Not Friends Anymore (With New Parents)

I can’t count how many times in the past I’ve been really good friends with someone before they had children, and then no matter how much I liked them or how good of friends we were, all of a sudden when their kid was born we were no longer friends. It’s happened time and time again.

Quite frankly I don’t care if someone wants to have kids. I really don’t. I don’t comprehend why anyone would willingly subject themselves to raising a kid and all that goes along with it (not the least of which include incessant crying, shit-filled diapers, the ridiculously high price tag, among everything else), especially since that’s an investment that yields absolutely no return whatsoever, but I don’t judge them for it. It’s their life and they can live it however they wish, and who am I to tell them what they can and can’t do with their lives? I believe in personal freedom and liberty for all people, so far be it from me to get in the way of someone else’s life.

So here we go. A friend gets pregnant and then announces it to everyone they know. All her friends are all over her congratulating her and whatever, except for me. I don’t say anything whatsoever, other than an “oh, okay” and I left it at that. I didn’t make a fuss about it, and I definitely didn’t pull the same card breeders pull of “you’ll regret it someday.” She gets all bent out of shape that I didn’t say exactly what I was supposed to (“congratulations, you’ll be a wonderful mother”). It’s as though I was supposed to be reading from a script or something.

Fastforward nine months. The baby is born and she is showing off her baby pictures on Facebook and whatever. Of course I don’t want to to look at them (and she should know this), so why didn’t she select the “hide this from” option on her Facebook and hide them from me, that way I didn’t have to look at that? No, I don’t want to see pictures of your baby any more than I want to see pictures of your dog taking a dump. Yet again, she gets really angry with me for not being all “Awww, how cute” and congratulating her. Except this time I didn’t say anything at all. Not even “oh, okay” as I knew that upset her last time. I bit my tongue, even though I eventually had to hide her posts from my inbox because I got tired of having to look at another baby picture every other fucking day.

Of course, for the next month I heard nothing out of her, which is to be expected. She’s incredibly busy which I completely understand. A newborn baby is a lot of work, and I know that and have experienced something similar raising a newborn puppy. The next thing I hear out of her is making up excuses for why we can’t be friends anymore, and she never once mentioned the real reason why. She lied to her other friends about me, said I “turned on her.” She said I “played her.” Of course, neither of these accusations are true. I just didn’t feel the same excitement she did over her new kid, so therefore I wasn’t worthy of her time and had to go.

Well, my case is hardly unique. I hear similar stories from childfree people all the time. A friend has a kid and suddenly their friendship dissolves. It’s happened to me more than once, actually. It’s a sad state of affairs, but I also believe it speaks to a double standard. They think it’s perfectly OK to badger us about not having children, saying we’ll regret it or that we’ll change our minds or that they feel sorry for us. Yet, when we make the same sentiments and/or don’t share their excitement for bringing their little “bundle of joy” into their lives, we’re horrible people, and in my experience new mothers have the absolute WORST superiority complex of all. I hate to say it, but it’s the God’s honest truth.

Now, this is not to say it’s this way with all parents or all new mothers. I am friends with some childed people. I respect their decision and they respect mine. They understand that I probably don’t want to hear about their children or don’t want to look at pictures of their children. In that way, they keep that part of their life “secret” from me, if you will. I, in turn, don’t ever badger them about it, and we get along great. It just seems these people are in the minority, though.

Alas, this is just another example of how this world looks down on the childfree.

Do any of you other CFers have similar experiences? Share them in the comments!

About coolchildfreeguy

Childfree guy living in Mexico City. Professional pilot by day, all-around fun guy by night.

Posted on June 14, 2012, in Childfree, Life, Parenting, Relationships. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I’ve had an almost identical reaction on Facebook a few times. It’s began to grate on me enough that occasionally I go out of my way to share childfree articles. People seem genuinely perplexed.

    Most of my parent friends are not like that at all, but many in the family are. I wish people would just live and let live – why is that such a difficult doctrine to live by?!

  2. If anyone ever decided not to be my friend BECAUSE of my CF status and not gushing over their kids then they never told me that was the reason. Most people I know don’t do a whole “break-up” thing over friendships. They just make excuses for not wanting to hang out with you anymore until you stop asking, or they quietly unfriend you from facebook or whatever other social media, thinking you won’t notice (but I do, because even if I might not have otherwise noticed I have a program which tells me when someone deletes me, deactivates their account, or declines one of my friend requests).

    I’ve even had friends deactivate old accounts and make entire new ones just so that they could leave off friending people they don’t want to unfriend, figuring that that person will never realize what they’ve done. People who make new IM accounts and e-mail addresses for the same purpose, thinking you’ll never figure it out, justifying it as the “nicer” way to do things.

