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The Pregnancy Break-Up

Apr13

by

Amy -

I’ve debated writing this question to you, because I don’t even know if its worth it. I mean, I think it is? I don’t know.

My college roommate and I had a big falling out – that we never speak about. I was her maid of honor, yet I did not have her in my wedding. I’m sure a lot of this unspoken tension could have been solved by better handling on my part to let her know that I wasn’t going to ask her to be in my wedding, but what’s done is done and the reasoning I gave her was the truth and I moved on.
But she never has.

My husband and I moved to a different state and not long after, she also moved to the same state, about 90 minutes away. We would occasionally get together and semi-frequently chat on the phone. But during one of our visits to see her and her husband, I overheard her telling one of the other guests who I was, in relation to who was in whose wedding (as in “Yea, that’s the one whose wedding I wasn’t in.”) It definitely hurt my feelings that she was still bothered by it, but seeing as we were about to have a fun weekend, I didn’t bring it up to her.

Fast forward a few years and I got pregnant with my first child, who is now about 15 months old. My husband and I waited to tell all of our friends and family and I was so exited to call my friend and tell her. She didn’t seem genuinely excited for us when I told her the news – I could definitely tell she was faking it.

At this point, our friendship quickly turned for the worse. I stopped hearing from her, she would cancel plans to meet up, she refused to RSVP to any of the showers (and even outright ignoring my straight up questions to ask if she was coming). I made it clear to her that I just wanted to see her. I didn’t want a gift, I just wanted to get together. She used a couple of excuses and I was too busy about ready to have a baby to try and sit and figure this out with her. I figured I could drive up with the baby and see her.

As soon as I had the baby, all communication stopped. I never heard from her. She never congratulated us on our new son, never a quick note, email, text or phone call to see how anybody was doing – NOTHING! I was so hurt!

Now, my friend as always been…a little…vain? She always wants to appear a different way than she is. I must admit, most of my family and friends (and maybe even including my husband), aren’t that big fans of her, but she’s my college roommate, we had so much fun together and I do love her dearly. She tends to get jealous (as girls can), when somebody has something that she wants. And in this case, without trying to sound vain myself, I was able to accomplish a few life goals, ahead of when she did – whether or not she was trying to attain them at the same time. She was still in school, while I had a job, my husband and I got a house before she did, we had a baby first, etc.

I finally gave up and decided that I should cut ties with her. I mean, I was practically stalking her on Facebook to see what she was up to, because I never heard from her, but was too hurt to try to contact her. I figured I was dwelling on this and that the only way to get over being hurt, was to just kind of…forget about our former friendship. That clearly didn’t work.

I found out a few months ago that she is pregnant – and I’m truly excited for her. But, given our history, I didn’t plan on doing anything for her (after all, she’s still harboring some pretty high resentment towards me).

And I wish this is where it ended, but its not…because my husband has changed jobs and now we are moving to the same town.

What the heck do I do? Do I try to reach out to her? Do I just let the friendship be gone? I care about her, I really do, but I’m SO hurt that she’s just become this person – that she refuses to acknowledge my growing family and that she’s still so upset about all of this.

Any thoughts?
Thanks Amy!

Well, the very first thought that jumped into my head while reading about her going completely AWOL during and after your pregnancy was: Infertility. And/or pregnancy loss.

I really, really wonder if your pregnancy news hit her at one of those bad, vulnerable times when she just couldn’t, you know? Couldn’t feel happy for anyone — even close friends — and couldn’t deal with faking it through (multiple!!) baby showers and getting together while you sipped water and rubbed a growing belly and talked about nursery plans. And for some reason, also couldn’t confide in you that she was trying and failing at conceiving and/or making it out of the first trimester. I really wonder this because…well, unfortunately, her reaction sounds kind of personally familiar.

