My Pregnancy Destroyed My Friendship

I moved away from Chicago three years ago. I left so many things I loved, and so many good friends. But it was the right professional move for me at the time, so I left. A few days after landing in my new home state, I met a man who made me think about everything differently. We got married and a year later, we had a baby. Life stepped up and snatched me in its palm. Everything in my immediate vicinity changed.

When I left Chicago, I also left my best friend behind. I had worked with her for seven years, and we'd consumed hundreds of glasses of wine together. We had very different personalities, but we came together to forge a wonderful friendship. For years, we spoke nothing of children. But then suddenly, we were both pregnant. I was terrified. I was scared I would resent my child, or that I would never be able to live out my dreams if I was busy looking after someone else. But she was incredibly joyful.

Then my friend lost her baby, and I had mine. She then struggled with getting pregnant again, but I don't really know the details. I only know that her struggle to have a child took over her life and took her out of mine, because our relationship ended shortly thereafter.

Courtesy of Kelly Green

At the onset of my pregnancy, she was beautifully present, and helped talk me through all of my questions. But when I asked her questions about her own journey, she would get quiet, and tell me she would tell me about her loss when she was ready. Because she wasn’t sharing her feelings with me, I didn't want to tell her about my experience with motherhood, because I didn't want to cause her unnecessary pain.

When I'm in pain, I hurt very openly. I run to everyone and tell them what's wrong and try to make sense of the situation. But my friend wasn't like this. She wanted to remain private about the whole thing. We used to text each other all day, but at a certain point, we were barely communicating. Weeks went by, then months. Silence.

"She wanted to see less of her best friend," I thought. "She wanted to see less of her happiness."

When I visited her for the first time since I moved away, my child was about a year old. I was trying to be super low-key about posting pictures of my baby, so I asked her what she thought about my social media presence. "‘I don’t over-post pictures of my son, right?" I asked. "I mean, I post like a picture of him maybe once a month or less? I think one time I posted like 6 in a row but that was just one day that I lost my mind."

"You want me to be honest?," she asked.

"Yes," I said, leaning in. "Tell me."

"Well, you know how next to a post, you can click and it will give you options, like, 'Don't see this post anymore,' or 'no posts at all from this person'?" she said.

I nodded.

"Well, I clicked 'see less from this person,'" she said.

There was a horrible silence. I laughed. It was an awkward, nervous laugh. I wanted to just say what I felt like saying, but in this case, that would have been "f*ck you." And you don’t say "f*ck you" to someone who is having a really hard time. So I kept my thoughts to myself.

"She wanted to see less of her best friend," I thought. "She wanted to see less of her happiness."

Courtesy of Kelly Green

I cannot ever claim to know what my friend felt like, what it feels like to want a baby as much as she did. And for that, I am sorry. I wish I could have helped her with what she was going through. But her words hurt, and I'd be lying if I said they didn't.

Every now and then, when I hold a really beautiful picture of my child in my hand, I think about my friend and what she said to me that day. And I don’t hit "post." And every now and then, when I have another great shot, I think of her, and I hit "share" almost out of spite. I was so hurt and so angry by what she had said that it scared me. I wanted to tell her every little, amazing thing my son did. But she had told me, point-blank: she didn't want that.

Friendships, no matter how strong, can’t always bear the weight of too much happiness, or too much sadness.

Every now and then, I'll remember some story of our friendship or some moment when the two of us were walking through the city a couple years ago, and my face crumbles and tears streak down my cheeks and my ears burn red. Because I'm angry, but I'm mostly sad.

Friendships, no matter how strong, can’t always bear the weight of too much happiness, or too much sadness. And that is precisely what happened to us. When I had my baby, I was too happy; she was too sad over losing hers. Our relationship was a see-saw, and we could not get the balance right.

Courtesy of Kelly Green

My friend is pregnant now. With twins. She sent me an ultrasound, after she was deep into the pregnancy. (She never even called to tell me she was pregnant. I found out when I visited her.) One baby was holding the other baby's hand. When I saw it, I cried. I was happy for her, but I was also devastated that I won’t be able to bear witness to her babies’ lives, just as she didn’t bear witness to mine. She is no longer heartbroken, and I am glad for her for that. But I still am.