My Best Friend's


My Best Friend's

Rachel and Emily are good friends. They used to hang out all the time in couples. Rachel and her partner Thu, and Emily and her husband Todd.

From left: Thu, Emily, Rachel, Todd

From left: Thu, Emily, Rachel, Todd

They’d talk about all kinds of things … but never really about whether either couple wanted to have a baby someday. And then it happened. Emily was the first of their friends to get pregnant. She had a son named Malcolm.


Both Rachel and Emily were worried about what Malcolm would mean for their friendship. And if you’ve ever been on either side of this—the friend who has a kid, or the friend who doesn’t—you get why they were scared. Babies often mean the demise of a friendship.

Rachel’s not really a baby person. She’s way more into dogs. But she and her partner Thu hatched a plan to keep their friendship with Emily and Todd going strong. (Hint below.)


Rachel and Thu are not just life partners; they’re bandmates, too. They have a duo called The Singer and The Songwriter. Aren’t they the best?


More and more of Rachel and Thu’s friends are becoming parents, and while they’re pretty sure they never want kids, each new baby has made them wonder what’s next for them. Without kids, there are lots of paths they could take.


They recently decided to do something really bold; they’ve quit their jobs and struck out on the road, touring as full-time musicians indefinitely.

But even from thousands of miles away, they’ve managed to stay close with Emily’s family. Tune in to hear how. (Another hint below.)

Rachel saying goodbye to Malcolm

Rachel saying goodbye to Malcolm

Malcolm's otter "Little Lady"

Malcolm’s otter “Little Lady”

Songs from this episode
If you liked the music in this episode, you can find the albums at Rachel and Thu’s website. Here are the tracks we played in the show:

How have YOU stayed friends with your pals who had kids (or didn’t)?
It’s not easy! Share your tricks, down below.

The Singer and The Songwriter photos by Devin Schiro.

Our sponsors for this episode are Amazon Kindle, ThirdloveATT Digital Life, and Age of Learning – ABCmouse.com. Use the promo codes at checkout for a special discount.

32 thoughts on “EPISODE #84: My Best Friend’s Baby

  1. When I got pregnant and had my daughter, I made a conscious effort NOT to begin every conversation with my friends with an update about my child and what was going on with her. I love her but I hated how I would go to the office and some of my colleagues’ small talk was taken over by discussion of what their child did the previous weekend or how tired they were because the baby was up etc, etc. This seemed me to be more of monologue with our colleagues/friends who didn’t have children than actual conversation. I also didn’t want my friends to think of me as a mother first rather than a woman, a friend, someone with whom they could complain about the boss, etc.

    A few years later a friend, who at that point had gone on to have a child, said she always appreciated that I didn’t talk about my daughter all the time and that it kept her from feeling like we had this divide between us. That made me feel good, and while when we get together we do share about the latest things going on with our children and in our lives as parents, we equally share about other areas of our lives.

  2. What an AMAZING episode! I’m 33, partnered and choosing to live the child-free life. I feel like Rachel captured my feelings exactly; even though you are strong in knowing you don’t want kids, there’s still this part of you that wishes you did. I feel like my mom friends are always judging me behind my back and will always think they are living a more fulfilled life than I am. I’m working to let that go. Thank you SO much for sharing your story and your music!

  3. I have been listening to Malcolm’s lullaby on loop. It is so perfect. :) Can’t wait to play it for my 20-mo-old.

  4. I’m 45 and my husband and I chose to not have children very early on. About half of my friends have children, and the only time this has caused the loss of a relationship is when we weren’t very close to begin with. My first friend who had a baby– that baby just finished 8th grade!– was very exciting. My husband and I drove an hour to the hospital as soon as she came and have been a part of her life ever since. I’m happy to talk to my friends about their children. I’ve read a lot of books on pregnancy, child development, and parenting and I think these are interesting topics to discuss. I know that my new mom friends are in shock and they need to talk about it, and I like to talk about what they are going through. I know that I am unusual in my interest in child-rearing and parenting techniques when I am not a parent, but I consider it just another facet of life that I want to know about.

    Maintaining a relationship with parents means that you often have to be the one to show up, come over, and be flexible. Child-rearing is just a stage in life, and I want to have relationships with my friends through every stage.

  5. I’m actually the ONLY one of my friends to have kids. Even though we’re all 40, one doesn’t want kids and two are single. (And don’t really want them anyway.) My childless friends give me a break from the parenting grind and help keep me connected with the real world. We have a Facebook message and group where we message each other all day long. They usually get together 2-3 times a month, and I’m able to make it a few time a year. I find it harder to maintain relationships with o ther moms because we all have conflicting schedules.