I don’t think I ever took it to such a Friendship Killing level, but I did absolutely withdraw from my pregnant friends, or faked a smile only to run back to my office to cry, or gave lame excuses about baby showers. And since (at the time) I was in contact with a lot of other fellow infertiles on the Internet, I know I’m not the only one who felt completely blindsided by the news of a friend’s pregnancy and left unable to process the terrible, seething jealousy. Here I am now, with a happy, full family — including one baby conceived completely effortlessly! — and have officially No Business speaking for the infertile…but oh, I still remember those frustrating days of “why her, and why not me?”

Obviously, I could be projecting a completely fictional backstory on your friend here. She clearly likes to carry a grudge and nurse petty slights for an extended time. But I just can’t shake the feeling that the fact your friendship went completely off the rails a second time during your pregnancy is because there was something else going on, beyond the bridesmaid thing. (Which: EYEROLL.) The fact that she’s pregnant now, just over a year later, suggests it wasn’t just a “different life stages” reaction from someone who wasn’t interested in having Friends With Kids yet, but maybe it was. Maybe she just preemptively disengaged before you no longer had time for her. YOU’D HAVE TO ASK HER.

As I re-read your letter, your friendship with this woman sounds less like a dear, loving, supportive friendship and more like a competition. Who got married first, who bought a house first, jobs, babies, etc. Maybe she’s massively insecure; maybe she’s just tired of hearing about how awesome your life is. Maybe she’s too proud to confide in you when her life isn’t cruising along in perfect life-goal-accomplishing pace, or just doesn’t view you as “that” kind of friend. Whatever the reason, she wasn’t invested in your friendship enough, and very clearly dumped you.

You have every right to be hurt, by the way. Or angry, or at least STUPENDOUSLY annoyed. Even if my suspicions are correct and she was struggling with infertility, that’s not an excuse to treat your close friends like crap and go MIA on them while they beg for contact and are left wondering what they did wrong. Sack up and be straight with them and explain why baby showers are something akin to torture for you right now. Beg for space and understanding. And then come to grips on your own with the fact that you live in a world where other people are going to have babies and you need to not take your own pain out on them. It’s not their fault. Not even the Smug Pregnants (from Isabel: sorry, i had to link to this video– i couldn’t resist the opportunity).

So what now? She’s pregnant; you’re moving to the same town. Decide what you want: Do you want to give this woman another chance? Do you just want an answer from her about WHY? An apology? An excuse? A confrontation? You guys have now had two pretty major falling outs. You don’t “talk” about the first one, and the second one also featured some pretty major Silent Treatment. This is not a friendship built on healthy communication, methinks, so I wonder if any reconciliation would be anything but superficial. “Oh HEEEEY!! It’s been AGES! Yeah, life’s been crazy, no? You got your hair cut!”

But I know what it’s like to have a damaged friendship just hanging “out there,” wondering if you should make the first move, wondering if the other person forgives you or if you forgive them, etc. So it might not hurt at all to send her One Last Message informing her of your move to her area — maybe with a vague mention that you still think of her often and wish things hadn’t gotten so weird — and then LEAVE THE BALL ENTIRELY IN HER COURT.

Maybe she’s appalled at her own behavior and will leap at the chance to arrange a get-together. If that happens, by all means meet her for coffee or whatever and see if you guys still have stuff in common and/or are grown-up enough to Talk About Your Feelings And The Unpleasant Unpleasantness With Each Other. Maybe she’s still just a ball of jealous bitterness over real or imaginary slights and never write. If that happens, you’ve got your answer, and it’s officially time to Move The Heck On.

Photo source: iStockphoto/ Thinkstock

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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16 Responses to “The Pregnancy Break-Up”

  1. PinkieBling Apr 13 at 12:32 pm Reply Reply

    I am DYING at that video. DYING. That’s Dead Tooth from Raising Hope! LOVE her, love this video, love you!

    OP – I think Amy’s hit it on the head, as usual. Good luck!!

