Pregnancy

Unbearable: To Hold Or Not To Hold Your Best Friend’s Newborn Baby

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Having a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

Listen, we’ve talked about this sticky situation on Unbearable before. I’ve been called a horrible person for admitting that it can be difficult to hear pregnant women complain about swollen ankles when I’m desperately praying for cankles on a nightly basis. At the same time, I really want to be there to support my dear friends and family through their pregnancies, no matter how difficult it might be. I can’t explain how I can feel both happy for other pregnant women and jealous all at the same time. I realize that it makes me a confusing hypocrite. I wish I could sort the whole thing out. But it’s difficult.

I’ve been going back and forth between these two opposing ideas for some time now, but nothing cemented the debate more for me than visiting my friend and her brand new baby. Just a month ago, a close friend brought a beautiful little boy into the world. In my completely biased opinion, he is one of the most handsome little men on the planet. His mom still seems to be glowing like she’s in her second trimester of pregnancy. They are a truly amazing family.

Of course, as their friend, I’ve been happy to drop off easy meals that they can throw in the oven. We sent small gifts to the emergency room directly after the birth. I’ve tried to lend my support to these new parents.

And then comes the visit.

As a woman and a mother, I love seeing a newborn baby. I love cooing at them and marveling at their grip or neck control. Honestly, its one of the best feelings in the world. The problem is that at this point, my friends and family all know about my struggle to conceive. They know how badly I want a little one of my own. So as I’m rocking a little one, people stop looking at the adorable infant in my arms and start making sympathetic puppy dog eyes at the poor woman barren woman. That would be me.

Holding a newborn baby suddenly puts my lack of one into sharp relief. It seems awkward. I feel like I should assure parents that I’m not so desperate as to go Lifetime Movie and snatch their precious bundle of joy away from them. Even with friends who I’ve known for years, I feel a like there’s a big elephant in the room that we’re all just trying not to talk about.

I love babies. I love my friends too. And I love my friends’ babies! It should really be as simple as that. But there’s something a woman dealing with infertility rocking and cuddling a newborn that seems to create more sadness and tension in a room than there should be. After all, visits to newborns should be about the beautiful new family. It should be a happy time, and I feel like the best way to focus on that joy is to keep me and my empty uterus out of the equation.