By Alice Willow
About an hour ago, I found out that my best friend is pregnant. Of course, I called her the instant that black-and-white sonogram pic popped up on my screen. We did the excited-screaming thing, and then the obligatory “When did you find out / who else already knows?" thing. She is nine weeks along, and I am so thrilled for her. But, I am also finding this deep, little patch of sadness taking root inside me, and I already wish it would just go away.
My happiness for my best friend is real, but there is another sentiment mixed in, and I want to unmix the two now, before my genuine happiness for my friend and her husband becomes overwhelmed by my grief. It’s complicated. There are, of course, some feelings of selfishness there: Oh no, am I going to lose my BFF and our wine-and-True-Blood-nights FOREVER? This is natural, since I am perfectly single and distinctly not with child. But, the sadness-patch probably has more to do with my really crappy experience earlier this year. Short version: I got accidentally pregnant after hooking up with a guy who turned out to be a jerk. And, I had a very lonely, very support-free abortion.
I hear you, dear reader, thinking, Aha! She is sad because she WANTED to have a baby! She is pregnancy-jealous! Nope. Not it. I am sad because my experience could not have been any more different from my friend’s, and her reality is just making mine seem all the more stark.
I found out that I was pregnant the same weekend of my now-pregnant best friend’s wedding. I got a call from my doctor that basically said "Hey! The blood tests prove that you are pregnant, even with that IUD! Congrats on overcoming obstacles, sperm!” Later that week, I had an abortion. Because of my IUD, the pregnancy was ectopic and therefore life-threatening, so there had been no decision to make. Plus, I had always known that if I ever got pregnant accidentally, I would have an abortion; it wasn't even a question. But, what I wasn't prepared for was how it would feel to be pregnant.
Walking around with this guy’s stuff inside was like I had him tagging along with me all day, every day — while in real life, he wouldn’t even call me back. I found out he was seeing and possibly sleeping with two other girls; his only response when I told him I was pregnant was that I should “get an abortion already" because I was "not fit to be a mother.” I felt like I was playing host to his parasite. I know that’s a harsh metaphor, but clearly I wasn’t feeling particularly maternal.
The guy, Jeff (yes, that's his real name — hi, jerk) called me a drama queen when I wanted to see him and talk about the situation. He accused me of getting pregnant on purpose. He called me a liar the day of my abortion, insisting that I text him a selfie of myself in the doctor’s office, to prove I was actually there. I wish I could say I told him to fuck off and never speak to me again. Instead, I sent him the photo and tried not to cry.
Accidentally getting pregnant made me realize that I didn’t want to ever be pregnant. I never felt as alone or trapped as I did during those few weeks of pregnancy. It was easy to decide to get an abortion — I knew it was the best choice for me and my life. What wasn’t so easy was the new understanding that I never, ever wanted to be in that position again. The termination wasn’t the tough part; being pregnant was.
I know that some people will insist this is just an outcome of my situation at the time — that with a different partner and at another point in my life I may feel differently. I don't think so. I’m 30, and as much as I want to completely ignore the fact that my maternal capabilities have a shelf life, they do. I don’t really see myself changing pregnancy perspectives anytime soon, and "soon" is when I would have to start seriously thinking about having a baby.
So, my sadness about my best friend’s news isn’t jealousy, or selfishness, or not loving the fact that she is pregnant with the child she always wanted, a child he's having with a guy she adores. My friend is overwhelmingly, joyously happy to be pregnant, and I am happy for her and her husband. I guess I’m just not happy to realize: That particular type of happiness is never going to be for me. But, that’s okay, because I’ll get to nurture my own kind of happiness instead. And, I cannot wait to watch that bloom.