Prior to finding out my girlfriend was pregnant, I would have said I had a large and diverse friendship group. People who I considered myself close to were the friends I would see all the time, at work and at weekends, friends who would come join in with our late night partying and those who would pop round for a brew in the week. I also had (and still have) another set of friends, old friends. Now these guys I would have considered myself to be close to and still friends with...Looking back on it now I clearly wasn't. These guys I had written off, fooling myself that through a few "likes" and comments here on there on Facebook that we were still in touch. Partying and all night "sessions" had taken over.
"Such a good group of people we have here"
"I bloody love ..... so much, they're so cool"
"Really get on with .... he's such a nice guy"
All of the above I would say is true, these people I do get on with, I do respect, I would consider my friends. However, what happens when you take away the one thing that all these people have in common? Getting absolutely off your tits. How do relationships with these people change and evolve? Will they adapt to revolve around something else like a child???... because that is what my life is going to do!
I will tell you right now that you shouldn't expect other peoples lives to change just because yours is. I made the mistake of expecting others to adapt and change their priorities just because I have to. I think now, after 20 weeks my girlfriend and I have come to terms with peoples reactions to the news and their actions since. Some people we thought we were close to are now almost completely out of our lives and there have also been a few pleasant surprises! But no matter what happens, the only advice I can give is not to expect anything from anyone. Don't expect the party to stop just because you have had to pull out. Don't expect the people who you are closest to or the people you may keep at arms length to have the reaction you would like or expect.
So the party has stopped (for us), we broke the good news to our closest two friends, which we both share and love. One has been great. Given unconditional support, respected the privacy of the news we shared (we kept it on the d-low prior to 12 weeks), has kept checking in even if it's just a text in the week and has made time for us outside of "party time" on the weekends and even toned things down himself. Everything you would expect from someone you hold close to you...
Unfortunately for us, not everybody we had invested hours and days of our time in over the last few years had the same reaction. They fall into the following categories:
The "Congratulations - Goodbye" friends
"Congrats man, thats such awesome news"... last thing I have heard from them. Quite a few of these out of the party pot...but I guess in real actual awake day time life I'm not close to them at all.
The Ones That Are Actually Gutted Deep Down
Now you can sense disappointment from some of the true wreck heads, clearly thinking "that's it pal, party is over for you.". I don't really mind that seeing as I am moving on with my life and they are happy to continue...but when it comes from someone you thought was one of your best friends it's a lot different. The other close friend we initially broke the news to surprised me straight off when we told him we were going to think about keeping the child or not.
"Well that answers it then, if you are considering not keeping it then you shouldn't"
Woah, woah, woah...hold on there sport! I thought that was a bit of a rash and somewhat harsh thing to say at the time and actions since have also surprised me...well...the lack of actions. Needless to say we don't even get the odd text. It's the fact that if you strip it down to the bare bones, that conversation that we had 12 - 13 weeks ago is essentially saying get rid of your child so nothing has to change. FUCK THAT.
However, I can also tell you that there is light at the end of this seemingly depressing blog post tunnel. Seeing as I am categorising:
The person that doesn't really change their behaviour and/or attitude towards anything to do with you, themselves, the baby or any other aspect of life. They are just all out pleased for you, and in my specific example the guy was genuinely happy for us. But as things go absolutely baby mental it's brilliant...no, its fucking brilliant to have this person in your life to feed back in a bit of normality. Still pops in for a brew. Will still roll up a spliff, but have the decency to not make a big deal and go out into the garden by himself.
I guarantee you will be so grateful of this person. Things change, and fast. Everything revolves around the baby so you need this person to inject some normality and engage in a bit of down time with, even if its just a quick cup of tea one night a week.
Friends you thought you may have lost contact with, or in my case, those who I thought I was still in contact with but was just kidding myself.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the reaction I have had from them, not to the baby, but to me. I had brushed them aside for three years. I would stop and talk to them in the street, but it would be an awkward conversation. Since breaking the baby news to them I have met up for dinner with two of them and was even released for a few drinks in town one Saturday. They know what I was doing for three years, they know I feel guilty as hell for sacking them off, they know I am sorry for it, but will never ask for an apology or act that it matters. I did bring it up with them, wanting in some strange way some verbal confirmation that they recognise I was a dick head, but forgive me. It was just brushed off with a "it honestly doesn't matter mate"
We all have best friends. The ones that are not just there for the party. The ones that have known you for years. The ones that have seen you grow up and grown up with you. The ones that have been there when life gave you lemons and have picked you up and helped you make the most delicious lemonade!
My two TRUE friends reacted quite differently but have never for one second let this baby change our relationship.
One quite similar to "the constant"... Awesome, congrats, brilliant etc etc...then back to normal. The other is already sorting out our season tickets and one for the little guy too.
So there you have it. I have been through some real highs and lows in terms of friends over the last 12-13 weeks. Some friends I have just had to accept that our lives are on different paths now. There is no room in my life for them and theres none for me in theirs. Those who are still here I know now that they will be for a long long time. Those who have let me back into theirs and have welcomed a baby along for the ride I can't put into words how grateful I am.
You can never be sure of how people will react, who will be there and who won't. Not when you break the news of pregnancy nor in any other situation for that matter. One thing that all my friends now, and those that I have lost can be sure about, is that, for me...