Sitting at my desk at work, my phone buzzes incessantly. I silence it to continue a work call that I’m making and then sneak a look when I’m free. Three missed calls from my childhood best friend and a text begging me to (and I quote) “please please please run to the toilet so I can speak to you for one min!” How to instill the fear of god in someone, eh?
So I ran out of the office and down a couple of sets of stairs to ring her. She answers immediately. “I’m pregnant.” That’s all she said.
The enormity of it hits us both as the longest second of silence sits between us. We then both speak instantaneously “What are you going to do?” I ask whilst she adamantly tells me that she’s not joking. Hell, that was clear.
This is the girl who has been my best friend since the age of three. Immediately I picture the blonde girl with poker straight hair, a perfect fringe and a gappy smile from losing her milk teeth. This is the girl who won my affection at such a young age and has seen me through my parent’s divorce, my first break-up and failing the course of my dreams.
It stings. Only yesterday one of my would-be neices (if I was my married to my boyfriend) was born stillborn. Two little twins- one survived and the other weighing only one pound, didn’t. It’s totally heart breaking and one of the most horrible things in life. God, it hurts. I’m trying so hard not to think about babies and now, my oldest, best friend is telling me she is pregnant.
The timing couldn’t be worse. Her and her boyfriend of five or so years were on the rocks a few months ago. They broke up, she moved out of their shared apartment and he got his job transferred and moved to a new town. With time they got back in touch, repaired what they had and started again- albeit at a slower pace. They’re still very much taking things slowly. She visits him once a week and they’re making their less serious, long distance relationship work. As a result my friend took her most essential belongings and moved into her mum’s spare bedroom. Things at work had also taken a toll for her a month or so ago when she lost her job. It was a silly incident that resulted in her being able to watch back-to-back Jeremy Kyle episodes during the day and eat baked beans off toast like the poorest of students. By any reckoning it was hardly the ideal scenario for bringing up a child.
Whilst I’m pretty good at advising her on the most flattering dress to wear, the men that she should avoid with a bargepole and the best comebacks to have in an argument, when she asked me what she should do, I was at a loss. I wouldn’t know what I would do in that situation- even less what someone else should. I weighed up the pros and cons to both and told her I’d support her no matter what. I encouraged her to take a second test before telling her boyfriend and when she asked if I would, I assured her that I’d be godmother. That was all I could offer her.
I can’t begin to imagine what she’s going through. Her boyfriend isn’t known for his bedside manner and one of the reasons they broke up last time was his fear that they were “too serious.” Throwing a child into the mix some 6 months later is going to go down like a lead balloon. But he earns enough and with her father’s inheritance money- my friend could make it work.
Life is a funny thing. It throws challenges, obstacles and surprises at you from every corner. The timing of things is seldom right and sometimes we just have to step up to the plate.
An hour or so later my friend called me and told me that she’d spoken to her boyfriend and that they were going to go for it.
Ultimately I guess that’s what being an adult is all about.
Eight months down the line my would-be niece is doing fantastically well (as are her parents) and my best friend is foaming at the bit for her little baby to arrive. Sometimes horrible things happen and sometimes we have to deal with the unexpected, but usually, things work out alright in the end.