Losing friends when you become a mother
I will never forget the reaction of one of my best friends, when I told her I was pregnant. She looked at me in silence, for minutes, full of disbelieve. Her eyes were big, her mouth wide open and I was waiting. Waiting for a reaction. Any reaction but this one. It was the definition of uncomfortable.
Afterwards I was dumbfounded and disappointed. I was trying to place her reaction and because I knew her very well, I thought I understood why this was all she could give me. So, I let it go.
Our friendship certainly is strong enough, right?
During my pregnancy, I tried to stay involved in her life and tried to include her in what was going on in mine. But because I was nauseous for nine months, slept horribly and worked full time, I hardly had any energy left to be the friend she was used to. I assumed she would get it. That she would realize this was “a phase”. Our friendship certainly was strong enough, right?
When Aya was born, she came to visit in the first week. After that, radio silence for almost three months. I felt so abandoned. Here I was, in the middle of the biggest, most impressive, exhausting, beautiful, painful, scary and important event of my life. And my best friend, with whom I shared Everything, for years, was nowhere to be found.
Too much Baby Stuff
She came to visit once more and after that, months of hearing nothing. I almost had to beg to get her to set up a date and it took a thousand questions before I finally got my answer as to why she didn’t want to meet up. It sounded like a big fat lie. Months later, when Aya was seven months, the truth finally came out: there was too much baby stuff. All I wanted to talk about was babies and breastfeeding and babypoop and babysleep and birth and more babies. She felt like her problems, her life, had become insignificant, next to The Baby Thing.
So, how are you?
I was flabbergasted. Of course I was talking about babies a lot! Hello! I had just carried one in my belly for nine months, then pushed her out of my vagina and was now, for the first time in my life, a mom. That kind of leaves an impression. But, I was also the mom that – with painful sutures, leaking boobs, sleepless nights and first time mommy fears – still asked all of her new born visitors: “and, how are you?” So, her remark hurt me and also made me angry. I felt like I didn’t get a chance. I realized she had given up the moment I told her I was pregnant.
After I talked about her – let’s call it “feedback” - with other friends I just felt sad, because they didn’t relate to her remarks and that made me realize there might be more to the story.
Motherhood and Friendships
We don’t see each other anymore. And that still hurts, two years later. But it has also made me even more grateful for the friends that arestill here. The friend that came to visit every week in the first months, to celebrate every tiny little thing Aya did. The friend that was super scared to hold babies, but held Aya anyway and is one of the few people I trust to babysit. The friend Aya is so in love with that, every time we walk past her house, she starts to clap and cheer. And the fellow mama-friends, who lovetalking about sleeping, pooping, breastfeeding, weaning and daycare for hours and hours.
It’s part of the deal
Those same mama-friends tell me it’s part of the deal: some friendships can survive motherhood. Other friends cannot or do not want to cope with the changes that come with a new baby. The reasons are divers. Becoming a mom was my biggest dream. For some it is too and for others it is not, at all. I completely understand that people that don’t want babies or are afraid this isn’t in the stars for them or know this isn’t a possibility, can find it hard or boring or exhausting to have mom friends. To be honest, I’m pretty sure I would find it extremely hard to be confronted with baby stuff I wasn’t able to have a baby, because motherhood defines me. The fact that I try to understand, doesn’t make it less painful though. I still lost a friend.