DEAR ABBY: I'm in my late 20s, married and happily child-free. My best friend recently became pregnant, and I am having a hard time with it. I don't enjoy children, and it feels like I am losing my best friend. All she wants to talk about is the baby. I've tried hinting that I'll be here when she and her husband need a break from being "Mom and Dad," but she continues to talk on and on about the all-consuming baby.

I know this is a big change and a huge part of her life, but I also know she has plenty of other support for this child. I would hope she realizes that I do not care for children or wish to be around them. How can I let her know -- without offending her -- that the last thing I want to hear about are diapers and prams?

-- Child-free in Wisconsin

DEAR CHILD-FREE: I am sorry you feel so negative about the topics of babies and children, because your intolerance will eventually isolate you from friends and peers. If you voice what you are thinking, you will alienate your best friend, who is rightly thrilled to be embarking on the adventure of parenthood.

Because her talk about babies, diapers and the process she's going through affects you like nails on a chalkboard, limit the conversations and visits you have with her. Do not write her off, however, because it is possible that in time she will be reaching out to you, craving conversation that goes beyond the playpen.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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