Sometimes the end of a friendship can hurt more than the demise of a romantic relationship. We kind of expect certain dating experiences to run their course. We keep trying partners until we find our lobsters. Friendships, on the other hand, are supposed to stand the test of time. Thanks to social media it's easy to keep up with people who are no longer in our lives, and I think most of us have mixed feelings when we see their milestones. So it's safe to say you'll experience certain feelings when you find out an ex-friend is pregnant.
I've experienced exactly three friendship break-ups. In each of those cases, I became very close to a woman in a very short amount of time. We were inseparable, and I loved them like sisters. These relationships ended for different reasons: over a guy neither of us ended up with, over a grudge, and over nothing that I can tell — she just slowly faded away and then deleted me from Facebook. Sometimes, that's just what happens when you grow up: you grow apart and, eventually, grow into completely different people with completely different, separate lives.
Still, whether I see my former friends' announcements on my newsfeed or am faced with their pregnant bellies at a mutual friend's wedding, I'm flooded with emotions. Those feelings run the gamut, but at the end of the day I wish my ex-friends, who were such an important part of my life, and their babies all the best. I hope they feel the same about me.
Finding out an ex-friend is pregnant can come as kind of a shock. After all, in another life you would have been holding their hand as they peed on the stick; the first person of their people to know the news. It's disconcerting when you realize your friend hasn't been "a friend" since you exited stage right. Life (literally life) really does go on.
This is especially true if you're trying for a baby yourself. I remember feeling like a green monster when, as a single woman, I met my ex-bestie's husband and daughter, only to find out she was expecting again. It wasn't like she was flaunting it, but I couldn't help but feel envious. After all, she had everything I wanted, and I wasn't even close to having those things myself.
It's hard not to let that jealousy turn to bitterness. When your ex-buddy's dreams are coming true and yours seem dead, it's easy to make them the object of your resentment. Especially if she was sh*tty to you in the past, you'll probably utter the "but it's not fair" like a kid on the playground.
Seeing your ex-friend glowing with pregnancy can really make you sad. After all, you're missing out on all that happiness. You won't be planning a shower or coaching her through contractions. You'll never hold that sweet baby in your arms. It's as if the old wounds of loss have been reopened.
Did you screw up? Maybe you should have done something different. You just know that if you'd only [forgiven her, reached out, made her more of a priority, and insert any other potential action here], you wouldn't be in this boat. Now you're reliving the painful end of a close relationship and questioning whether or not you did enough.
A pregnancy announcement from an ex-friend can spark sentimentality. Suddenly you'll remember all those dim sum dates, epic Halloweens, and spilling your secrets in bed the morning after a girls' night out. Stupid inside jokes will come rushing back, like that special voice you used to talk to cats. Ah yes, I remember it well.
And down the Facebook rabbit hole we go! Nothing like an ex-pal's pregnancy to bring out your inner Curious George. Excuse me while I troll the page of a friend of a friend of a friend to watch her gender reveal video and see her growing bump. I can't help myself.
When it comes down to it, however, all these feelings give way to contentment. At least for me they do. Once I get past the old anger and hurt, I'm left feeling pretty OK about my ex-friend's impending motherhood.
It helps that I'm a mom now, too. I can appreciate all the things my former friends turned strangers have taught me (most especially, how I deserve to be treated) because it led me to this pretty freaking awesome life I have now. I can wish her the best in the knowledge that things worked out the way they were supposed to. For both of us.