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.
But there are ways of keeping your friends, by keeping a few pointers in mind…
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!
How to Keep Your Pre Baby Friends Post Baby
I’ve done these things too…but unfortunately have lost a few people in my life as well. I worked for 16 years out of college too (am an older first time mom) and it is also a hard adjustment to lose work friends who you weren’t necessary best buddies with, but people that shared in a lot of your life for a long time. So between these two things, I tend to get down a bit over things.
I thought people would be happy for me that finally I got married at the age of 37 and got pregnant shortly after…but something must have gone wrong and no amount of my reaching out will help…my calls/emails just go ignored.
I take it harder than most I suppose…I internalize it all and it makes me feel very sad.
Sorry, but I followed all of these tips and more and my friends still ran away in droves. I am NOT a mom who spends all the time talking about her little bundle of joy, I made time available to go out with them, initiated all the contact, only talked about them, their lives, and no baby, and STILL lost the majority of my friends.
If you do all these things and they still aren’t interested in trying, I think it shows how little your friendship probably meant to them. It hurt me a lot at first but those are just the facts. Apparently I had pretty crappy immature friends.
.-= the GrumblesÂ´s last blog ..my favorite time these days =-.
Hi Luschka, not checked in on your blog for a while so thought I’d come have a look. I think, since having a baby, that I can count on both hands my real friends. The numbers totally dwindled, and even though I make the effort to stay in touch, some people just can’t be bothered now because I’m not available at the times that suit them, and lots of friends haven’t even come to see Bombi yet, so I’ve just cut them all loose. I suppose if they ever have kids one day, then maybe we’ll renew the friendship, but for now, it’s done and dusted!
.-= LorraineÂ´s last blog ..Bombi is ‘The King’ =-.
@Lorraine, Thanks for stopping by again Lorraine. I agree – if people can’t be bothered enough to see one of the biggest developments in your life, then they’re not worth the effort. Maybe they will come ‘back’ one day though, as you say. We all go through ebbs and flows, don’t we?
Don’t worry, it will pan out. It can be a case of you and your friends finding your feet. You will also work out who your true friends are.
@sharon, Absolutely! I’ve actually been really surprised by who has really stepped forward. It’s been very special! Thanks for stopping by!
Christa – give it time. It may be that they just feel you are probably too busy and don’t want to impose. I know as a kid-free gal I sometimes think, oh, I shouldn’t call, they’ll be busy… you may find that is the case. Sometimes if you don’t have kids yourself you actually overcompensate too far in the other direction…
.-= ThriftygalÂ´s last blog ..20% off at Catwalk to Closet =-.
@Thriftygal, Very good point! It’s really hard being the only one in your group to have a baby though, because you end up as the testing ground, and that can be tough. Thanks for the encouragement!
This is hard for me, but in some cases, I feel like the rift that developed isn’t my fault. I haven’t had that much trouble staying in touch with my kid-free peeps. In some cases, we even talk more! But in some cases where I have lost touch, I feel like the kid-free friends started avoiding me immediately after the baby was born because they assumed that I’d never talk about anything except for poop and drool. Which isn’t true, but they never gave me the chance to prove myself.
.-= ChristaÂ´s last blog ..Found Photo: Pregnant In Madrid =-.
@Christa, I totally understand what you are saying. We have one or two friends like that too – and it is sad, but hopefully in time you can reach out to them again. And if they’ve never bothered, then I say treasure the good memories and move on! Good luck!
great tips! My best friend did / does a great job of all those, which has led to our families being very close even though my family consists of DH and me. Now that her daughters are older we get to be the fun aunt and uncle 🙂
.-= Wendy (The Local Cook)Â´s last blog ..Fitness Friday: Kale Chips =-.
@Wendy (The Local Cook), That’s great news, and yes, as a mom, having that unharassed ‘favourite aunt and uncle’ around is awesome! good on you for keeping the friendship going too!
INteresting post – I’m pretty lucky in that I still have most of my friends now they are parents, but it does take more work than before, and more understanding – you simply have to be willing to make more allowances for people who have kids. The good thing is, though, if you hang in there, when the kids are a bit older, the balance shifts and things get a bit more “normal”. I think you have to appreciate that they have priorities you don’t, but they have to understand the same applies – with a little adjustment on both sides you can actually enjoy the best of both worlds, and being a non-parent you can get some of the joy of children with almost none of the hassle!
.-= ThriftygalÂ´s last blog ..20% off at Catwalk to Closet =-.
@Thriftygal, I think you’ve hit on a key point there – it takes more understanding, on both sides. One of the nicest things for me is a friend who stills invites me to things just as she always has, and keeps doing so even if I can’t make it! That makes me feel like I’m still normal. It’s great!