What to Expect When Everyone Else Is Expecting

Once you hit a certain age, every woman you know gets pregnant at the same time. It’s just a fact. High school acquaintances post baby bump pics on Facebook. Close friends say, “No, thanks,” with a coy smirk when you offer them wine during Bachelor binges. Cousins announce they’re eating for two at your birthday dinner. (Save it for tomorrow, Catherine!)

Alas, as it turns out, I am apparently the only woman my age eating for one and drinking for sanity. And while this is apparently useful to no one else (being that everyone is pregnant), here’s what I’ve learned to expect when everyone else is expecting. 

Mood swings are real
…And they are Level-5-hurricane scary. Batten down the hatches as your friends’ hormones rage and prepare for emotional cyclones. My advice? Ride out the storm with emphatic nods and grunts of confirmation. “Uh huh.” “Ya.” “Mhmm.”

Intimate details about your friends’ changing bodies will be the norm
Last week you complained about an ingrown toenail that even the best pedicure couldn’t fix, and your pregnant friend promptly scolded you for making her nauseous. This week, that same friend used the words “bigger,” “bumpier,” “browner” and “nipples” in the same sentence and then convinced you to buy lunch because her newly formed skin tags (surprise pregnancy woes!) will hurt if they rub against her bra strap when she reaches for her wallet. 

You’ll be shamed by your own eating habits
“Can you believe this disgusting food I’m craving?” your pregnant friend will ask you. What she doesn’t know is that it happens to be a delicacy you’ve loved forever and eat regularly. Now you can never eat seafood salad in front of her again without pretending that your hormones are out of whack.

Someone will steal your baby name idea
It’s inevitable. So get over yourself now and start picking backups. If anyone in your extended family pops out kids before you get to it (hello, cousin Catherine), forget using family names. Sure, you can try to call dibs on one, but learn this now: All is fair in love and baby names.  

And yet, no one wants to hear your other genius baby name ideas
Your baby name ideas are really great. But no one cares. So, I suggest buying a journal and writing down all the names you’ve come up with so that you have proof you’re a total genius if someone in the royal family uses it later. Then you can be like, “See? I told you I had good ideas—it’s Meghan Markle-approved!”

There’s also a high possibility your friends will name their kids objectively bad names
This is not a drill. You should practice your “I Love It” face in the mirror before seeing your friend post-birth for the first time. “Urchin!” “I love it!” “Longfellow!” “I love it!” “Bernadette!” “Wait, that was my—I mean, I love it!” (Remember: All is fair in love and baby names.)

Your friends will start doing weird mom stuff you had all agreed was stupid
…Like eating placentas and making pregnancy belly casts. Again, I cannot emphasize enough how much you should practice your “I Love It” face in the mirror. You never know when you’ll need to repurpose it.  

You’ll come across countless baby announcements that will test every fiber in your mortal being
Even that ex-boyfriend who couldn’t get his life together will succumb to posting milestones leaving you like, “Wait, Drew’s having a baby?” He’s the one who told you he didn’t want kids. It’s the reason you broke up. Now he’s taking Star Trek-themed “we’re expecting” photos with his partner and blasting them over the internet??? You will use every ounce of strength in your barren body to delete the “Wow, people really change” comment you are about to post and, instead, pour another big, heaping glass of pinot noir—something your pregnant friends cannot do. Ah, sweet revenge.

You’ll take on the role of personal assistant for a while, sans paycheck
It’s on you to make sure they have chairs to sit in, ottomans to raise their feet upon and railings to watch their step. You must make sure a bathroom is always within 15 feet so they can pee with frequency and ease. You must ask them if they want a tiny sip of your wine, because they do. (They always do.)

You will be tricked
Your pregnant friends are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves! It’s patronizing to ask if they need a chair, an ottoman, a pee break or “how they’re doing” for the one-millionth time. And how dare you ask if they want wine—they’re pregnant! 

You will be tricked again
Catherine will take just a tiny bird sip of your pinot noir to relax—after all, they do it in France. 

You will be asked if you’re feeling ill from the fever
Baby fever, that is. You will smile, pretend someone called your name from across the room and utter to yourself, “The only fever I have is for more cowbell.” A tall, dark, handsome and single male stranger will overhear this reference, laugh, and you will form an immediate connection. You will spend the entire weekend together in a romantic whirlwind. You will fall in love. You will plan your future. You will leave his side for five minutes to call your mother and say, “I think I met somebody.” But when you turn around, he will be gone. You will be heartbroken, but you will forget him only to be reminded of his existence when he posts a video of a beautiful brunette swinging adorably at a piñata until it breaks open to release pink confetti: It’s a girl! “Congrats!” you will type. But you will swiftly delete it. 

You will exact sweet, sweet revenge on everyone who stole your baby names
…by rescuing a litter of kittens and giving them all the baby names taken from you. Now, all of your friends’ kids have the same names as your cats. How utterly embarrassing for them!

You will become a cat lady
See above. 

You will fall victim to a downward spiral of your own imagination
With each announcement, each post, each sip ’n see invite, you will feel the slight pang of loneliness. And you will be scared—scared that all of those pangs will accumulate into a raging avalanche that overcomes you. You will imagine yourself as an 80-year-old hoarder living amid a swamp of cats. You will sign up to be on the show Hoarders. Production will clean up your house and it will feel miraculous. But when the “6 Months Later” section airs, we learn you fell back into your hoarding habits and brought home more cats.

You will snap out of it
You are not on Hoarders. You have one cat. Better yet, the last time you checked (five minutes ago), your nipples were normal. Plus, nothing sounds better than a bowl of seafood salad, a glass of pinot and a binge fest of The Bachelor. You might even call Catherine. Hell, you might even break out the ottoman. 

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