It’s hard for women to remain friends when one has a child and the other doesn’t. I’ve always wondered about that dynamic, and if you had told me it was the entire reason I exist, I wouldn’t have believed you. But a after a couple of glasses of wine a few years ago, my Mom let it rip: When her best friend Helen got pregnant, she was worried that their friendship would change; so to make sure it continued, she got pregnant with me.
That’s right: My mom only had me so she could stay friends with Helen.
I wondered about their friendship as a child. There was something very intense about the way my mom talked about her friend Helen, and the way she would shove me out of the way so she could say hello to Helen at the park. On family vacations, she would always buy Helen a souvenir, “just to let her know I was thinking about her.”
I asked my dad about the timing of my conception once when I realized that Helen’s son Jason is just 4 months older than me, but he said I was being paranoid; he’d been pushing my mom to have kids for years, it was just a coincidence that Mom finally relented after Helen got pregnant. He never explained why, just a year after I was born, Helen and Mom both got their tubes tied on a girl’s weekend in Fort Lauderdale.
To be fair, Helen is pretty cool. She always gets me nice gifts for my birthday, and she has a pretty good sense of humor. Also, my mom’s eyes light up when Helen enters the room, and it’s good that someone can make my mom happy.
It’s also a nice change from her staring at me in horror repeating, “I can’t believe you came out of my body.”
Also, I’m glad to be alive, even if I only am so that my mom could stay friends with Helen. I have a great life, my dad loves me so much, and my mom loves Helen so much, and Helen likes me okay, so we’re all happy.
I’m just praying my mom doesn’t find out about Helen’s upcoming move to France.