After my ultrasound on Tuesday, I shared the news with BFB. (That’s Best Friend with Baby, my sometimes very sweet, sometimes totally insensitive best friend. For a good picture of our relationship, you could read my interview with her.) E-mail might seem a little cold for a best friend, but it’s a totally normal medium of communication for us. Except…after she moved to California, I requested that we not speak for a while. Every e-mail from her just reminded me of what she had that I didn’t, and I thought maybe if she just left me alone, I’d actually get some benefit from her absence. She was totally cool about it. In fact, I didn’t even get the impression that she particularly minded. As a result, this was the first she’d heard from me in about two months. She was very excited, and we planned to have a phone conversation last night. So we did. Most of the conversation was fine. I got to tell her about every last detail of my adventures and she was enthusiastic. But two things were not fine.
1. I still found it painful to hear about her baby’s antics. Jane is seven months now, and doing all sorts of remarkable things. It still hurt my heart to hear about them. This should not have surprised me. First, although I might be looking at my golden ticket off IF island, I might not. There’s a long way to go before I find out. So it’s not like my journey is over. And I spent a long year being tormented by the sight of her all pregnant and then having a cooing, gurgling infant. There’s no reason why the pain would evaporate without a trace. Everyone says that IF leaves scars; even if I had my baby in my arms right now, I’d still be a changed person as a result of my experience.
2. After a perfectly reasonable conversation, BFB revealed that my asking her for some space left her feeling like shit. I can totally see how this would be the case. I bet that’s how I’d feel! And she’s had to do a certain about of bending over backwards to accommodate my precious feelings during the past year, much of which has probably been painful for her (as bending over backwards tends to be). Still, I wish she hadn’t hit me with that at the end. It blindsided me and made me feel like the whole conversation had been false. That she’d just been putting on a pretense of interest and happiness while actually seething with resentment.
I’m so tired of negotiating things in this friendship, of apologizing for not being able to put my own feelings aside, of feeling guilty for whatever dampening effect I have on her experience of motherhood, of not being a good enough friend. I found myself wondering whether a friendship that requires this much delicate handling is really worth it. The thought of just giving up on it felt wonderfully restful.
I expect that I’ll cool off and feel ready to work this kink out soon enough. The anger is probably mainly a reaction to learning that I hurt someone without really knowing it. And maybe I should have renewed contact with her before telling her about this development, so that we could have had a conversation about the period of non-communication before we talked about babies. I don’t know. I just feel like shit.