    Which is actually bullshit, it’s just the easiest for them because they don’t have to deal with a confrontation. They probably realize that their reason for deleting a person from their life is petty or immature. Why else be so scared of confrontation? But, because of this I never know why I’m being deleted from someone’s life. I can only guess at it.

    I don’t usually care, though, if someone wants me out of their life, then that’s their loss. They were apparently too immature and cowardly to talk it out like adults and decided they’d rather just leave. Why have people like that in your life? I don’t lose any sleep over it. :p I doubt they do, either. It was their decision, after all.

  3. This is so true. Any time a friend announces they’re pregnant my first thought is always, “Was it planned?” because I can’t imagine anyone would do this on purpose…but I don’t say that. I say ‘you must be excited’ or something. At that announcement is when I hide their FB posts. I don’t want to see sonograms. I don’t want to hear about how great Babies R Us is. I don’t want to see endless posts about the best strollers or car seats. I pretty much write them off at that point. I feel like it’s worse being female – you’re even more expected to act like they just discovered the cure for cancer. And you get the baby shower invites. So yeah, pretty much all of the relationships I had with people ended when they started to have kids. It’s to be expected at this point (I’m 34) and it sucks.

    • Doktor McNasty

      Hey Holly hang in there! I can’t imagine how incredibly tough it must be for women to be cf. As a cf man in an office with 90%+ females I have to tell you that it does get a bit uncomfortable at times when they share their new pregnancy with me and are expecting a ‘congratulations’ that I am nowhere near feeling. In fact it’s quite the opposite: I only wish I could ask them ‘how dare you needlessly expose someone to the horrors of this world, old age, and dying (and that’s if it goes well!!) just to satisfy some selfish social and/or emotional need that you feel? And all that without having obtained informed consent too! It boggles the mind yet they just keep right on doing it, apparently oblivious to the futility of their fertility.

  4. When my friends have kids, although I’m not excited about the kids in the least bit, I am excited FOR my friends because I know how much it means to them. So maybe your friend was just upset that you weren’t supporting her, which I can kinda understand. And you shouldn’t expect her to filter her photo stream so that her photos don’t show up on your feed — come on, that’s silly! If you don’t want to see it, you can block her updates yourself. I am 100% CF and I totally despise kids, but I love my friends and although I don’t understand in the least why they would want to breed (ugh, srsly, why??), I support them unconditionally. And although they know about my CF-ness, I don’t go out of my way to be nasty to them about their sproggen either. Ha ha I avoid the kids at all costs of course, but I won’t be mean to them or about them! Maybe just dial back your approach a little.

    • I agree with you 100%. This has been my experience over the past 25 yrs of friends starting families.

    • Doktor McNasty

      But the thing is, Boingggg that these people are imposing their will onto others without their (the one being conceived) informed consent! How can I support that? I think the assumption is that ‘hey life is great so who *wouldn’t* want it’ but the problem with that theory is 1 million people a year tend to disagree with that presumption: http://www.befrienders.org/suicide-statistics

      Wouldn’t you be horrified to discover that you fully supported your friend who conceived a person who ended up being so tortured with existence that they had to take the ultimate step?

      Most people enjoy sex yet we don’t *impose* it on others without their informed consent because – oh yeah, that’s right – it’s called rape – yet when it comes to life it’s a-ok to impose that on to some *complete* stranger because we’ve decided that “hey I like it – and the little bastard had better like it too!’

      Every month billions of unfertilized eggs are flushed down the toilet and nobody cries about THEM so leaving well enough alone rather than taking a chance you will force someone to live who doesn’t think it ain’t such a good idea after all is probably the most compassionate thing one can do to reduce the total amount of suffering in this blind idiot god universe.

  5. I totally believe you that there are people who base their judgement of a friendship on something as formulaic as whether you coo over their children.

    But what baffles me is… is the sight of a baby truly so repulsive that she actually should have hidden the photos from you? (What I mean is, should she have actually known to do so, as you say? You’re childfree, but does she understand the degree of revulsion there?)

    I don’t mean this accusatively, I just genuinely wanted to confirm.

    • A couple of pictures is ok. Whatever. Seeing a new album every other day? That’s just too much. I swear she posted 50 baby pictures in the span of 3 days.

      • I can see how that gets tedious, would even consider unfriending someone (or hiding their stream) in that case. My curiosity was mainly about the idea that she should have somehow known to hide it from you preemptively (as I see now Boingggg referenced above.)

  6. I had a girl delete me from Facebook because I wouldn’t vote for her baby in one of those ridiculous cutest kid contests that photographers WILL NOT STOP DOING.

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