A friend of mine posted a comment on Twitter the other day about women who announce their pregnancy as soon as they find out and then proceed to fill the next nine months of YOUR life with updates and comments and ultrasound photos and all things baby. It reminded me of my sister-in-law, who was fairly non communicative with me until she got pregnant, and once she had her daughter has been texting me more in a week than she did in the entire pre-baby time we’ve known each other. In some people’s cases, they just want to brag and show off. Others are simply oblivious to the fact that you don’t care as much about their bundle of joy as they do. A few are delusional enough to think they are the first person to create life. And in general, most people who give you way too much information about their personal lives just don’t give a damn whether you want to hear it or not.
Bringing a child into the world is an amazing thing, but it’s hardly a miracle. Tune into to 16 And Pregnant on MTV or read stories about moms dumping babies in dumpsters, and let me know where the miracle lies. Any idiot with functioning body parts can have a child with any other moron with working plumbing. Conception is basic science and getting the sperm to the egg is a process that is instinctual to us all (and if you’re confused, you can just watch an episode of Jersey Shore). As simple as it is to have a kid, women will still continue to act like Beyonce and talk of their new baby as if they invented childbirth.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to be excited about your pregnancy or proud of your children. I’m also not saying you should be ashamed or reluctant to share an ultrasound picture or the news that your little boy cut his first tooth. I’m saying that when the little plastic test gives you a positive reading, you aren’t obligated to tell every single person you know about it within an hour, then post a photo of your test on Facebook right after tweeting half a dozen times about being a mommy now. The whole process of creating and raising a kid is exciting, but that excitement isn’t going to be shared by everyone and it’s important to remember that if you have any interest in not alienating your friends.
Part of being a good friend (or whatever relation you are to someone) is knowing the boundaries of your relationship and what you are to each other. The guy who has never been more than a drinking buddy and who you’ve never spoken to sober will probably not be all that interested in hearing details of your weekly check-ups. The woman down in accounting, however, with kids of her own, is probably a good place to swap stories and get advice. You need to know your audience and make sure you’re not overloading the wrong person or people with information they don’t really care to know.
My friend who tweeted about baby-crazy ladies doesn’t have any kids of her own, so to throw information at her is to basically use her as a set of ears only; it’s not like she can trade stories back since she hasn’t popped out a kid yet. Humans are conceited creatures, yes, but I still find it unfair to throw your baby news at someone who isn’t a parent yet (or has no intentions of becoming one) because you know damn well they won’t have any stories to come back with and you can just talk and talk and talk…. you get the idea.
Be happy, be excited, and be proud. But while you’re being those things, don’t forget to be a friend, a sister, a colleague, or whatever you were pre-baby. Don’t forget why you talk to this person in the first place and don’t let baby replace your old conversations. Don’t overshare and end up overstaying your welcome with the people you interact with on a daily basis. Don’t be selfish and assume that time stops for you when you have good news to share. Be a proud parent without losing your former self and your friends. Do you know how annoying it is to hear someone go on and on about their AMAZING vacation that you can’t afford to a place you’ll probably never go, showing you photo after photo? Just as annoying, if not moreso, when you do it about your damn kids.