I had a lovely lunch with a girl friend yesterday that is due with her first baby in a week and a half. Eek! I remember how that felt like it was just yesterday. The conversation turned to the topic of how relationships with friends seem to change and shift when you become pregnant and then again after you’ve had the baby. As you move into this next phase of life, it seems like some friends begin to disappear. Looking back, I know that when I was back on the other side (what I tend to call single life now – since having a baby turns out to be a way bigger shift to your lifestyle than having a significant other), I remember feeling like when my friends had kids they were the ones that drifted away from me. The weird thing is that now that I’ve shifted to the “people with kids” side, I still feel like I was the one left behind. What’s up with that?
So here’s what I’ve decided, before you have a kid, you have no idea how you should treat your friends that become pregnant and have kids – especially if most of your friends don’t have kids.
In fact, you may assume that you need to give them space and time for all the “things they need to do now”. Looking back, that’s what I did. I thought I was being nice by giving space. But now that I’ve been through the experience, I realize that I wish my friends without kids had been more assertive with me because 1) I’m tired folks, it’s hard to wrap my brain around planning things, so do me a favor and invite me to stuff – and if I could turn back time, especially when I was pregnant! Now I’ve got naps and early bedtimes to ruin my mojo 2) I felt and feel very timid about “pushing” my kid on my kidless friends. I’m worried that they won’t enjoy hanging out with us.
This was especially true when I first had Bailey. I wanted people to meet him but I was mostly incapable of dialing the phone and speaking coherently. I was pretty decent at answering questions, terrible at asking questions and mostly a little bit lonely and freaked about this newfound responsibility cradled in my arms. When I would gain the courage to think about calling someone, I would feel awkward about what to say—“Hey there, so, I had a baby…um, wanna come over and see him?”
This all could just be a symptom of my lacking social skills, but I do think that new moms often feel isolated and that they do appreciate their friend network reaching out to them early as long as we can reserve the right to say that maybe tomorrow would be better a day to meet up.
I’d love to know what others think about this topic. Is it that your friends drift away because you don’t have things in common with each other any more or is it really because we just aren’t sure how to behave around each other?
That being said, to my friends who transitioned before I did, I’m truly sorry that I lost touch with you! Although schedules can be challenging with young kids of different ages, I hope we will find opportunities to hang out more often. xoxo.
To my friends without kids, I swear we’ll start having more dinner parties, etc. but remember I can always do lunches during the week and if you like breakfast on the early side, boy are we the right family for you to hang out with! And p.s. it’s never rude to suggest dinner at our house either potluck style or takeout style 😉 please consider these rules for other friends who are pregnant or have kids as well!
Now, on to building my friends with similar-aged kids network!