Sitting in Starbucks this afternoon, while Doug wrote a paper* for his English class, I worked on his stocking and people-watched. And one set of people I watched made me sad.
Two girls came in – both about my age, give or take a few years, both pretty, and both wearing stylish casual clothing and flip-flops. One of them was probably around 5 months pregnant. (Or she’s a skinny girl who drinks way too much beer, or she had a fibroid tumor growing in her abdomen; but as much as I tend to over-assume pregnancy, I’m guessing the most obvious answer was the correct one here.)
So of course, my initial thought was, “Fuck, get out. Please don’t sit near me and talk about baby names and your swollen feet and ruin my nice afternoon.”
The pregnant girl went to the bathroom while her friend ordered: two salted caramel hot chocolates, both with whipped cream. The pregnant girl came back, they got their drinks, and they left, just like I’d hoped they would.
Now here’s the part that makes me sad.
I want that.
Not the pregnancy. We already knew I wanted that. But watching these girls, something about their prettiness, or their unobtrusiveness, or the innocence of their drink choice… I thought it was so sweet that the one girl treated her pregnant friend to a hot chocolate, because the pregnant friend couldn’t have coffee, and then got a hot chocolate for herself, as well. Like, solidarity, sister.
Of course, I’m projecting. I’m making up these girls’ story based on the slice of it that I saw. But it made me wish that I could be more like the friend. I wish that I could be happy for my pregnant friends, that I could treat them to hot chocolate, or take them out to talk about baby names, or tell them how cute their bumps are.
Instead, I mostly just apologize, and tell them I’ll see them in nine months, because, “I get a lot more normal after the baby is born.”
This is no longer acceptable to me. It’s been two years. I wish I could just flip a switch on my feelings so that I could have a normal, healthy reaction to what’s supposed to be joyful news; so that I could be a normal, supportive friend instead of going on gestational hiatus, actively ignoring my friends’ pregnancies while I fight my own demons, again and again and again.
Today I am thankful for my friends, who have been understanding and supportive throughout this nightmarish process, and for hot chocolate, which sounded so good.
*The assignment was to write an argumentative essay, and Doug’s chosen topic is, “How the Women’s Rights Movement Ruined Society.” It’s actually about the difficulty of surviving on one income, as well as the difficulty of raising children in a two-working-parent household, but needless to say, he’s a class favorite right now.