You know that partner-in-crime, laugh-till-you-cry, friend you can't live without? She is great isn't she?
She shows up at your door with a bottle of wine in her PJs so you can do absolutely nothing together. She hates all your shady exes on your behalf. She is your shoe size, buys you cute shirts when she's shopping, and always knows what to say when you need advice.
Then you get pregnant and have a baby. She is still that great FWOK (friend without kids). She helps with babysitting, takes you out for ladies night, spoils your kid and now she buys you cute nursing covers when she's shopping.
Then she gets pregnant. You are looking forward to extending your maternal empathy and "being there for her." Like a good friend you will guide her through the hemorrhoid-laden, mood swing-driven, nauseating ball of heartburn, nine months of torture that pregnancy can be. Not to mention the 24 hours of labour ending in a C-section.
So you piece together imaginary flash cards of all your best pregnancy advice and encouragement. You load up your kitchen with ginger ale, ice cream and herbal tea to hand to her at the ready. And you wait for it all to begin.
And you wait... And wait.
So you ask her if she wants to talk about calf cramps, or use your spare tube of Preparation H. She gives you side eye and asks "why?".
Like a slow motion fall it sinks in. The air shifts. Your eyes bug out as your gaze glazes over this steadfast companion. There it is, you passed the exit and can't make a u-turn. Your pregnant BFF has officially crossed over into becoming your pregnant frenemy.
As months pass, you wait for a sign that she has any pregnancy symptom aside from her perfect beach ball belly and constant gold and pink glow. Then you catch her eating a Tums and that nagging need to have your pregnancy woes validated shouts "Ah! So it begins my friend, come let me share my milk of magnesia with you." Yet she shares that her heartburn is but a passing flicker of discomfort from that pizza she had late at night.
In a quiet moment you tell yourself: "It's ok, I had a shitty pregnancy, but I am happy for her and her textbook pregnancy." But you are in denial, she is your frenemy and the nice words get bitchslapped by these ones: "I hope she has back labour, just for a few hours longer than me, at least."
Then the day comes you are meeting her at the hospital to welcome this new little amazing life. You gear up like a caravan on Oregon Trail. Filling your totes with food, toiletries, clothes and entertainment for the long labour ahead. You take your time because first labours usually take about twelve hours.
Then you get a message to get there "ASAP!" and you feel like a complete mom-jerk for even wishing a bit of back labour upon her.
You enter her calm hospital room only to be greeted by a perfect little baby with the most adorable trendy name and cuddly face. She relives her delivery story to you, which goes a bit like this: "I had some back pain, so I took a shower, then it got a bit worse, so I thought I'd come in and get checked. I laid down on the table and...'achoo'...a beautiful baby boy! No stitches either!"
Your face gets red. You manufacture a smile onto your face. A flashing photo stream of your epic friendship streams in your mind. All those late night dance parties, shopping trips, and tea with warm socks and intimate conversations. Now you want to throat punch her every time she talks about how she is so grateful she never got stretch marks, how she loved being pregnant, how the nurses joke she was born to deliver babies.
Maybe you will never bond over the same hardships. Maybe you will even realize your differences in parenting make it hard to bond at all. She won't nod in agreement when you say you dread another pregnancy, or delivery. She won't have advice to offer your C-section recovery. She will urge you to continue breastfeeding past a year even though you've pushed yourself past nine. You will encourage her to get her child sleeping in their own bed even though she gushes about the magic of co-sleeping.
They say babies change things. Our lives, our marriages, our homes. They also change our hearts, our friendships, and the filter we see the world through. They swing doors wide open and close them at the same time.
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