It had to happen at some point; a friend from university has finally given birth to her firstborn. We’ve both known this girl for over ten years: we studied history modules together at university, and she trained as a librarian with Mrs Astronomer; all three of us go way back. She was overdue so she was induced, producing a 9lb 7oz baby boy. I have no idea if that’s a lot (for a start, it’s in imperial, and like all good scientists I only do metric), but she’s not a big girl, and I’m aware that there were complications, which I shall spare you, so I’m guessing it’s quite a bit, but it all worked out all right in the end.

Friendly tip to all the chaps out there: When your wife asks you to read out the latest text from her friend who has just given birth, do not scroll up and read the previous messages. I now know more about the grizzly details of a friends’ natal activities than I previously cared to. Apparently, my face was hilarious.

However, Mrs Astronomer has been in a foul, grumpy mood all afternoon, and I’ve not been much better myself, to be honest. Obviously we passed on our congratulations, especially in light of the fact that Mr and Mrs Librarian have had their own complexities in trying to have children. However, it doesn’t make it any easier to see another friend succeed, unwittingly leaving us trailing behind in the race that is life. Not that it’s a competition, as measuring your achievements in life against others is folly. I have male and female friends who are perpetually single, who would dearly love to be in our position of being able to try for children; everything is relative, after all. They are fantastically lucky and will make wonderful parents, but that doesn’t make it any easier for us.

What exactly are we supposed to do about it though? Other friends and relatives have given birth before, and it’s not as if we can avoid babies and new mothers forever. But it’s somewhat harder when it’s a close friend. Mrs Astro has been in one of those moods all day, where she’s grumpy, sulky, and occasionally tearful. I suspect that a portion of it is confliction over how to feel; happy for her friend, but upset for herself. A real hodgepodge of emotions, with me trying to cheer her up, and failing dismally.

 

Yup, today’s been fun.

The worst part is that Mr and Mrs Librarian are wholly ignorant of our position. This is, of course, entirely self inflicted, as both Mrs Astro and I are quite private people (hence the vaguely anonymous blog), and we know that they’ll be supportive of us. We’ll tell them at some point, but we didn’t want to dampen their obvious joy at prospective parenthood in the run up to the thing. It’s also a difficult one to broach, even amongst friends, especially for the more reserved of us Brits:

“So, yes – that’s how we’re getting on with nappies, and such and such.”
“Oh, wonderful. Good for you. Children are such a joy, aren’t they? Well, it turns out my wife’s uterus is as barren as the Sahara, so we’ll not get the experience of that at any point. More tea? It’s two lumps you take, isn’t it?”

We may need to refine our approach.

 

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