The women cry. No, that’s not entirely true: occasionally they’ll squeal with joy. But that’s not entirely fair either: one of my best girlfriends said—and this may have been the most genuine happiest response we’ve gotten—“I’m so, so happy for you. You’ll have such a beautiful baby.” She said it quietly and convincingly. And then she cried.
The men, well, they take news of our pregnancy differently.
There seem to be two reactions from my male friends, fairly evenly divided between those who have children and those who don’t. And the reactions are related, in their own way.
Those who have children, especially young children, look at me and their souls pool up in their eyes and they cast their gaze about as though surveying the strewn remnants of their pre-baby lives, and all the nights of sleep deprivation and screaming and days of stress and screaming are distilled into the words: “Are you ready?” My brother goes so far as to say “Are you sure you want to do this?” Of course, they always say something along the lines of “it’s the best thing in the world,” and they obviously mean it, but I am haunted by their haunted eyes.