Friendships After Pregnancy
Do They Even Exist? The answer is “yes.”
“If you want to know who your real friends are, have a baby.” This is what happens to friendships after pregnancy.
I hear this comment a lot. I have never said this myself, but I have seen other people make the comment on social media. However, I want to take the time to address it. I have had this discussion briefly with other mothers to get their opinion. My opinion is this: I do not totally agree with the comment. Apparently, women who get pregnant and have a child lose their friends in the process. They stop inviting mamas to go out, they do not text or call to check up on the mom or their baby, they do not show up to the baby shower, etc. I can only speak from the experience of a new mother, but allow me to explain why I disagree. And if you think I’m wrong, then this would be a good time to reevaluate a few friendships.
I have always been the type of person that does not like to be around people for long periods of time. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my friends! They are great women, who are funny, caring, and willing to go the extra mile for me IF I ever ask them to. Unfortunately, I’m sort of an introvert. Spending time with people is exhausting. Going places is exhausting, and being in groups of more than 3 people is just downright draining.
So, I do not feel the least bit guilty when I always say “no” to hanging out with a friend. Being pregnant was my best excuse to be lazy! I’m the pregnant one! I get to decide if I want to run around with a gang of folks or not! Also, going anywhere “fun” is not really fun when you’re pregnant. Your hormones are all over the place, and exhaustion is a familiar friend. After Jaxon arrived, I was recovering and adjusting to life as a new mom, then it was straight back to working full-time. Doing anything in my free time that doesn’t involve my child, my mom, or the person I had my child with, is not always desirable.
If you really crave girl-time while you’re pregnant or have children, then you need to make the first move. While I was on maternity leave, I was stuck in the house for four weeks until a group of my friends came home to visit for Christmas. I IMMEDIATELY jumped at the opportunity to get dressed up and go have dinner and drinks. See what I did there? I invited myself. Now, next time they visit, they will invite me, and I will decide if I want to go. If you feel like your friends are not inviting you places because you have a child, INVITE YOURSELF. More times than not, they might think you have your hands full. Because… YOU DO! Also, suggest going somewhere that won’t suck the life out of you. Good friends will invite you somewhere that involves a lot of food, and plenty of places to sit and relax.
A lot of women complain about their friends not texting or calling to check up on them when they are pregnant or have children. Let me be the first to admit that I am the world’s worst text-er. We are all bad at something, and I am bad at replying to people. I did not even tell my friends I gave birth until the next day. Even then, I was dreading sending out the messages because I knew I’d get a ton of questions, and I would have to reply to them all. But, because they were my friends, they wanted to know how we were doing, and all of the little details. Yes, I was tired, but I also wanted to let them know that all was well. It was worth the extra energy.
But in the grand scheme of things, I am so wrapped up in my own life, I do not take the time out to check up on my friends. We are all busy living our own lives, and most of them do not live anywhere near me. Does that make it right? No. One of my 2017 goals is to check on my friends more. One friend was bold enough to tell me that I need to do better about answering the phone when she calls. God, I love her for that! But I say all of that to say this, it is VERY hard to keep in touch with your friends when you have a lot going on in life. Do not make it seem like you’re the only one it’s happening to BECAUSE you have children.
If you think your friends are slacking on their “auntie” duties, don’t feel a certain way about it. If you take a cute picture of your child, send it to them before you post it on social media. Or, if you want, tag them on social media so it feels like you’re including them. If they care, it will prompt them to ask you how you and your children are doing. If you’re anything like me though, you’ll talk to your friends when you talk to them. No hard feelings and definitely no love lost. Now, if your friends are just downright ignoring you, even after you’ve started a conversation, then you might want to reevaluate that friendship.
Baby Showers, Gifts, and Parties
As I have mentioned before, all of my friends live in different states. When I was planning my baby shower, I took into account everyone that lived far away and noted that they may not be able to make it. When I was sending out the invitation, I actually said, “I know you probably can’t make it, but I’m sending you an invite just in case!” So to see half of the people I invited not show up did not disappoint me. Everyone that could make it, did and I am grateful for their presence. Everyone else sent their well wishes.
My grandmother is old fashioned and Southern. She told me to never go to a party without a gift. ‘Til this day, if I do not have any money for a gift, then I just have to skip the party. I feel like it’s rude. Of course, baby showers, and parties in general are not all about the gifts. But if I’m coming to celebrate, I do not want to be the only one to show up empty-handed! Take into consideration that your guests have to find something to wear, and find a gift to attend your baby shower. They might not have the means to do so.
If you are planning a party for yourself or your child, emphasize the fact that gifts are welcome, but not necessary. Also, do not enforce a dress code. It will make your guests feel more comfortable with coming. Because isn’t that the real point of the party? To celebrate? If they have no valid excuse for continuously flaking on your events, THEN you might want to reevaluate your friendship.
At the end of the day, friendship plays a huge part in all of our lives. I do not feel like I have lost any of my friends due to me having a child. If anything, I’ve expressed the need to spend more time with them with and without my son. I have hung out with my friends more than I have in the past couple of years, all because I have a child now! Realizing that not only am I a mother but that I’m still a woman who needs her girl-time. I value it more than I ever have. If you feel like you’re losing friends because you are a mother, try to make the relationship work in your favor. If not, understand that some friendships are not meant to last through the most important aspects of our life.
To all of my friends near and far, that I’ve seen just last week and that I haven’t seen in over a year, I love you! 🙂