  2. AmyRenee Apr 13 at 12:47 pm Reply Reply

    I’ve been the friend that went AWOL. In my case, it wasn’t quite infertility, but something similar. I’d always been the first and best in our group of friends from high school – went to a prestigious college, got married first, had a baby first. And then my life just stalled and sent me into a downward depressed spiral – I got the news that 2 of my friends were having their second babies on the same day that I got rejected from my dream job. I sat on the couch and bawled that night. And the thing was, my husband didn’t really get it, and I felt like such a bitch to cry to my friends that I was jealous of them. So I curled into myself and disappeared for a while. I “liked” their posts that said they were having babies, then I ignored them. I was in such a low place I didn’t want to bring them down. Fast forward 2 years – I got out of my depression, got a better job, had a new baby and bought a new house and slowly started responding to their reaching out to me. I just saw them this weekend at one of their kids birthday parties. And while I don’t think we’ll ever be BFFs again, it’s nice to have my friends back. So, in conclusion: keep the lines of communication open. Invite her to events, both big group events and for coffee just the 2 of you. Send her a “congrats on your pregnancy and by the way we’re moving to your town” email. And if you feel comfortable with it, share some of your not-so-good moments with her too – I have to admit, I felt better connecting back with my friend when I found out she’d been having some trouble in her life too – no one wants to feel like a complete failure next to their shining friend who’s life is perfect. Keep gently reaching out and maybe someday she’ll come back to you.

  3. AmyRenee Apr 13 at 12:57 pm Reply Reply

    And by the way, did you ever truly apologize to her about the wedding thing, or at least the way she handled it. Like, straight up said to her: “Look, I really appreciate that you had me as your maid of honor and I’m sorry about the way I told you/didnt tell you/etc”. Not “I’m sorry about the situation” but a real, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings” apology. As you’ve said, you explained it to her and moved on, but you obviously hurt her feelings, did you ever apologize for that?

  4. Laura J. Apr 13 at 1:25 pm Reply Reply

    I am AmyRenee take two. I have also been the AWOL friend too, and for me it was all about infertility. Even though it is completely ridiculous, watching my friends and coworkers get pregnant and have babies was so painful, it just drove me farther and farther into myself. I have always had a problem with self-esteem, not feeling like I was good enough, being embarrassed about myself. Infertility just added to that. I was so jealous of my friends, I would get angry, and then I’d feel bad about that. The worst part was all the “when do you plan to have kids” questions which turned into “don’t you want children?” Having children is such a fundamental human thing. When you feel like you can’t do that, it’s just absolutely crushing and you are reminded of it all day, every day. It became a little easier when I started telling people that we weren’t having a lot of luck in that area. You would be absolutely amazed at how many people will open up with their own stories. After six years of trying, we were finally blessed with a baby of our own. I was able to reconnect with some of the friends I’d retreated from, and the real friends welcomed me back. The others? Eh, I’m a busy mom now! I agree that you should keep reaching out to her gently. At the same time though, continue on with your own life. Enjoy the family you have been blessed with and the gift of motherhood.

  5. Em Apr 13 at 2:14 pm Reply Reply

    It seems like the OP has a problem with confrontation. Not, “what’s your prob bi**h” confrontation, but healthy, “there seems to be an issue between us can we talk about it” confrontation. By sweeping her friends’ hurt feelings under the rug she essentially told her friend that she didn’t care. Maybe she didn’t tell you about possible infertility because she was extremely hurt by you and no longer trusted you.

  6. VG Apr 13 at 2:22 pm Reply Reply

    These are better ladies than I above^^^
    I had a friendship that was, what you would say, one-sided once my former BFF had her 1st child. She also was having major issues (separated from hubby, living at home, working crummy jobs to get by, dating other men, yadda yadda). She would call me to vent, “get advice”, all the stuff BFFs do. And then she just turned on me, after inquiring about her son’s b-day gift (that was monetary and sent through the mail). So I dropped her ass, and haven’t looked back. You might want to do the same. You sound like a pretty decent lady, I assume you have more friends who are more than happy to be involved in all aspects of your life.

