Back in August, a friend of ours needed a place to stay for a while and so we moved her into our upstairs - a comfortable space with two bedrooms, lots of closets, and a half bath. A couple of weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. A week after that, I miscarried. Our friend lived with us into early October, then her parents drove up from their Southern home and scooped her up to go be with her family while she figured out what her next steps in the world were going to be.
She called last night to tell us she's pregnant. That apparently, she got pregnant about the same time I did, or very shortly thereafter. She was pregnant when she was in our home. Must've been something in the water that month.
I won't lie, my first reaction to her news was pure, unadulterated jealousy and envy. I smiled for her and told her congratulations, but my body tensed up and I felt on the verge of tears. I had thoughts I'm too ashamed to write here; I listed all the reasons in my mind why I was more deserving of my child than she was of hers. I'm a horrible, awful, terrible person.
I passed the phone to Jimi, bundled up in two jackets, and went out on the front porch to have a smoke and try to stop thinking such bitchy things. I did breathing exercises, focusing on each muscle group in my body and willing them to relax - I felt like I was bound from the inside.
I listed all my blessings; a man who loves me unconditionally and without end, a home that is warm and safe and filled with all of my favorite things, a job that pays me a living wage and provides me with insurance so I can receive top-notch medical care whenever I need it, a network of family and friends who guarantee I'll never spend a night on the streets or a day without a meal, a reliable vehicle that will carry me as far as I want to go; and then shame washed over me in waves. I was ashamed that I would think anything other than happy thoughts for my friend, and for the new life she's growing inside of her. I have so much already; how could I even for a moment feel as though I was more entitled than someone else, as if I were somehow more deserving? Disgraceful.
Our friend will be a wonderful mother. She's intelligent and beautiful and patient and kind and generous and loving and warm and she knows how to dream big and follow her dreams. She has a loving and supportive family who will help her through the struggles and challenges that motherhood will bring. Becoming a single mother in these times of economic hardships certainly wasn't something she planned for herself, but she will make the right choices for herself and her child and she will overcome any obstacles that come her way using her genuine southern charm and her brilliant creativity. She's going to be a wonderful mother, and once my body had relaxed and the tension was gone, I saw this, and I was happy for her. Really happy, not fake jealous-happy.
And so I started worrying. About the father's about-face, and how unfair it was and how hurtful it must've been for our friend. And her sisters' not-so-joyous reactions; they'll come around, but Momma-to-be doesn't need the stress of the cold shoulder right now. And her hip, and money, and medical care...and that's just before the baby arrives! So many things to worry about.
But she'll be fine. She'll make the choices that are best for her and she'll make due and she'll take it one day at a time and she'll have a beautiful little creative genius in her arms in a few short months and we'll be heading down south to snuggle that sweet bundle of love.
I'm going to try hard not to be jealous; I'm going to try hard to not think of what might have been when I see pictures of her pregnant belly; I'm not going to think about how far along I'd be compared to her when I read her updates; I'm not going to wonder why her and not me. I'm going to sit over here and remember how much I have and remind myself that I already have more than I ever could've dreamed or hoped for. I'm going to remember that anything else that comes my way in this world is icing on the cake. I'm going to keep in perspective the fact that I did not have baby fever 3 months ago. I'm going to remind myself that if it's meant to be for Jimi and I to have a child, it'll happen in its own time; rushing it and being impatient will only get me frustrated. And I'm going to remember that even if we don't have a child, we still have each other.