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Bumpzillas

By Amalah

Dear Amy

So many of the letters you‚ have published lately have been about pregnancy etiquette. Here’s another one for you — my best friend is pregnant and has turned into a self-absorbed brat. She’s become selfish, rude, and a bad friend. If a conversation begins to stray from pregnancy-related topics, she basically ends the conversation.

She’s even gotten into the habit of minimizing other people’s joy. Apparently any news is insignificant when compared to her own.

For the past 8 months, I’ve tried to bite my tongue, smile, and chock it up to hormones. The problem is that lately I just feel used. Last weekend I drove clear across the state to attend her baby shower. I came home to an email about how they planned to return my gift and needed to know where it was purchased. To be honest, I don’t care.

What really stung was the lecture that accompanied the announcement, you see I cannot possibly understand the intricate detail involved in picking out something they plan to use for their BBAAAAYY-BEEE! And anyway, how dare I (or anyone) purchase something that wasn’t on the registry. Did you know, that it’s rude to buy things that people haven’t registered for?

I completely understand the having a baby is a momentous event that overtakes your thoughts and dreams. I understand that my friend’s priorities are actively shifting. My problem is that whereas this person once seemed to truly value our friendship, she now only seems interested in milking that friendship for her own physical and emotional benefit. All others be damned! It is making it very difficult to be her friend.

Frustrated in Michigan

Eeeeeesh. Yeah. You can blame a LOT of stuff on hormones. But not this. This is…well, I’m tempted to say something very Southern sounding about bad breeding. Pregnancy hormones don’t cause sudden amnesia surrounding polite conversation and registry etiquette. Being an inherently selfish jerk…well. You know.

No, you cannot blame this bad behavior on pregnancy

So I’m wondering if you happened to be friends with this woman while she was, say, planning her wedding? Because honestly, she sounds like a bridezilla in maternity wear. A bumpzilla, if you will. While…sure, I guess some women can suddenly turn into completely different vaguely insane people while they’re pregnant, it really seems more likely that the pregnancy is simply an excuse for her to show her true colors. I promise you, pregnancy doesn’t CAUSE women to act like this. Their already-existing personality flaws, however, TOTALLY DO.

You may be noticing the behaviors more, this time, because you guys are older, because you’ve outgrown her a bit, or because of geographical distance, or because you’ve just never noticed that she dominates conversations with topics of interest to her because YOU were also interested in those topics. Now there’s this divide between your shared experiences, and for whatever reason, your friend seems determined to make that divide seem as wide as possible. Because she’s SPESHUL. Because she’s MAGICUL. Because…I don’t know, because she’s just the type of person who likes everything to be about her and her perfect day and perfect vision of how perfect everything will be.

Or…you’re being overly sensitive and inserting tone into her email that wasn’t there and she didn’t really mean to scold you for going off-registry and…and…yeah. Thus ends my attempt at playing devil’s advocate. Your friend is likely a rude person. Who is basking in the regrettable belief that she is the first women EVER in the history of the WORLD to be pregnant and have a baby. Who is in for the SURPRISE OF A LIFETIME when her baby arrives and she suddenly realizes that it will never again be All About Her, ever, for the rest of her life.

How do you handle a Bumpzilla?

So. Now what? Honestly, I’d start ignoring her, at least until she has the baby, because I am Grown-Up and Mature like that. She’s not going to change, so you owe it to yourself to NOT feel used and frustrated by her one-way friendship, for now. Once the baby arrives, you can make another attempt (sans gift, since OBVIOUSLY she’s made it clear how control-freak she feels about that). Take a card to the hospital, allow her the glowing, new-mama moment over The Most Beautiful Newborn Ever, and then go from there. She will be obsessed with the baby for a while — it’s normal and natural and utterly terrifying at first, but sooner or later she should start to resurface, though it’ll be a mystery to see what version of herself wins the cage match. Old Time Best Friend vs. Pregnant Selfish Person.

Relationship advice for once her baby is born

Motherhood may humble her, she may suddenly desperately realize that she needs and wants her old non-mommy friends…or it may eat her whole and she’ll be one of those people who stops being your friend after having a baby.

Sad, but totally true. It happens. There’s no sense pretending that it doesn’t. I lost a couple of friends right around the time I had a baby…and have since lost other friends once THEY had babies. It hurts to realize that you overestimated the value of a friendship, or the amount that you actually had in common. It does. And I’m sorry if that happens to you and your friend here. But if she’s unwilling to view your friendship as a two-way street, involving your feelings, experiences and interests, well…that’s just a lousy friend, pregnant or not.

