As I sit here and hold my baby, I can’t help but think back about how difficult my life was before she was in it. But things are so much better now. She was worth everything. Every little bit.
When you’re expecting, the hardest part is the wait. You can’t tell anyone for the first few months, just in case something terrible happens. That’s a lot to worry about, you know? After 12 weeks, you can break the news. In my case, though, I didn’t. I was worried what people would think.
I wasn’t married. I didn’t have a job. I knew people would say that a baby would be irresponsible. But I wanted a baby. I needed one. The companionship would be so important – especially after Bobby left. The bastard.
A while earlier, I learned that the one friend I had, Katrina, was pregnant. She was overjoyed and glowing. Her life was perfect; a husband, a house, a career. Why she wanted to be my friend didn’t make much sense to me, but I guess having grown up together really meant something to her. She told me about her baby the day she found out. Bad luck if you’re superstitious. She wasn’t, though. I was so happy for her.
Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Katrina was huge at eight months and wore clothing to show it off. I didn’t want to show off anything. I wore baggy clothes and didn’t like going out in public. I told a few family members I’d be having a baby and the reaction was what I’d feared: anger, disappointment, contempt. I never told Katrina. In fact, I made myself scarce. She hardly noticed. Must have been nice to have so much positivity in your life that you can forget your best friend.
I called Katrina a few weeks later and asked if she wanted to meet me for lunch. I was delighted when she told me she did. I prepared sandwiches and iced tea and waited for her to arrive. An hour later, she did. We sat and ate and talked about baby things. She told me she’d just had a checkup and everything was going great. I expressed my happiness for her. And then, finally, did I let her in on my secret: I was going to have a baby of my own.
To say Katrina was surprised was an understatement.
“Oh my God, Julie, that’s incredible! Our kids can grow up together and be best friends just like us! When are you due?”
I grinned back and just said, “any moment now.”
A look of confusion flashed across Katrina’s face, but her smile remained. “But you’re so tiny! How is that pos–”
The smile was still there when I lunged.
A few minutes later, I was freeing my baby from where Katrina had kept her. She was so warm and perfect. In my excitement, I’d sliced Katrina too deeply and my baby had a bad cut on her neck. It was fine as long as I kept a hand on the top of her head to stop her from looking up at the ceiling all the time. No worries. She was still there and she was mine. Finally mine. And even more beautiful than I’d expected.