Let’s be honest, it’s not cool to say that you haven’t got loads of friends, is it?
When you were pregnant you pictured yourself surrounded by new mums, supporting each other, lifting each other up. You had heard about the mummy and baby groups, you were determined to join them and go every week. You never doubted that life as a new mum would be hard but you were pretty confident you’d have friends in the same boat, or maybe even not but just to call up at 3am when you wondered why your baby’s poo was still green or just for somebody to talk to.
The reality for so many of us was that Google ended up being our friend, and our friendships changed, dramatically, and you didn’t end up meeting the friends you’d expected to at sensory group.
I’m not part of a cool “mum club” and only now that my son’s 18 months, I’m starting to realise that’s ok.
I’d always been a pretty sociable person right up until I found out I was pregnant in my third year of uni. I’ve always been a bit of a party girl, out most weekends, holidays, festivals, that’s the kind of thing I did pre-mum life. I guess I started to calm down a bit once I met Arlo’s dad. You know when you get into a serious relationship and Netflix and chill start to be a bit more appealing than a night out.
Saying that, it was still a massive shock to the system to go from being someone who was used to going out with friends and doing different things, to being the first one of out of any of my friends to get pregnant and then hiding my bump from people at uni. I felt so different from everybody at the time, which always led me to feel insecure and question whether I was doing the right thing.
Now I am a mum I can say that nothing prepares you for motherhood, but I still would have liked to have enjoyed my pregnancy a bit more. Balancing my studies with holding down a job while I was pregnant took it’s toll. Life changed dramatically and so did the friendships in it.
It felt like my friends were dropping like flys. I have never had loads and loads of friends, my friendship circle got smaller as I left school and got older, which I think happens to many. But I guess this is what made it harder because the friends I did have when I was pregnant I thought would be ones that I was going to keep. Keep me sane, support me, be there for me. It just didn’t turn out that way, for whatever reason, I was the loneliest I had ever been in my life while I was pregnant. I was busy with my studies, and my job, but I wasn’t busy with friends, the majoroity of my friendships didn’t survive parenthood.
I’d always tell myself that sometimes a door closes so another one can open – and if someone leaves, or if a friendship comes to an end, it’s making space for growth, for new things, new friendships. Well, it was hard for me to believe that at the time because there were no new doors being opened, the only thing that was opening more frequently as a pregnant woman was the fridge. And by the time my son came, I was so in love and busy creating a special bond with him, nothing else seemed to matter.
If like me and you found that your friendships changed dramatically while you were pregnant or since you’ve become a mum, then these things may give you a bit of clarity.
YOU change, and that’s ok
It’s normal for your mind to be filled with baby stuff, and it’s normal for your non-pregnant friend’s head to be filled with, well non-baby stuff. I think from the moment you find out your pregnant, you change. It’s not just you anymore, it’s that little baby inside of you. Your outlook changes, your interests, your hobbies (laying in the bath for four hours), it all changes and it’s hard to maintain a friendship with someone that you just can’t relate to anymore. And that’s not me saying that pregnant people can’t have friendships with non-pregnant people, of course they can- but a mutual understanding needs to take place for that friendship to work and succeed otherwise you’ll be on different pages all the time and you will probably find that you’ll drift apart.
But you are still the same person
Ok I know I just said you change but it’s important to remember that you are of course still you. You still probably like the same music, laugh at the same things, all as you did pre-mum life, and if you drop small reminders of that to your friends, but they still can’t see that then don’t feel guilty questioning whether they aren’t really friends worth having.
You want different things from life. Your friend might be about to book their round-the-world plane ticket, and you’ve just come off the phone to the solicitors securing a mortgage for your first home. Friendships can breakdown purely because the paths laid out in front of you are different. And again, that’s not to say you can’t have a friend that is travelling around the world while you’re at home with your baby, and it’s not to say you both might not ever rekindle your friendship either in the future.
Know when to hold on, and when to let go
I’ve come to realise that there is no shame in loosing friends in this chapter of my life and you shouldn’t feel any shame either. If a friendship is meant to be, it’ll be but don’t be afraid to let go, especially while you’re pregnant and in the early stages of motherhood, or at any time for the matter. Giving your best self to your baby is most important, without the stress from friendships that are just not worth keeping.
Trust your journey as the likelihood is you’re going the right way and you will find your people. Whether you don’t belong to a cool mum club now, or even if you never do, you will create friendships worth having.