Friday, February 22, 2013

Best Laid Plans

She didn't plan this. She planned for this not to happen. She and her fiancé were happily childfree and she'd been religious about taking her birth control since high school. She did everything right.

And she got pregnant.

This is the story of a dear friend who's due to have her son any day now. It sounds like a childfree cliché, a horror story that never really happens. But it did, and it's breaking my heart.

I'm hoping my friend has a change of heart, that something happens to her after her son is born that makes her fall head over heels in love and feel silly for ever thinking anything else would happen.

At this point, I'm not sure if that'll happen.

When she found out she was pregnant, she scheduled an abortion. As happens with so many women, a heartbeat changed her mind, but not out of love. Out of guilt. She's adopted, from a mother who was 19 and just starting her life on her own. But my friend has a good job, a wedding date planned, a great relationship with her parents and her birth mother, and she's in her 30s like me. So she decided to keep the baby.

She's lost friends because she ever considered ending the pregnancy. She's lost friends because she's not over-the-moon ecstatic. She's lost childfree friends who can't believe she'd have the baby. Her husband, who agreed to a life with no kids, is beyond happy to welcome their son in to the world. I'm glad for that; at least, if she doesn't change her mind, the baby will have him.

But her experience is so like how I imagine my own that it frightens me. She's told me I'm the only one she can talk to about how she really feels instead of customizing it the person she's talking to. Why is it impossible for people to just encourage her to feel what she's feeling? She hates being pregnant, she's terrified that the child will have something wrong with him or that she'll be a terrible mother because she doesn't have a nurturing bone in her body. She's already feeling guilty for being a bad mom and he's not even born yet.

I hope she has a change of heart. I hope her friends stop being assholes and start respecting her. I hope her son is healthy and beautiful and she thinks he's the best thing she ever did.

The last thing I want is for her to be a poster child for why childfree women shouldn't have kids. No child deserves that.