My guy best friend is currently in town from out of state. Whenever he’s around, we always get together. This time he came one week before his wife did so he could visit his parents with his 7-year-old daughter. When we were making plans for dinner, my friend alerted me that I’d have to be prepared to explain to his little girl why I had babies coming without having a big belly. Apparently he hadn’t told her our news yet. I said I’d be ready to explain. And then he told me that he hadn’t had the talk with little girl about human reproduction yet. When she asked questions about how babies came about, he told her to ask her teachers. I guess he was uncomfortable talking about it and really didn’t want to do it at this point. I told him that 7-year-old is not too early to learn about where babies come from. He said he’d think about how to talk to her.
Fast forward a week later. In the afternoon right before our dinner date, my friend called to finalize the details. Then he asked, “Is it okay if we don’t talk about the babies tonight?” Honestly I was taken aback by this request. He went on to explain that he still hadn’t told his daughter about our situation, and he still didn’t know how to explain human sexuality to her. So he thought that it would be better for us to simply not to talk about our pregnancy or anything that had to do with our preparation.
I don’t know. I was sitting there with my phone in my hand feeling a little disappointed and sad. I know that he wasn’t ashamed of our situation. I know that he does want to celebrate our babies with us. I know that it was solely his problem of having a hard time with this talk with his daughter. It is simply his choice of parenting and it is a decision that has nothing to do with me. But why did I feel that I was less than those who could achieve a pregnancy and proudly present their bumps? Why did I still experience sadness and disappointment that my best friend could not rise above this situation and use this opportunity to educate his young child about unique ways of building a family? If I were pregnant with a big bump, this wouldn’t have been an issue for him because then he wouldn’t have to explain how our embryos got transferred into the surrogate. I know that I am not less than others who physically carry and give birth to their children, but my heart still ached that I could not just proudly talk about our excitement and our future.
Dinner was weird. Bob and I sat there and talked about everything but our babies and surrogate. Our life recently has been so engrossed by the preparation for the upcoming birth of our babies that I felt choked by this enforced avoidance of the topic. It felt so unnatural and tiring to have to consciously watch our words. When I handed my friend a thank you card for his gift, his little girl asked what it was. Bob was so smart that he quickly changed the topic to distract the little girl. And my friend finally asked how we were doing with everything, but it was done in our native language so his daughter couldn’t understand it.
It just made me sad that our joy and pride had become so hush-hush that night.
When we said our good-byes in front of the restaurant, I asked my friend how he was going to explain the sudden appearance of two babies in our life. He said he’d wait to see if school would teach about human sexuality and go from there. I know that his choice does not mean that he isn’t happy for us, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth for a few days because we could not openly celebrate this newest chapter of our lives with one of my best friends.