Logging into Facebook again, for what's probably the fifth time today, because I have nothing else to do on the weekends, I scroll passed graduation pictures, wedding ring photos, but most of all, baby announcements. I am 22, a ripe age still but full of decisions or no decisions at all and its a scary time for a lot of reasons. It's a scary time because it involves a lot of feelings, and feelings are well, scary. I had a few close friends up until the end of high school, but over the course of life up until the end of high school, I had 5 best friends. All five of these girls now either have a kid or have a kid on the way and it brings up a lot of feelings for me. Maybe being the childless friend brings up a lot of feelings for you too, and maybe I can help you put it into words.
Disclaimer: This is going to get real.
When my best friend recently told me she was pregnant I was so excited for her and it took everything in me to keep it a secret because I was just so happy for her. I knew that my friend was going to be a great mom and that this is something she's always wanted for herself. Two other friends that I had lost touch with I found out over Facebook. To know that the friends that I spent my childhood with are growing up and are excited about their future definitely makes me feel so happy for them. I'm even already planning a blanket to make for the little one on the way.
Two of my other friends had their little ones when we were a little bit younger and unfortunately not everything in life is perfect. I remember being scared for my friend who was in a different city and I couldn't be with her through her pregnancy and the birth of her little girl. I also remember being scared when I was in the delivery room with my best friend since first grade when she delivered her baby girl. I've seen my friend go through surgery as a kid, break bones, be hit in the face, but seeing her in labor, was SCARY. I remember also being scared that things were going to change, as much as I wanted them to stay the same. I loved having sleepovers, parties, indulging in an adult lifestyle, but my friends were now parents, and I was scared that the dynamic of our relationship would change.
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We've all grown up doing the same things all at the same time. We all moved from school to school at the same time, started dating around the same time, graduated together, went to prom, homecoming, football games together, and then all of a sudden, things changed. I started to wonder if I was doing things wrong and started feeling inadequate. As someone with depression, I tend to compare myself to others all of the time and of course, its easy to compare yourself to the people you know best, your best friends. I see them getting and taking care of a whole different person other than themselves and I compare it to me, who can barely take care of myself, and it's easy to feel not enough and behind the pack. I just have to focus on that we all chose different routes in life and just because one of us is doing one thing and the other one is doing another doesn't mean that anyone is less than anyone else.
Of course, I'm happy for my friends, but I'm kind of sad for me. I've always wanted to be a mom and I'm working on finishing my degree and eventually will find a job that will give me the stability to have kids, but it's not my time. It has, however, been my friends times and continues being their times. It's not jealousy because it's not something I want or could ever handle now, but it's sad because this is one of those things we won't be doing together. By the time I finish my degree and get a house and feel stable enough to have kids, my friends will be long done having them. So our kids won't play together, they won't go to school together and it will never be a reincarnation of our friend group, at least not with my kids, which makes me a little sad.
Every time a birthday rolls around and one of my "nieces and nephews" say Happy Birthday I am filled with so much joy and feel so proud of my friends. They reached a landmark with their baby! When I hear my best friends daughter talk or watch her go down her slide in her front yard it makes me proud to know these people and excited to see them grow and what they can do next. I'm thankful to be a part of their lives. I'm most proud of them for doing it so well and moving into that phase of life that just hasn't come around for me yet.