I'M PREGNANT! I'M PREGNANT! I'M PREGNANT!
Whew, that felt amazing. I am, indeed, pregnant and want to shout it from the rooftops! It's been a long and trying process and I'm finally carrying a child in my belly and my heart and my soul. But I'm sad.
My best friend since 3rd grade has shared every experience with me: we double-dated to prom together, were roommates throughout college, got married in the same summer, and now, have been trying to have children for 2+ years. We've shared the emotional turmoil that comes with miscarriages, failed pregnancy tests and raging hormones for the past two and a half years, and now - I'm pregnant. And she's not.
I know she'll be happy for me, but I also know she'll be so terribly heartbroken and I just feel so irrationally guilty for being thrilled that I'm pregnant. How do I tell her, Clementine? How do I continue to encourage her through her pregnancy attempts while my belly grows and her's does not (if that is, indeed the case!). Will this ruin us? I know how fortunate we are to have had such similar life experiences and timelines, and I also know that our friendship is stronger than our circumstances. But I would love to hear how to sincerely and eloquently share this difficult/joyous/hard/happy news with her.
With Child, Without Friend
You lucky, lucky doll! A baby! And on top of that, a best friend who's been in your heart for most of your life. You are crowded with blessings. I so love it when that happens to people.
I honestly believe we gift all of our crazy worries to our friends in situations like this, wrapped up in embossed rolls of over-thinking and glittery guilt, tied with a sad little shred of remorse. Throw that present in the rubbish, please. No one wants that.
Instead, give her the gift of your friendship. Tell her first. Tell her quietly and with the tears of joy and sorrow you've been holding back for weeks. Tell her that the only thing breaking your growing heart right now is the fact that the two of you are not growing together this time. Tell her that you're scared – deathly afraid, if she must know – because you're going first this time. And alone this time. This is bigger than buying a prom dress, or barely making it through finals week on nothing more than Nescafe and ramen, or walking down the aisle with her beaming proudly in lavender from the altar.
Tell her that somehow she's made every occasion feel like it was meant to be. Because everything has always happened twice. Even those heart-crushing, cry for weeks until you think you'll never shed another drop of water moments...only to find another ocean when her heart got crushed, too.
Tell her that you hope she'll hold your hand.
When I think of true friendship, I'm reminded of a Hafiz quote: "The Earth would die if the Sun stopped kissing her."
Think about that. It's need at its most basic and beautiful. We need connections that mean something. Make no mistake: we absolutely require them to thrive. If we're lucky – and we've already established that fact about you – we become connected, at some point, by more than text messages, tea, and bathroom selfies. But very, very, very few of our friendships enjoy such a perfect connection. It's a level of love you'll only know by its absence.
Yes, the Earth would die if the Sun stopped kissing her. And you would miss your friend's warmth more than I hope you'll never know, especially at a life-changing time like this when you may need to borrow some of it.
Tell her that if you close your eyes and wish of a perfect day, it's you and your mate welcoming a mini version of your love...with her close by, beaming proudly (and not in lavender satin this time) and holding your hand, as she has does so well for nearly your entire life. Because you can't do this without her.
That's how I would tell her.
If this sounds like a lot of care and feeding while you're growing a baby inside your shirt, I feel you. Just trust me: you'll never find a friend as true as one you caught in the third grade. She's worth it. But, shoot. I don't need to tell you that.
That's the only way I live my days. (Also, speaking from tragic experience, a big gift wouldn't hurt to help take away the sting. Big.)