Ever since my closest friend told me she was pregnant eight months ago, I’ve been fluctuating between insane joy and terrible despair.
She’s my first close friend to have a baby, and I thought I knew what that meant. I’d read the books. I’d seen the movies.
I was under no illusions about what it meant to be a new mother: there would be nobody, and I mean nobody, else in my friend’s world but her and the baby.
They’d exist in a sort of new-mother-and-baby-vacuum where nobody could contact them. Where mobile phones didn’t exist and texts went unanswered and all calls were met with static and I was finally forced to show up at her house and bang down the door. At this point, she’d shout at me for waking up her newborn and we’d never see each other again.
Her life was going to change irrevocably, and I was going to be left behind.
When I spoke to her about my concerns, she assured me that wouldn't be the case.
"You're being crazy," she told me. Not wanting to upset her, I agreed (she was pregnant, after all).
Deep down, though, I thought I knew better: it was she who was crazy, for carrying on this absurd notion that everything would be the same.
When she texted to tell me she was in labour, my heart jumped into my chest. This is my last chance to be involved, I thought desperately. I sent her a link to a really good podcast I'd heard in the hopes I would live fondly in her memory in the post-birth apocalypse of our friendship. (Note to self: women aren't that into podcasts when they're having contractions.)
I mentally prepared myself for what was to come.
When I got the call, late on Thursday night, to let me know she'd given birth, I cried at full volume on the street corner outside Liquorland.
I was thrilled to hear that everything had gone off without a hitch, but I was more excited to hear her voice, which was still - somehow, unimaginably, miraculously - exactly the same.
She told me, briefly, how the labour went, and how the ambulance had rushed her to the wrong hospital. She told me how she'd felt when the midwife put her baby on her chest and promised to expand later on the graphic birthing details. She made a joke (a joke!) about a mutual friend of ours. She told me she loved me.
I hung up the phone and cried harder, turning to my boyfriend.
"Jodie's just had her baby," I sobbed, "and she still wants to be my friend!"
Somehow, in all my imagining and planning and worrying, I'd never pictured things turning out like this.
When I visited her in the hospital, I held her baby for the first time. I chatted to my friend and I held her daughter. It was thrillingly new. It was overwhelming. It was achingly, wonderfully normal.
Her daughter's name is Harper Rose. I know this is what everyone says about newborns, but I swear it's true: she is miraculous. The very fact of her being seems incredible, although I've watched her grow since she was conceived.
She is perfect in every way.
It's cliche I never thought I'd use, because before I met Harper, I didn't quite realise what it meant.
She isn't just perfect, though. She's also absurdly lucky. She has - and I admit, I might be a bit biased on this point - the world's most gorgeous mum.
And, for what it's worth, she has me, too.
This week, my best friend gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl.
Her life has changed irrevocably. I have not been left behind.
She is still my friend, but she has another really important job to do. I understand.
I hope I can help where I can.
She probably experienced some of these thing you're not told about giving birth. Post continues after video...