered by friends to be infuriating. I once had to stop someone mid-story about their pukefest during labor before because OH MY GOD. I’ve gone from eye rolling to a shrug and laugh attitude. There was an entire conversation on my Facebook wall around what no one tells you about pregnancy that left me laughing out loud in my office because it is all so insane and terrifying. It doesn’t help that nature is making me anxious. I turned 30 a few months ago, and every time I hear of a friend being with child I being to wonder about the state of my ovaries. When I’m not worrying about the rapid decline of my reproductive system, I question whether or not I will be able to handle parenting. Women go from hosting another person in their body to pushing that person out of their body to raising that person into a thriving adult. Holy crap. Meanwhile, it took everything I had to get myself out of my bed and into yoga clothes the other morning. I cannot wrap my head around growing and caring for and ensuring that I don’t bring a horrible human being into the world.
We refer to such sharing as ‘assvice’ and it’s often met with a scowl. Thankfully, I have learned to discern between a friend being helpful and one saying things simply to keep me from adding to an already overpopulated planet. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to friends with children I have found myself to be incredibly fortunate to have the friends that I have. The first thing others ask is how I deal with having so many friends who are parents and it’s not a ‘dealing’ with it, it’s accepting that people are at different moments in this whole adventure called life. I’ve learned to simply acknowledge my friends choices but to not compare myself to them. I simply say OK and move along. The truth of the matter is that I have surrounded myself with a group of friends who will gladly share the dirty details of pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and life. Will I have a baby? I have no idea. I don’t know what I’m doing in 20 minutes. Some days the answer is yes and other days it’s a quick HELL NO. But I will always know who to go to whenever the time comes.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Joshua Rappeneker