  7. Catherine Apr 13 at 2:35 pm Reply Reply

    Can I (very politely) make the point that accomplishing Life Goals like husbands and babies (OP para 7) isn’t a competition, a race, or even a legally required part of being a GrownUp. Projecting jealously onto the OP’s friend around her Failure to Accomplish Life Goals First might be a red herring.

    I’ve got a feeling a couple of my friends might have been guilty of the same assumption at one point…

  8. Nicole Apr 13 at 2:35 pm Reply Reply

    Oh god the memories. I had a friend like this too. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding in October, and gave birth to my first baby in April. So I was doing the bridal shower/bachelorette party/drive all the bridesmaids to jersey over and over thing while I was in my first trimester, trying not to puke all over everything, and my friend had a great wedding, and I felt so honored to be a part of it.
    After that, we still would hang out all the time, but she ducked out of throwing me a baby shower. Even though my family is 1,000 miles away and she lives across the street. Ok fine, I still had a shower, and she came and smiled. Then I had a baby. She came over the day after we came home with her, and sat and chatted for a while, perfectly lovely. Then we needed to take our 5 day old precious back to the hospital (jaundice, awful!) and needed her to walk our dogs. She said no. No reason, just no.
    Then that was it. She started ducking every invitation for coffee, with or without the baby. Girls night? no. Movie? no. Being the type to confront, I asked if she was mad at me for something, and that I’d like to get together for grown up talk before I go mad. She says no of course she’s not mad, just really busy and we’ll get together soon!
    Anyway, over the course of the next 6 months, it’s become painfully (and I mean actually hurts my heart painful) obvious that this girl has dumped me, for no reason, and won’t even tell me. I considered that it was a jealousy/infertility thing, and I knew that she had problems with PCOS. But I also knew she wasn’t ready to have kids yet, and wasn’t actively trying, but I still tried not to bring up the baby (MA BABY!) and just talk about grown up stuff. Nope.

    I did the same thing you did. I stalked her facebook. And occasionally ran into her at starbucks (she lives across the street!) and made awkward small talk. I had to face, in the middle of postpartum hormonal emotions, that this girl had dumped me for no very good reason, except possibly I was no longer useful to her. So I blocked her from showing up on my facebook feed, and completely wrote her off for a few months. After a while, you stop thinking about it all the time. But it still stings. I say let her know you’re moving to her town, invite her for coffee, and then let it go. If she wants to be friends, let her make the next moves. If not, then you’re done. No more energy wasted on a person who isn’t willing or isn’t able to be a friend.
    Anyway, thanks for the vicarious therapy :)

  9. A Apr 13 at 2:43 pm Reply Reply

    It’s quite possible that Amalah’s right, there are some infertility or other things going on behind the scenes and I agree with sending one last message to see if she reaches out.

    But.

    She doesn’t sound like a friend, she sounds like a frenemy. There seems to be bad blood there and hurts that don’t seem to go away. Maybe it’s just too much and she doesn’t want to deal with it anymore. I had a frenemy that I was soooo close to in high school but over college we somehow became really competitive and after that it seemed like she flat out hated my guts sometimes. We brought out the absolute worst in each other and didn’t speak for a long time. We got back in touch but we never were able to get back to that friendship we had so long ago. When she started acting competitive again I stopped calling, emailing, etc. and she never tried to get back in touch with me.

    Sometimes it’s just time to end the friendship and move on. Just my 2 cents.

  10. Beatrice Apr 14 at 1:52 am Reply Reply

    So here’s a thought…

    You say that you hurt her feelings about the bridesmaid thing and even admit that you could have handled the situation better. And then you guys moved away. 

