‘My honest advice to Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall after my best friends had babies without me’
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When Little Mix stars Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock both announced their pregnancies within a week of each other, my first thought was, ‘ah, that’s cute’. My second thought was, ‘what about the tour?’ And my third thought was, ‘I hope Jade Thirlwall doesn’t feel left out’.
For the first time in my life, I felt like I had something in common with a widely successful pop star, and it certainly wasn’t an impeccable singing voice (anybody who’s heard me in the shower can vouch for that…)
Many of my best friends from school have children or are currently pregnant. In fact, the day that Perrie announced her pregnancy, a picture came through to my girls’ group chat announcing the safe arrival of my pal Nicolle’s second adorable child.
In November last year I was enjoying a bottomless brunch with one of my closest friends Indea, toasting to my 27th birthday with no real responsibilities (well, she had a husband, a mortgage and dog – and I had none of those things), but by the time I hit 28 she’ll be a mum. Life really does come at you fast.
Growing up we spent sleepovers discussing our desire for boob jobs, sharing who are ‘top five’ were (this involved picking the five most fanciable boys in our year – sorry, I’m still sworn to secrecy) and talking about our future weddings and baby besities. What those pre-teen minds never considered was that we would be doing it at completely different times.
In previous generations, people tended to hit the same milestones at similar ages. Now we have more choice, especially us women, which is a wonderful thing but can make navigating friendships more difficult.
I decided to move away to Cardiff for university and later fulfilled a huge dream by living in London. My friend Indea supported me every step of the way, loyally travelling on the train from Birmingham to wherever I was after a long day of hairdressing. She’d bring Super Noodles and wine as she knew I often spent my student loan or intern pay in Topshop. I now bring her non-alcoholic beverages, baby clothes and teeth whitening strips – although who knew pregnant people aren’t allowed the latter? Certainly not me.
I recently attended a baby shower with all the people I once sat in maths class with. We were playing ‘beer belly or bump’ with a series of photos while they discussed upcoming school choices for their children and I silently nursed a hangover.
I sometimes feel as if I’m living a double life; pretending to be an adult around my more settled friends, and then running off to make more frivolous, ridiculous decisions.
At my lowest moments, I feel like my life is pointless compared to theirs. I worry that talking about a potential date or my struggle to book a table for Friday night drinks sounds trivial to my friends while they grow actual human beings inside of them. But perhaps they feel the same when all they want to do is discuss baby matters. I hope not.
If I was going to give any advice to the Little Mix stars (because I’m sure they want to hear it from me) it’s to always take joy in each other’s choices.
And it’s important to remember that although their lives may look different from the outside, they are still the same friends they’ve always been.
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