Finding out a friend is expecting their first baby should be a time of intense joy and happiness for your friend, right? Well, not always. Pregnancy brings up a huge amount of changeable emotions in a person. You can go from happy to sad to disbelief in seconds as you try to process the information. And jealousy, tinged with confusion, is often at the forefront of those emotions too.
It's quite common to feel intense jealousy or to feel nervous that everything is going to change with the arrival of a little one into your friendly circle. So what happens when you're scrolling through Facebook and fall across a post announcing the pregnancy of an ex friend? This could be someone you fell out with over the silliest of things but you never got back on track or a friend you simply drifted away from, never to reclaim those lost years. Well, those intense and probably irrational, feelings are still the same. I think we've all gone through these emotions when discovering that someone who was once a big part of our lives is going to be a mum. The feelings of anger or disbelief don't make us a bad person, they simply make us human.
On top of that, we tend to question our own lives and wonder when or if having a baby will be on the cards for us. One simple post on Facebook can really send us into a whirlwind downwards spiral. Who'd have thought that finding out that Jane, from a life long lost, was having a baby would have such a major impact on us! But it does, you better believe it does. So, let me tell you, in a glorious tongue in cheek fashion, just how you will feel when you see an ex friends baby announcement on Facebook!
Whether you see or hear the oh so wonderful news that Jane, who you haven't seen in over two years, or could it be three, is pregnant, the first thing that pops into your head is, "What?!" Absolute and total disbelief because Jane, as a mum, was never something that crossed your mind before. Or hers, to be frank, because you distinctly remember those conversations in your early twenties that neither of you were having kids.
The shock of seeing Jane pop up on your news feed was enough, let alone discovering that she's with child. At first, you check the calendar to see if it's April 1st because surely this announcement must be fake, a joke, right? But then you notice the 134 congratulatory comments that have popped up under the unintelligible ultrasound image Jane happily posted with the caption "Then two became three" and you realise damn she really is pregnant!
But of course, those comments do very little to sway your denial and for a days after you see Jane's happy announcement, you still refuse to believe it. It may be a few years since you've seen her but surely in that space of time she didn't find THE one and decide to settle down, let alone have a kid, did she?
The best solution to the million and one questions you have is to cyber stalk. So you hop on to Instagram and check her feed. Private! Damn. Ok so, you go to Facebook and even though you unfriended her all those years ago, you manage to piece together bits of her life through mutual friends accounts. This does very little to help your denial of the situation but you do discover that the lovely Jane met her somewhat Mr Perfect shortly after ditching you from best friend status. Jane was happily in love with a baby on the way... surely it can't be true? The denial runs deep!
Once you have gotten over the denial you can admit the truth that Jane is indeed pregnant. In fact she's almost four months pregnant, so really you don't have a lot of time to let it sink in before the baby is in fact here. Since you and Jane still have my mutual friends, you are suddenly feeling a little lost, a little forgotten and a little left out. You are noticing more and more comments from friends to Jane saying how amazing she looks and that they all must meet up for coffee before her little bundle happily takes over her life.
You look at your notifications... zero. Have they all suddenly forgotten about you in favour of pregnant Jane? It feels that way as the photos of your friends with your ex friend start to roll in on your time line. You wonder will they remember that you're here when the baby arrives and Jane is too caught up to meet them all for coffees in the early afternoon?
While cyber stalker your ex friend, you accidentally clicked 'Friend' and Jane instantly added you with a post saying "OMG I haven't heard from you in forever! So nice to connect again!!" Oops, you can't take that friend request back now without looking incredibly rude and begrudging. So you post back "Saw your news! I'm so happy for you!" because really what else can you say. But, let's face it, you don't really mean it!
You will more than likely only admit to yourself that you either don't care at all about the fact that Jane is deliriously happy with the thoughts of becoming a Mum, or you're incredibly jealous of the fact that she has taken your friends to celebrate her joyous news. And yes, you are probably feeling fairly petty for thinking these thoughts and feeling this way, but you just can't help it.
We've all been there. When one friend becomes pregnant, it's like a pandemic and all our friends are suddenly expecting and we're attending a ridiculous amount of baby showers. When you've been to one, you've been to them all, right?
It's almost as though pregnancy is contagious. It's not. We're just sitting in those years when our friends are settling down and starting families and suddenly we're thinking, what about me? As irrational as it is, you panic thinking that you're either a) missing out, b) getting on and really should be 'getting it on' or c) will miraculously fall pregnant like the virgin Mary because everybody seems to be adding their baby announcements on Facebook. Surely yours will be next?
On top of that, your Mom has heard that Jane is pregnant through a friend of a friend of her Mom's and suddenly mother dearest thinks that you are going to join the bandwagon and that babies are all you can think about. Well, no, dear mother, they are not a permanent fixture in my brain just yet.
And then the jealousy hits. Jane has started posting up photos of the cutest little baby outfits which quite frankly have made you incredibly broody. You don't necessarily want a baby just yet in your life, but you are envious that Jane has started on this journey of motherhood which you quite simply don't know if or when you will ever get to that same point in your life. You're not so much jealous that she will get those newborn baby cuddles soon, but rather that she will have something that you have no idea if you will ever have.
You are boyfriendless, and on the verge of quitting the job you hate but you kind of, if you are perfectly honest, in the teeniest tiniest way, are envious of Jane who seems to have it all together. But of course you'll never admit to feeling like this because as your Mom says, jealousy is not a good colour on you. You wonder if you will ever catch up with Jane or will she have the life you have started to desperately crave? All because of the cutest pink dungarees for a baby.