    So that’s a hurtful thing in a friendship.  There probably IS unresolved tension. It probably WON’T be resolved. It is too bad, but sometimes that happens. Sometimes life happens

    Also, sometimes you’re just not interested in hearing about other people having children. I know it sounds weird. I know everyone is all “OOOH BE EXCITED FOR ME  HAVING A BABY!!”

    Know what though? Sometimes…. You just don’t care. And that’s okay. 

  11. M. Apr 15 at 7:35 am Reply Reply

    Well, I don’t know.
    The OP was pretty vague on the wedding issue (was the friend invited to the wedding at all? could she have been hurt by the circumstances surrounding the non-invite, rather that the fact itself?) and personally, I would not roll my eyes on this one, as Amy did. To me, the email sounded a bit dismissive of her friend’s hurt feelings, and of the friend herself.
    If hurt feelings are not acknowledged or glossed over without honest conversation, it creates distance and cools the friendship.
    And yes, I agree on the infertility thing.

  12. mazzystarrr Apr 16 at 1:53 am Reply Reply

    Video is awesome.
    I couldn’t stand the way people would say to me when I had my baby ‘Doesn’t it make everything else seem meaningless? / Doesn’t it make you wonder what you ever did before he came along?’ Blah blah blah vomit arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.
    I have disengaged from people on both sides of pregnancy – the ones who thought they were superior to me because they were pregnant and I had never been, and then the ones who thought they were superior to me – because I was pregnant, and staying home on limited finances etc.
    Sensing that a friend feels superior to you is a major killer for a friendship. Sounds to me like some of this happened here.

  13. Beth Sterling Apr 16 at 2:53 pm Reply Reply

    I actually think the phrase ‘Practically stalking her on Facebook’ points out that you seem to have gone somewhat overboard regarding the loss of her friendship. Why are you so interested in what she is doing? This obsession when it is not a family member seems a little out of place. And so what if you are in the same town, unless you have friends in common how often would you run into her? It’s not worth it.

  14. Olivia Apr 16 at 2:58 pm Reply Reply

    If it were me, I’d just let it go. Doesn’t sound like much of a friendship at all. Of my close group of friends, I’ve done a lot of big life things first, but my good friends? They tell me congratulations and are happy for me. They don’t withdraw and harbor hurt feelings. Maybe send her a note that you wish her well and are moving to the same town so it’s not a total shocker if you run into each other, but that’s it. Why spend any energy on such a flimsy relationship?

  15. Amy Apr 17 at 9:43 am Reply Reply

    As a former IF’er, I thought the same thing when I read your letter… she could be dying inside as she hears about your wonderful news. Or… she could just be a jerk. 

    Try another time to get together with her and be blunt. Just call her out in a caring way, and ask her what is wrong? If that doesn’t work, move on. End of story. Life is too short to be surrounded by peeps who act like teenagers.

  16. Nennie Apr 20 at 12:54 pm Reply Reply

    All I can speak of is from my personal experiences. Obviously we don’t know both sides to the story, but here are my two cents.

    Maybe this wasn’t meant to be an everlasting friendship.

    Within six months, I learned quickly who was a friend and who was a frienimy. My best friend, who I didn’t even tell about my wedding, forgave me and didn’t make a fuss. She lived out of state for the time and in my crazy mind, the wedding was on a strict need to know basis. I was pregnant – so who knows what I was thinking. She NEVER held it against me.

    A different friend – didn’t tell my husband and I about his wedding … ok, that’s fine. BUT – he and his “blushing bride” didn’t even congratulate us on the birth of our kid, didn’t say a thing even though they knew I almost died several times the night my son was born. And in fact, a week after I gave birth, I was readmitted to the hospital for an infection and additional surgery. What did that friend do? Start a silly Facebook war with several friends, including my husband and I. And because I WAS IN AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS AFTER HAVING A SURGERY, unfriended us on FB because we didn’t response to the message quick enough.

    When times are tough, there may be a little space between friends. But a real friend will eventually have communication.

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