DAME’s Friendkeeper helps a mom-to-be break the news to her fertility-challenged friend and tells another woman how to hold her ground.
A wonderful friend of mine has been trying to get pregnant for what feels like forever. She changed her diet (and her husband’s). She has her ovulation tracked practically to the minute. She’s met with nutritionists and specialists and doctors and, after her first round of in vitro didn’t take, a therapist. She doesn’t talk about it all the time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not always on her mind. We’ve been pretty close throughout—I’ve gotten more “another negative test” texts than I can count. Here’s the rub: I’m pregnant. We weren’t trying, but as a woman in my late 30s I just got kind of cavalier about birth control. Now that it’s happened, I can’t even honestly say I’m thrilled, it feels more complicated than that. But what I’m truly dreading is breaking the news to my friend. I’m not only afraid that it will totally bum her out, but I can see it driving a wedge in our relationship as well, whether she means it to or not. And as of now, I just feel incredibly awkward around her. What should I do?
Baby on Board
This kind of thing happens ALL THE TIME. And every good friend feels like you do. I had this happen to me, too, because I got pregnant very fast. And sometimes people who weren’t that close to me would be hostile, like suggesting the 80 pounds I gained weren’t all baby. But with my dear friends, we dealt with it. One friend had had two miscarriages and then couldn’t get pregnant for years. I had a one-bedroom apartment (not ready) and she had a four-bedroom house (ready). Then boom I got pregnant. I told her that she was definitely going to have kids there was no doubt about it; one way or another she would have children. And I told her they’d probably go to Harvard and mine was probably going to be a dumb pothead. At the very least her kids would have a bedroom. Mine was going to be in a drawer. Many years later she has two adorable, fabulous kids and mine is in rehab. I joke! Of course my child is brilliant and flawless. Anyway, you need to reassure your friend that she will get there—no guarantee how, but she will have a child and then all of this stuff will be water under the bridge. No one ever asks you how long or what method it took to get pregnant with your 16-year-old. And as much pain as she may experience, she will be glad to know you understand that she may not feel like jumping for joy for you or shopping for little bonnets. And it doesn’t sound like you need that from her either. You’re both going to be feeling A LOT of stuff and for both of you empathy will go a long way in insuring you remain friends.
I have a friend who, whenever we get together, we have a really great time. But the whole ordeal of making the plans—oy. No matter what I do or what outing I suggest, she completely takes over, even when I have a specific plan and I did the inviting. I just went through this for the bazillionth time with her. It’s exhausting and so frustrating. If we didn’t have such a fun time when we hang out (doing everything she wants to do), I’d just stop calling her. But we do, so I do, and after a half hour of negotiating plans that were fine to begin with, I want to pull my hair out. It’s so hard to not call her on her need to control things. What do I do?
I think your friend probably does this the most with whomever she gets away with it—in this case, you. A lot of times it feels like it doesn’t matter that much to us when we’re faced with someone so committed to controlling. You let the baby have her way because the effort of standing up for “I want to go to Red Lobster and see The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” seems like more of a hassle than just saying “whatevs.” But you can’t. Because it starts to make you crazy and feel like a patsy and that shouldn’t be. You need to find your inner Leslie Knope. “Hi Suzy, I’m doing this, would love for you to join me.” “Oh how about instead we do Taco Bell and American Sniper?” “Um, no. If that’s what you want to do we can get together another time, but this is what I’m doing.” Stick to your guns, and remember: We don’t negotiate with plan terrorists.
Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.
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