  6. OMG! I have a one year old daughter and literally walked through the park in London crying to this podcast. Crying in a happy and emotional way – it was so beautifully candid and honest and captured so well what so many of us young women are going through with old and new friends during pregnancy/birth and with a small baby.
    I’m more of a Rachel in Emily’s situation – if that makes sense. I was living in east Africa when I got pregnant (to my long term partner based in London!) and was living with a good friend who is almost 8 years older than me and had just found out she is reproductively challenged and cannot most likely have children. When I relayed this podcast to her yesterday (she now ALSO lives in London!) we laughed and talked through how we both felt going through this crazy journey of a major life change in our friendship, and how similar and how different our stories are to Rachel and Emily. Love you girls – you inspired us all the way over the Atlantic to talk through all the same difficult feelings we had about this little person that joined our world & we just think your show is ACE!

  7. I REALLY enjoyed this episode because I’ve been thinking and writing about how important and hard it is to maintain friendships between childfree women and moms. I was childfree until I was 38 and I don’t feel like I was a very good friend to my mom friends–I definitely felt as if they were abandoning me, and I shared Rachel’s feelings of wanting to want to have kids. I eventually gave in and had a kid (and I’m glad I did) and it definitely made me closer with my mom friends. I have to work harder to hold onto my friends who are not moms.

    I was so conflicted about having kids before I did that I launched a website with a friend called mothershould.com, “where being on the fence about motherhood makes sense.” If you like this podcast, you’ll probably like our site! We’re always looking for new perspectives to share if you want to write for us.

  8. Hi! I just listened to episode #84, My Best Friend’s Baby. Like Rachel, I too, am a musician, who’s friends all have babies.

    Different from Rachel, I WANT to have a child, but I face a few dilemmas. (I pitched my story, but wanted to share it here, too.)

    I am a full-time self-employed cellist who freelances and teaches private cello lessons from home in Toronto.

    I also live with a mental illness: type I bipolar disorder. (Check it out on Wikipedia.) I take daily medication, and have to carefully monitor my stress and sleep.
    I share my experience and wellness tips on my blog, Sound Mind.

    My friends all have kids (even second and third kids) or thinking about having kids. My husband just finished a Ph.D in music composition, and is looking for work. I am currently the primary breadwinner.

    Different from Rachel, I am a musician who WANTS to have a baby. I have always pictured myself as a mother, and often play that role as a patient and passionate educator with my cello students. I know I could give my child a loving home and enriching life full of music.

    I envy Rachel in a way, because I believe my life could be a whole lot easier if I did NOT wish to have a child: I could simply focus on my health and career, and that would be that!

    My friends with kids are encouraging, telling me the timing is perfect, or there is no perfect time. That I have great support, and that I would be a wonderful mother.

    My husband and I are considering trying for a baby in September.

    This is not a simple decision.

    There are many factors I have to weigh:

    1) I manage a mental illness.

    While I am completely stable on medication, if I were to go through pregnancy, my medications will have to change. Pregnancy and childbirth can be emotional and bodily traumatic, and could affect my mental wellness. Women with bipolar disorder are twice as likely to develop post-partum psychosis.

    Could I handle the lack of sleep with my newborn? I sleep up to 11 hours per night because of my medication, and as part of my treatment.

    Should a woman with a mental illness even HAVE a child?

    There is about a 9% chance that my child could have bipolar disorder, but environment also plays a huge role.

    Although I have tremendous support, if I were to become unwell, I have to consider the affect on my husband and child.

    2) I am self-employed, and I am my own business.

    Like other musicians, I have no maternity leave or benefits, and will be saving to fund my own. While you can’t plan everything, a June birth would be ideal, so I don’t lose as much income and can take the summer off to adjust to my newborn.

    While I have dreams of being able to teach cello lessons a week after birth with my newborn in a basket at my feet or at my breast, (like my mother, who taught saxophone from home 3 days after my brother was born), there is no knowing what kind of baby I will have.

    I might have to take more time off work if I am unable to work at home with a difficult baby. This could mean potentially losing long-term clients.
    Would I loose future gigs from being a mother? People can be reluctant to hire you if they think you are too busy with your baby.

    Would motherhood mean the end of my career? Would I ever be able to practice and play concerts again? Would motherhood mean the end of my artistic development? Would I be overrun with guilt if I choose to keep working?

    Would my income as a musician be enough to support my family, if my husband doesn’t find secure work for a long time?

    3) I also have PCOS: polycystic ovarian syndrome.

    I was an egg donor for two couples in my early 20’s (that did not result in children born) and it was discovered that I have PCOS.

    If I am not ovulating regularly, pregnancy could be difficult to achieve, meaning dreams of a June birth could be thrown out the window.
    That said, I have time: time for it to not work.

    4) Why should one have children?

    Who would I be doing this for? Is it ethical? Is it selfish?

    I am researching the ethics of procreation, reading a book by Queen’s University philosophy professor, Dr. Christine Overall: Why Have Children?

    Wish it was as simple as wanting to remain child-free!

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