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Your friend just had a baby and she’s a new mom.
Now it seems like she doesn’t seem to take your problems seriously anymore. You feel like she thinks your problems aren’t as important because you don’t have kids.
You feel a distance between you that wasn’t there before. You’re worried that your friendship is over or at least changed forever and you are beyond bummed about it.
I can offer the new mommy’s perspective if you want to understand her – which is pretty crucial if you want her to understand you.
Let me give you an insider’s peak under the rosy exterior of new motherhood…
She remembers being single. She already kind of knows what you’re going through. Her life has now changed in ways she (and you) could never have imagined.
She cannot eat a meal when it is hot.
She can no longer shower or bathe when she wants to or as frequently as she is used to.
She is likely severely sleep deprived, which is literally a form of torture in many countries. When she DOES get to bed, she no longer sleeps when she would like or as long as she would like. She is usually violently awakened from sleep by someone who DOES NOT CARE about her needs AT ALL. This is jarring no matter how cute this someone is and how much she loves them.
It now takes her 20 minutes just to leave the house.
Her body does not feel or look like the body she remembers and she is afraid it NEVER WILL AGAIN.
She may have postpartum depression and not realize it.
Her marriage is under INCREDIBLE strain while they both adjust to being parents (many people divorce during this time because of things that were wrong that they thought a baby would fix – guess what, it doesn’t! Just makes the problems come to the surface).
She is under tremendous pressure to pretend it is easy so that no one will say things like, “But didn’t you WANT to become a mother?” or “Just sleep when the baby sleeps” or “How can you be sad/tired/frustrated/angry when you have such an adorable, healthy baby – don’t you know people would kill to be a mother?”.
If you are at all jealous of her being a mommy, she feels your jealousy and wants to tell you how hard it is, but she knows you won’t really believe it or listen to her because you want a child of your own so strongly.
Although she loves her child passionately and would gladly sacrifice her life for it if necessary, she sometimes misses the way her life was before. But she must NEVER say so or everyone will think something is wrong with her mentally.
No one could possibly have prepared her for how hard it was going to be – maybe they tried and she didn’t listen because she was a modern, educated woman who was going to do everything right (!).
There’s really no way that you can reasonably be expected to relate at all to what she’s going through at the moment and so she doesn’t have much patience for relating to what you’re going through. Her tank is too low and the gap between who she is now and who she used to be (the person you know) is too big. She may still be figuring it all out.
Rather than trying to get her to listen to what’s going on in your life when she’s exhausted – if you really love her, please don’t give her more work to do on top of a huge life change. Instead, HANG OUT WITH YOUR SINGLE FRIENDS WITHOUT KIDS.
Look to THEM right now to fill your needs. Your new mommy friend is busy taking care of someone else’s needs right now. So busy, in fact, that she does not even have the time to take care of her OWN needs, let alone a friend’s needs.
Every once in a while, check in with your new mama friend to let her know you still care about her. Give her time (even years) to adjust to being a mother. Save a space for her emotionally, but don’t ask for much from her for now. She just can’t do it and from where you are looking it’s impossible for you to see that you are asking too much. You don’t mean to. You just want things the way they were. But it’s too much for her right now.
She can’t give you as much time and attention and focus when she’s probably not even having sex with her own husband regularly anymore. If you give her some time and understanding, text her to check in and let her know you love her and you’re thinking of her, don’t make demands on her time and attention for a while – SHE WILL COME AROUND.
Don’t insist on improving or upgrading or modifying the friendship right now – she has too much on her plate for that. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you. She just loves somebody else more right now. She’ll find room for you again in her life when she adjusts, but don’t demand it or get petulant or insist on it.
The kindest, most loving thing you can do is to save her a space, send her love and wait it out. Talk to your friends without kids about what’s going on in your life – have those long, luxuriously wonderful and indulgent talks you can have with the other people in your life who love you, talks that will be much harder to find time for after motherhood.
Eat your fill of delicious foods while they’re still warm and linger over your dessert.
Take long, uninterrupted bubble baths in warm silky water. Slip on something that makes you feel sexy, just because you can.
Sleep deeply and peacefully and wake up as late as you can on the weekends.
And trust that the bond you have with your friend is strong enough to last through this phase in your friendship.
You’ll be glad you did when you have your kids and this particular friend will be there to help YOU through those first few rough months/years of motherhood.