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The Pregnancy Break-Up

By Amalah

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

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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PinkieBling
Guest

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!!

AmyRenee
Guest
AmyRenee

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… Read more »

AmyRenee
Guest
AmyRenee

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?

Laura J.
Guest
Laura J.

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… Read more »

Em
Guest
Em

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.

VG
Guest
VG

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.… Read more »

Catherine
Guest
Catherine

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…

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

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… Read more »

A
Guest
A

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… Read more »

Beatrice
Guest
Beatrice

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. 

M.
Guest
M.

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.

mazzystarrr
Guest
mazzystarrr

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… Read more »

Beth Sterling
Guest

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.

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

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?

Amy
Guest
Amy

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.

Nennie
Guest
Nennie

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… Read more »