More on girlfriends and pregnancy at Alpha Mom:

1. The Worst Support Group in the World
2. Bad Combo: Friendships, Pregnancies, and Jealousy
3. What to Expect (From Your Infertile Friends) When You’re Expecting

Photo by ianmyles

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

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 Ama...

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 [email protected].

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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anon
Guest
anon

Oh I feel for you – I’m dealing with this with my best friend right now, except my best friend is my sister. yeah, trying being thrown aside and being told “you wouldn’t understand” and blah blah blah by the one person supposed to be there for you forever. She’ll come into town and not even call me, yet go visit my cousins (who also have babies). The saddest part is I really want a baby so it’s a double hurt. Ah well, I just suck it up, but if one.more.person. tells me ” you dont’ have kids, you would… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

You have to watch this – so true!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJRzBpFjJS8
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Editor: hahaha. love it. we actually linked to it a few months ago in our.

Catherine S
Guest
Catherine S

Okay, so I am a little torn here… Having a baby IS a very big deal to most women, especially the first time. And it does tend to be very easy to get wrapped up in all things baby related: the clothes, the gear, the changing body, the furniture, what to do about maternity leave, the shower, what to eat, what not to eat, how much weight to gain, what tests should you have done, is the baby okay, how will the birth go, and on and on and on. The fact that their are hundreds of books out there… Read more »

Bethany
Guest

This question made me so grateful to have the awesome pregnant friends I do (sort of like how bridezilla questions make me so grateful for how awesome my friends have been as brides). One couple my boyfriend and I became friends with when we met up at a wine cafe–she still comes and encourages the rest of us to drink while she eats the awesome cafe food and while she talks about the baby stuff, she also asks about other things and totally treats my cats as important. I think I need to print this question out and give it… Read more »

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

My initial thoughts are to agree with Amy. This is a rude person just using the excuse of being pregnant to let her true colors show. The gift thing is unacceptable. But, I’m wondering what kind of support she has near her. I had next to no support from anyone but my husband because we had moved a couple years prior to me getting pregnant. I didn’t have any friends with children or who were pregnant, so when I did talk with my best friends, I was eager to talk pregnancy with someone, anyone, please? Catherine S., I agree it’s… Read more »

Rachael
Guest

My solution would be to mail her a gift all wrapped up in baby shower finery with a note attached saying how she forgot to give this along with her other (nonregistry) gift – it would, of course, be an etiquette guide. That’s it, no other response needed. HA!
BAM! Put in yo’ place! Etiquette FTW!

Catherine S
Guest
Catherine S

You would be offended? I think I would be flattered that I someone thought I was that fabulous to begin with. And maybe would love that person all the more because they valued my friendship enough to speak up.
I think there is a way of expressing this that could come across as whiny and unappreciative of the new mom status. But I also think there is a way that could also express how happy you are for her, but still want her as a close friend and someone that you enjoy. Hmm, just my thoughts.

Catherine S
Guest
Catherine S

My comment is in response to Olivia, sorry forgot to include that. Stupid preggo and mom brain.

Amber H.
Guest
Amber H.

I agree totally with Amy on this one. The “friend” is probably just self-centered. Maybe it wasn’t obvious before because your lives were more similar. She will probably continue to be a control-freak once the new baby arrives. Poor kid!
And. It is NEVER okay to pitch a fit because someone didn’t buy their gift off your registry! Good grief!

Procrastamom
Guest
Procrastamom

Is it wrong of me to be sad because this post was NOT a review of Bumpits. Oh Illustrious Amy, how I would love to hear your opinion on that! With pictures!
As to the real Bumpzilla (which sadly, is not a hair product), I would be tempted to retrieve the gift myself, get my money refunded and not buy that horrible woman another thing! But that’s just me. And I’m a bitch.
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Editor: bwahaha. Bumpits crossed my mind too.

jen
Guest
jen

I think this advice is right on.
Additionally, I’d like to see a column about registry etiquette (if it doesn’t already exist.) I tend to ignore most registries and buy gifts that speak to me for my friends/loved ones. However, I’ve also heard a friend rant about someone else that gave her a (handmade, time consuming, beautiful) gift that wasn’t on the registry. What happened to just being grateful for a gift? Doesn’t the thought still count?
____________
Editor: we’ve discussed wedding registries before. oooh, hot topic… https://alphamom.com/your-life/the-no-registry-conundrum/ Not exactly like your question, but the comments are super insightful.