On the upside, there's a good few months were your extra weight will look like nothing in comparison to the baby Momma! Yes, I agree, "She'll get fat" is the pettiest thing we will ever think about a friend who has just revealed her pregnancy, but let's not hide in the dark here! How many of us have had that thought? Raise your hands!
OK, so at least I'm not alone but let's face it, we've all stood in the shadow of Jane's perfect hip and waist line and well, now that's all going to disappear on her. In fact, the petty and childish kid inside you is wondering how long it will take or if she will ever lose the baby weight at all. When someone has something that you want, like a baby, or the perfect boyfriend, our jealous side easily takes over. It's not pretty but it happens.
And of course, one of the best coping mechanisms you can use when good old Jane starts her count down to D day, is to revel in the fact that her life will never be the same again. Yes, Jane will be knee deep in diapers and take shares out in concealer because she'll need it to cover up those dark circles from lack of sleep.
Oh who's laughing now! OK, you're not exactly laughing but you are somewhat relishing the fact that you won't bump into her at the club because her nights of partying will be long over while you still get to enjoy your fair share of nights out. Freedom is underrated and Jane will pretty much lose all of hers now that the bambino will take over her life.
And then the questioning begins. Since you first saw that announcement post on Facebook you've run through emotion after emotion after emotion and finally you've come to the stage where your jealousy has taken over. Its simply not fair that Jane gets to have a baby and you don't. And yes, that mysterious boyfriend has still not magically appeared and you once again chickened out of quitting your woeful job. Your Mom still asks if you've met "anyone special" and subsequently enquires how Jane is doing (because now your friends on Facebook your mom thinks your friends in real life again!) just to push the button even further.
And yes, all you've done since ogling over Jane's month by month bump shots, is wonder what a year bump would look like on you. Why oh why is she pregnant and not you? Oh yes the boyfriend issue.
And then ugh, you're suddenly bored with the constant baby talk and the baby isn't even here yet. Jane is so super excited about little Joe or Julie's arrival that she is inundating your timeline with updates on every kick and hiccup. Does she really think you care about the colours she's debating for the baby's room? Does she really have to tell everyone how amazing she thinks the diaper genie is?
Come on Jane, give it a rest already or you really will unfriend her... again. There really is nothing more boring to someone who has no kids than to constantly hear about every detail of your babies life, even before they are actually born. Someone really needs to tell Jane to change the subject. Or maybe, just maybe you'll move to twitter instead.
Scrolling through Facebook and you see Jane post a heartwarming message about Aunt Ida who bought the baby a stunning hen shaped pillow for tummy time. Jane is forever grateful and let's the world know this by posting 12 kisses and 4 smiley faces for Aunt Ida beside a picture of the incredibly special hen. And suddenly you think with mild panic... is there a baby registry?
And worse still, are you expected to buy something? That accidental click to friend your lovely ex friend Jane those few months ago may end up costing you. Surely she wouldn't expect you to buy a gift? I mean you haven't been friends in quite some time. That negates the friendship pact of buying gifts, doesn't it? You frantically scroll through Jane's profile and find no reference to a baby registry. You'll check again tomorrow just in case.
After you go through Jane's profile for the 18th time to make sure there's no baby registry and to double check that none of your mutual friends,who have some sort of similar distance from Jane, are not buying gifts for baby Joe or baby Julie, you count your blessings that you're not really friends any more.
Regardless of what happened to split the two of you up, you're quite happy that you have not had to suffer the tiring conversations from Jane about babies and babies and more babies. It's simply not a conversation you are ready to have, especially with someone who grinds your gears... more so now considering she has let her pregnancy take over every single instance of her life.
In fact, the more you think about it, you will more than likely never be friends again. When babies come along you know that life changes dramatically. Jane will most certainly not be the same person, whether that is a good thing or not. She will become this whole new mom type person. And that type of person is someone you simply can't relate to at the moment.
No matter how jealous of her youngest may be, and no matter how much you'd love to be in her position, the fact of the matter is, the you are just not there yet. You are not ready to swap strawberry daiquiri's for cold coffee or to have someone constantly calling your name or clawing at you. Whether you and Jane will ever be friends again is up to you but right now it just doesn't seem likely.
And then you wonder about the change. Jane will most certainly be a different person once she gets into a new routine of life with a baby. Her entire world will get flipped upside down and will change. Change is not necessarily a good thing but what if it is in this case? What if the Jane you used to know and let's face it, dislike, changes and becomes someone you actually, dare I say, would like?
So you find her frustrating now as she posts reams and reams of images about loving being pregnant, and loving her unborn baby and you can't imagine having anything in common with her but you absolutely dont know. Jane could become the friend who was never meant to leave your life. So keep the channels open and you never know, this baby could bring you both back together again.
And finally, through all of the shock, the disbelief, the acceptance and the happiness for lovely Jane, you can't help but question, will it ever happen for me? Perhaps this is the question that has been on your mind since the very beginning when you saw that ultrasound image and struggled to pinpoint the baby in it. Maybe seeing Jane pregnant, which pulled up a million and one emotions for you, lead you to this one simple question.
The question that will make you reevaluate your life. Make you wonder and question if being a mom is ever going to be on the cards for you. In fact, seeing Jane pregnant may make you more ambitious and hopeful that it may just happen for you some day.
Of course, you will need to find that boyfriend first but your future is wide open to you. And now that you realise you want kids of your own, you may be more open to encouraging that side of your life instead of running away from it. And hey, Jane might just become one of yur Mom friends down the line. So say thank you Jane for opening up your eyes!