There’s this common, for lack of better word, thing that moms, particularly first time moms like myself, find themselves mourning after the birth of their first child. Friendships. There are countless articles and social media posts about this very topic including this fantastic piece from fellow Tribe blogger, Jessie Collins. We go through our pregnancy convincing ourselves that we will be different, our friends will be different, we will make it, and most of the time life just doesn’t play out that way.
It happened to me. My expectations were high, and I was convinced that even though it would take me a few months, I would be back to my old social life because babies are portable…right? But the truth is that my friends, while supportive in the beginning bringing meals and holding my newborn, didn’t stick around for long. Lots of assumptions, like them assuming I wouldn’t just arrange a sitter so I could go for a long bike ride with them, or me assuming that they wouldn’t want to hang out with someone with a baby, created a distance between us that truthfully may never be bridged.
Losing friendships in this stage of life is normal and it happens to most of us as we transition into parenthood and gravitate toward others with kids, but something that has been on my mind as of late is how little credit we give to the ones who decide to stay. I have those friends, too. The ones who still call and text. The ones who come to my side of town to make a meet up easier. The ones who love my daughter tremendously and invite her to lunch before they invite me. The ones who send her a surprise, just because gifts.
My friend, Laura, doesn’t see kids in her future. It’s not something she and her husband want, and I fully and completely support that (and on days when my daughter is in tantrum mode, I also feel that way). It’s very easy to assume that someone like Laura would loathe hanging out with children, but nothing could be further from the truth. In the 21 months of my daughter’s life, she has brought lunch to us, met us for dinner at what I call “Luby’s time” so E can still get to bed early, taken her on adventures downtown while I got my nails done, met us for story time, purchased the most thoughtful and delightful books for her, and she has loved me endlessly even though I flake on her more than half of the time. She supports me, she encourages me toward my goals, she understands my life right now and reminds me it’s not forever, and I have never felt disappointment or shame from her. We laugh about the days before I had my daughter when we drank champagne and won alter-ego contests and pranced around town on our bikes at night, and it is all so bittersweet. I long for time like that with her, but am so grateful for this sweet stage we are in now. I have visions of prom dress shopping and taking E to look for colleges and wedding dress hunts with Aunt Trudy, as we call her, in tow. We could not be luckier.
Moms and moms to be, if you have a Laura in your life, hold on to her tightly. It’s a true and real friendship that is to be treasured. And to each of my friends who have made the conscious choice to seek out my friendship as I figure out this new phase, I am thankful beyond words.