Big Mouth for Mummy: How having a baby changes your friendships
Maybe it says something not very nice about my character, but all my adult life, I seem to go through a period every few years where I 'shed' someone. I prefer to think of it as moving on and moving forward in my relationships. As we grow and change, sometimes the people in your life grow and change away from you.
On reflection, I realise that having a baby has changed many of my relationships – not just the ones you'd expect – with my husband, my parents, my sister – but also my friendships. I guess I've been so close to the whole issue I've been pretty blind to how my becoming a mum has affected the lives of the others in my life. Clearly, I've been too absorbed by how much my own life has morphed. No change there then!
This person, who was and still is very dear to me, and I had a difference of opinion about something very fundamental about our ideas of friendship. I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty about what was said and by whom as that would be in poor taste, and disrespectful to the friendship that we have shared in the past.
Suffice to say that I've come to the conclusion that we now fail to understand – to "get" each other – anymore. And I believe that is because I am now a mother and I have changed. I am no longer the good time girl, up for anything, ready for spontaneous fun, poised to jump into the next silly adventure. I wish I was, but maybe I'm no fun anymore!
I mean, who wants to hang around with a giant bore who doesn't even have time to straighten her hair anymore, who goes on and on about her precious first born's bowel movements, eating and sleeping habits and oh-so-cute attempts at saying the word, "dog"? No one else but other mummies, maybe?
OK, enough of the self pity – we have grown apart, we have different interests, different priorities. I can accept that, it just makes me very sad.
On the positive side, my relationship with my best friend, though strained at times – mainly because we now live in different countries – has become stronger. We work hard to keep our relationship solid and supportive, and we also want to – she is always the first person apart from P that I want to share things with when they happen.
My relationships with friends who already had their own children by the time I did have also experienced a renaissance – I love their company, their wise advice and I now understand what they have been going through.
I'm making new pals, too, finally, as a result of moving somewhere new again and I'm enjoying that, but it takes a special kind of work, effort and time to build a friendship. And to keep and nurture an existing one.
Despite all of this, the inevitability of losing people in your life hurts, whether it's about life changes, or differences of opinion. I guess I'll just never learn to expect it when it happens, and it guts me utterly every time.
How did your friendships change when you had a baby? Did you lose any friends?