To the Best Friend Whose Pregnancy I’ve Neglected
To my best friend:
We’ve known each other since middle school. We’ve remained friends throughout high school, college, family losses, marriages, divorces and kids. In a twist of fate, you just so happened to introduce me, newly divorced, to your neighbor, newly divorced, and now we are happily married with a blended family of five — all boys!
After one miscarriage and every complication imaginable during my pregnancy, including months of bedrest, our newest addition was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The only constant thing throughout was you, my best friend — just as you’ve always been.
So not only do I want to say, “Thank you” to you over and over until the end of time, but I also need to say, “I’m sorry.” When you discovered you were pregnant toward the end of my own pregnancy, you still stood right beside me through every moment of the unpredictable, frightening, whirlwind of emotions we all experienced anticipating the birth of my son. I feel as if I’ve completely neglected you throughout your pregnancy and not been the friend you were and are to me.
Not that I’ve tried to — or Heaven forbid, wanted to — but I have. My sick infant son has taken all of my time, attention, even all of my emotions, to where I have little left to give. I haven’t been there for doctor’s appointments, to shop for nursery furnishings and baby clothes. We’ve barely discussed her arrival and how exciting it will be, and rarely have I even asked, “How are you feeling?” or talked about baby kicks and contractions. Throwing your baby shower sucked the life out of me. I dreaded it for weeks and still feel so guilty and selfish for feeling that way. It’s hard for me to see the gifts, the perfect nursery, and connect with the baby girl you’re about to be blessed with.
Let me explain why. I didn’t experience things like healthy ultrasound pictures, fun shopping excursions for baby stuff, a baby shower or professional pictures taken after the baby was born in all those cute little outfits. I haven’t neglected your pregnancy because I’m jealous or not happy and excited for you, but because I’m still grieving. I do have a beautiful, thriving, healthy-as-can-be baby boy, but I’m so consumed with the constant worry, anger, sadness and sorrow I often feel that I can’t find the joy and happiness I used to know. That I know is there for my best friend, my chosen “sister,” but I just can’t bring myself to express it.
I wish I could have been the friend for you that you have been for me, the way we were for each other 10 years ago when we had our first babies. I hope you can forgive me and know I’m giving all I’ve got. I love you and your new baby as much as anything, and I’ll be there for you with anything you need. But for now, I’m still struggling. I still need you to carry me through as you have the last few months.
I know you understand and would never hold it against me, because that’s the type of friend you are. But I felt like I just needed to say this to you: I’m sorry I may not have been what you needed and wanted from me. But I’m still here and always will be. I thank you and love you more than you’ll ever know. And I know our new babies will grow up to be best friends — just like our first babies are, and just like we are.
Editor’s note: After sharing this letter with us, Marissa sent us this update:
My best friend just delivered her healthy baby girl via C-section, and I got to be with her the whole time, in the OR and all. Her husband works out of town, and the baby decided not to wait on him, so I was by her side. I believe I just made up for any time lost!
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