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Carolyn Hax: Good friend is mother material, but wary of the prospect

Adapted from a recent online discussion:

DEAR CAROLYN: A friend confided that she is pregnant and feeling decidedly unexcited about it. Her current life checks all of the boxes for “ready for baby” including a lovely, excited husband. She doesn’t seem depressed, just reasonably apprehensive about how much her life is about to change and whether she is ready for a child.

What is the best way to be a supportive friend in this situation? I don’t have children myself, and all of my previously pregnant friends have been excited about their pregnancies – even as they expressed reasonable reservations about childbirth, never sleeping again, the usual.

I don’t want to minimize her concerns by saying she’ll be excited once she feels the kick/finds out the gender/whatever.

For what it is worth, she is a great person and I am 100 percent confident she will be an awesome mother, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she will be a happy mother.

Friend

(FROM CAROLYN): Tell her you’re confident she’ll be a great mom, but also say you won’t judge her or offer empty assurances about how she’ll eventually feel.

Her misgivings are normal, but to many they’re also taboo, so she might feel uncomfortable sharing them again. Even those friends who were excited about their pregnancies could also have had doubts they didn’t express. Ambivalence can seem like the third rail of pregnancy, so make sure your friend knows you’re a safe place to talk.

(FROM ANONYMOUS): I don’t know what I would have done without my best buddies there to remind me that they liked me for me, not the baby I happened to be incubating.

Email Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com or follow her at www.facebook.com/

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