You just got the news that another girlfriend is “in the family way,” and you feel a twinge of guilt about your mixed emotions. Of course, you want to be happy for your friend and supportive throughout this big life change, but you’re also keenly aware that her life will be permanently altered—and your friendship will likely never be the same.
When my best friend announced that she was pregnant, I was taken aback. She was in her late 30s and hadn’t planned to have children; nevertheless, she was thrilled by this unplanned surprise! I visited her when her son was an infant. He was all consuming and I had to accept the fact that our friendship would forever take a back seat to her child. Her “baby” is now a teenager, and although my friend is able to get away from time to time for girlfriend visits, her child is always in the forefront of her thoughts.
During my 30s and 40s I felt the most like an odd duck with my peers who had kids. Despite working full time, I had heaps of free time and this allowed me to travel, exercise daily, routinely get a full night’s sleep, and save up for retirement. I had time to write my book, Complete Without Kids: An Insider’s Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance. Meanwhile, I saw others my age, including my best friend, stretched thin, exhausted and seemingly unable to truly enjoy any part of their lives fully. It was seldom convenient for them to get together with me — even more so because I’m not really fond of mixing kids with girlfriend time. My unwillingness to join in with parents and their children has interfered with building friendships with women my own age, but there are other ways for childfree women to be friends with moms. I came up with several tips on how to make it work.