Sara
Guest
Sara

OMG, I was just about to ask this same question. To preface this, my father died in September, so keep that in mind. One of my oldest friends is pregnant and will not even acknowledge anything else in the world unless it has to do with her. This girl was already an attention whore, so the fact that she is with child just gives her another outlet of self-promotion. Seriously, do not go close to her Facebook page unless all you want to see is shots of her belly an updates about heartburn and nesting. She came into town a… Read more »

Erin
Guest

When I was getting married and having a baby and registering, I LOVED them. I liked registering, but could care less if my gifts came from the registry. It was something I did that kept me from actually shopping and appeased the people who said, “You have to register! How will I know what you need?” But on the other side,whenever looking through someone else’s registry I’m always, “WHY THE CRAP did they put THAT on here?” And then I get them something that I think they’ll want or need, from experience. I’ve never had a bad reaction- and if… Read more »

Marinessa
Guest
Marinessa

A few responses come to mind: Years ago, I was pregnant at the same time as a good friend. She registered, which was unheard of at the time, and threw herself a “no-host” shower at the restaurant where she worked, citing the fact that lesbians were exempt from such etiquette faux pas as throwing your own shower. I miscarried and was really hurting. It helped to process my grief by ignoring the registry bullshit (which I generally do anyway) and put my heart and soul into making a beautiful baby comforter and crib caddy as a gift for the shower,… Read more »

Melin
Guest
Melin

I agree with Amy. Just like in romantic relationships, friendships sometimes grow apart and you have to break-up. People change and grow in different directions. If you REALLY think these behaviors your friend is displaying are new and you value this friendship then maybe talking to her is the answer. But if it seems to be that she was always selfish and self centered then maybe this is just a case where you’ve come your “break-up” with her. This has happened to me a few times, and it’s sad, but kind of inevitable. And it makes you appreciate the other… Read more »

Sara
Guest
Sara

Thank you so much for this article…err..Q&A. I am dealing with a similar situation minus the gift part. We are in our early twenties and my best friend has no other friends outside of her family. She and I are like sisters. I have tried everything… but she doesn’t want to be friends anymore now that she is pregnant. She thinks we have nothing in common now. I have been there for her even when her family talked about disowning her because of the pregnancy and she used to be there for me too… now she doesn’t even call. She… Read more »

miriam
Guest
miriam

I remember coming back from my shower with loads of presents from friends and co-workers, and actually stressing out about it. “Look at all this crap!!! I didn’t want any of this CRAP!” Coupled with the guilt over not appreciating a gift, of course. Whether it was stuff I’d thought about and decided I didn’t want, or stuff I’d never even considered in the first place– spechul moments albums when I already had my own, baby blanket number 5, frilly outfits that would have made my newborn look like a pig in ruffles, outfits with BUTTONS… I had the luxury… Read more »

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

Catherine S.: I didn’t say I’d be offended, I said I’d be crushed as in my feelings would be hurt. I would wonder why she doesn’t care how all-consuming being pregnant is. I would (and did, I’m projecting a bit of what I actually went thru) feel like I had to avoid pregancy talk with her.

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

The etiquette books still say registries are tacky. Anything you do that assumes you are entitled to gifts is considered tacky. If you’re inviting people to your shower, an event which does assume you’re entitled to gifts, that you don’t know REALLY WELL, that’s kind of tacky, too. So, complaining that people bought off-registry is a whole big ball of tacky. End of story.

LMD
Guest
LMD

It doesn’t solve your relationship problem but at least here’s one more person agreeing that your “friend” was out of line. Even if she HATED the gift and DESPERATELY needed the money for something else (which it doesn’t sound like), she should have written a thank you note acknowledging the kindness of receiving any gift, and then she could have sold it on ebay or craiglist or bartered it for diapers or formula coupons or something. I say that as someone who had a kind of bad gift-receiving experience this year. Since the party is called a “shower” because you’re… Read more »

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

Wow! I can’t believe she tried to make you feel like it was rude to buy something not listed on the registry, when the rude thing is to expect people buy off the registry or face her pregnant lady wrath!! Doesn’t she know that a registry is supposed to be a list of suggestions, not a list of demands?? Yeesh! I just had my baby shower and even though I had an extensive registry, I kept my guests in mind. First of all, I knew I wanted a bunch of different items from different stores, so I made one registry… Read more »

Missie
Guest
Missie

Has no one ever heard of the childhood rhyme “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. A few days before my son’s 5th bday, we sat and practiced a game I called,”Thank you for my present”. We went over how to look directly at the friend and tell them how much the present was appreciated, even if it was a toy that Mommy and Daddy don’t want you to play with. And you never never never make a friend feel bad that they bought you something you may not like, because no one HAS to buy… Read more »