Also, you say you find Milly bitter, whiny, nasty, and exhausting. I wonder, then, why you ever became friends with her. Does she have other qualities that you actually enjoy? If the whole friendship was a mistake—and the better you got to know Milly, the more you realized you disliked her—then you should feel thankful to Milly for providing you with the perfect "out." But first, I suggest looking inside yourself and asking whether you're not having a middle-school moment that requires a grown up (you) to forgive and move on.
Friend or Foe
Dear Friend or Foe,
All of my friends are married off and have babies or are expecting. I love their children, and I couldn't be happier that they are happy to have little ones. The problem is that when I talk to these friends, it seems as if we have nothing in common anymore. No matter what subject I bring up, it always comes down to these women talking about their babies. They tell me they long for some "grown-up conversation." But when we talk, it's nothing but poopy diapers and sleepless nights.
Meanwhile, a rare genetic thing will likely leave me childless. (I'm 27.) I've made my peace with not having kids of my own. But while I've shared this fact with my friends, they constantly tell me that I need to have babies because I'd be a good mommy. How can I gently tell them that it hurts my feelings when they say this? And how can I get them to understand that a daily description of boogers and dirty diapers is TMI for me? I guess what I'm really asking is, how can I find a way to relate to my friends again?
Odd Woman Out
Short answer: You can't relate to them—at least not right now. Blame biology, but newborn-land is such a trippy, exhausting, thankless, and all-consuming experience that, to a certain extent, it requires the mommies to believe they've birthed Baby Jesus. But I promise that once their babes are a little older, all those friends will want to do is drink alcohol and discuss celebrity gossip when they're out of the house. In the meantime, I have two suggestions. You could move to New York, where lots of people don't even consider having kids until they're 37 or close to it. (One of my best friends had her first just shy of 40, her second at close to 43.) Or you could tell your boring, baby-obsessed friends that you find them boring and baby-obsessed (with a laugh, of course) and then work on adding some new, nonmating names to your circle of pals. I don't know where you live, but surely there are some other 27-year-olds out there with things on their minds besides infant excrement.
As for your own future, I'm very sorry to hear about your genetic issue. But if you DO end up wanting kids, the last few years have seen huge advances in reproductive technology. There is also a wonderful and rewarding—if costly and labor intensive (no pun intended)—thing called adoption. In the meantime, please go enjoy your youth—take trips, dance, fall in love—and stop wishing you were home changing diapers! Contrary to popular belief, life is long.
Friend or Foe
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.