One of the primary difficulties in adjusting to life post baby is the apparent chasm that forms between the new mom and her old friends. I myself felt this the first time my lovely group of friends descended on us post birth. In two weeks, it seemed as if I had lost any ability to think of anything other than my baby and I felt that there was suddenly no common ground.
There are obvious reasons for the loss of friends, post baby. Your schedules change. You’re free for lunches, not dinners, the ‘en-route home’ telephone time is now bath time, noisy restaurants or pre dinner drinks don’t suit a young child and theatres, cinemas, clubs and concerts are simply often not pushchair or carseat friendly. It is so easy to let time pass, and valuable friendships fade away.
In complete contrast to what I’ve just said though, there may be friends that you will lose. Sometimes because you weren’t that close to start with and sometimes for reasons you just don’t know. Shortly after Ameli was born I had a friend remove me from Facebook with a message saying that after her recent 26th miscarriage she was giving up on having children, and quite frankly, it just hurt her too much. We don’t always know people’s reasons, but need to respect them anyway. And sometimes friendships fade, but life constantly changes and friendship can be picked up again. If you lose touch completely you can do a people search to find old friends and see if you can reconnect.
So, how do you keep those girl (and guy) friends?
- All relationships need the little touches. A phone call, quick email, midnight text. I was thinking of you. Hope you’re okay. See you soon? It takes seconds and lets your friend know you’re still around.
- If you have a little more time, a phone call or a card in the mail will be a lovely surprise
- Take yourself and your baby to a coffee shop or restaurant near your friend’s workplace so they can join you for a quick lunch if you are unable to make dinner and drinks
- If you can leave the baby with a trusted person, like your partner, do so for an hour or two, and ask your friends to come to a venue near you so you can be close to home if you need to pop back for anything.
When you do have time with your friends, make it count!
- They will ask you how things are with baby. Answer. But answer specifically. I know how exciting the weird colour pooh, the melting smile, the drool, first tooth, crawling and mess of weaning are. But remember how you felt about those things before you had your little ball of goo.
- When you are seeing your friends together, choose a code word or action or similar with your partner that you can keep each other in check when the baby talk’ is getting too much.
- Before you go out, set yourself a time limit of how long you will talk about baby stuff’ before you try to shift the focus of the conversation.
- On your way to meeting your friends, temporarily switch off the mommy part of your brain, and try to remember the things you used to talk about, think about what’s happening in the news, or your ex workplace, or your mutual friends. Think about the common interests that made you friends in the first place. This all sounds a bit obvious, but baby brain makes things blur a bit sometimes!
- Finally, a good rule of thumb is for every question that is asked to you, you should ask a question about your friend’s life and circumstances
Friendships take work, and juggling life post baby, with all your new post baby friends and your pre baby friends can be tough. For the most part they’ll want to share in this awesome time with you, but remember that your old friends were there first, so treat them special and they’ll still be there for years to come.
How have you found the adjustment? And what do you do to keep in touch with your pre baby friends?
P.S. Now I love seeing my friends and don’t feel that chasm anymore! I love you my lovely friends, if you happen to be reading this!