I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and hope that it was a rhetorical question. She’s long been befuddled by me not wanting a baby, but as she bounced her six-month-old daughter in her arms as I paged through her admittedly adorable baby book, she mused about already wanting another, and another, and another. She pointed at a particularly cute photo and said,
“Seriously, how could you not want one of these?!”
I chuckled and moved along and nothing more was said, but the comment stuck with me more than I wanted it to. I had a thousand reasons why, a big one from just an hour earlier as we sat down for our amazing dinner cooked by her chef husband. Delilah got fussy, and we had a hard time sitting through dinner without her dominating the table. And while I hadn’t seen my friend since her baby shower and she excitedly referred to our visit as some much-needed grown-up time, it really wasn’t. Sure we all shared a bottle of wine, ate fancy food and hung out as adults, a great deal of the evening was about the baby.
I expected that to be the case and embraced it. I wanted to get to know her daughter – we’ve known each other since we were 5 years old. My husband and I had fun watching the baby while she and her husband went out on the balcony for a smoke, but were left thinking “my god, how would we possibly entertain this child for even an entire day”. Hell, even an hour would have been challenging, because Delilah is still at that stage where she’s, well, not terribly interactive. There’s only so much you can do with an exercircle and, well, while it was super adorable when she started mimicking our faces and the way we clapped our hands, the novelty eventually wore off and we got bored.
And there is a bit of a rift there, the unspoken awkwardness that I usually feel with friends who are new moms who haven’t really seen me interact with kids. It’s subtle, possibly imagined, but it’s there. It’s there and it makes me wonder if her question, “how could you not want one of these?”, was her reaching out to see if there was a connection. Perhaps it was the accusatory “if MY baby can’t make you want one of your own, then something REALLY must be wrong with you” thing that I’ve felt before, perhaps it was just disbelief, perhaps it had nothing to do with me and it was just an expression of glee about her baby, which I’m hopeful it was. Except I feel like it wasn’t that simple. It’s that little chunk of “us” that I suspected would be lost when she became a mom coming to life, saying “remember when we dreamed of our kids growing up together when we were little? We can still have that. It's not too late.”
But that hurts. So instead I’m going to pretend it was a rhetorical question and struggle to put it out of my mind.