Aside from the struggle of adjusting to having a mini human to take care of, one of the most common worries for new moms is their old friends.
After giving birth, we mommies often suffer from ‘baby brain’; all we can think about is our baby. Which is fine until our friends pop in to see the newborn, and we can think of nothing, to say, apart from how cute our little one is.
I experienced this myself when by first baby was just two weeks old. My group of post-pregnancy girlfriends popped over to see the little one and the only thoughts I had were about the baby. While the girls chatted about all the things I used to love, I could only think of my newborn.
I suddenly felt like my friends and I, had no common ground, which was ridiculous bearing in mind we had been friends for years. However, these types of feelings are far more common than you would think.
Why do we lose friends post-pregnancy?
It’s not something that I ever considered before having my little one. But once I had given birth, it seemed that I had nothing in common with my old friends. A surprising number of new moms feel this way too, especially those who are the first in their friendship group to start a family.
While your friends are still the same people they always were, once you have a child you change. It might be hard to hear, but once you become a mother you see the world differently. The things that were important to you before, no longer seem as significant. All that matters is that your baby is happy and healthy.
Of course, one of the main reasons we lose friends post-pregnancy is due to scheduling changes. We are no longer available for dinners. Instead, we are free at lunch while the little one is at nursery or with the childminder. We can’t hop in a cab and go for a spur-of-the-moment dinner unless we can get a sitter, which at short notice is near to impossible.
How can we keep those friendships?
While at first I felt like I had nothing to talk about with my old friends, I then realized that they didn’t care. They were just happy to see my little one and see how I was doing, and because of that, we are still good friends today. However, not all new moms are as lucky as I was. Most friendships require a lot of care and nurturing to stay on track.
To keep your friendship strong, you need to be willing to put in the effort. Yes, you have a new baby to care for, but you can still spend time with your friends. Even if you can’t make it to dinner or drinks, there’s no reason you can’t send a quick text or give them a call.
Sending a text only takes a few seconds, and lets your friend know that even though a lot has changed, you still care about them. Just something simple like, ‘Hope you are doing okay?’ or ‘How are things with you?’, is all it takes.
If you have a little longer, why not send your friend a card or letter in the post? Yeah, email would be quicker, but a handwritten card or note is much more personal.
If your friends are always nagging you to join them for dinner, but you aren’t ready to leave the baby yet, meet them for a quick lunch instead. Pop to a restaurant near where they work, and meet them there for a coffee and a bite to eat during their lunch break.
If you can’t get a sitter for the little one, but really want to spend some quality time with the girls, why not invite them over for a girls night? Yes, you will need to be mindful of the noise level, but you can still have fun.
Pick up a couple of DVDs, a bottle of wine, and a tub or two of Ben and Jerry's. Treat your closest girlfriends to a night in at yours, and spend the evening chatting and having a laugh.
If you find yourself at a lose end while your partner is out with the baby, make sure to use that time to see your friends. Arrange to meet up for a quick coffee, a jog in the park or a trip to your favorite clothes store. You might only have half an hour to spare, but your friends will appreciate any effort you put in.
Make the time with your friends count
Once you have had a baby, the free time you have will be limited. So any time that you have to spend with your friends is precious.
Before going out set a limit on how long you will talk about baby stuff for. Your friends will probably ask to hear everything that’s happened since they last saw the baby, but that doesn’t mean they want to know every last detail.
If your friend asks to see photos of the little one, limit yourself to five pictures, then put your phone away. When you have a new baby to care for and limited time, any time you have with your friends should be cherished.
Even if you are still suffering from ‘baby brain’, try to switch off from mommy mode and think about what you used to talk about. Ask your friends what’s happened in their lives recently, how work’s going, and whether there is a guy on the scene.
Keeping your friendship healthy takes work, just like any good relationship. Post-pregnancy you will have a lot of stress to deal with, from baby issues and body worries to juggling friends and being a mom. But putting in the effort with your friends is worth the time, especially if you value their friendship. Make sure that even if you can’t see your friends as much as you would like, that you keep in contact via text, phone or Facetime.