Often friendships are strained between pregnant women/new mothers and their friends without children. There are obvious differences in lifestyle and priorities that can make it hard to feel connected.
Inspired by a recent fight between two dear friends, I came up with the following tips:
1. Don’t talk about your baby all the time. 90% is fine.
2. Don’t forget to ask your friend how she is doing. Her life will seem incredibly boring and trivial to you, but endure it.
3. Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural part of life, and you should do it freely in front of anyone or everyone, but don’t ask your friend to feel your clogged ducts.
4. If you’re going to let your friend hold the baby, let her hold it. Don’t hover like Golem desperate to get his slimy paws back on “Precious.”
5. But if you’re going to let her hold the baby, don’t then wander out of the room, leave the house, make your way to the airport, and fly off to another country where you will resume the vibrant life you had before the baby under an assumed name.
6. Chronic pain doesn’t mean chronic complain. No reason to burden your friends with your uterine infections or post-partum death spiral.
7. Make an effort to meet out of the house from time to time. In general it seems more logical to have people visit you. You’re the one bathed in the aura of creation. (And there’s so much stuff to carry with a baby?!) But it will mean a lot if you agree to meet your friend at a cafe minutes from your home. Your friend will appreciate your gesture, and won’t say mean stuff behind your back about how you’ve changed and grown so baby-obsessed.
8. Apparently it’s crucial to the health of these important friendships that even in your sleep-deprived over-burdened new mom state you still make time to meet the girls for drinks like the old days. So you may have to fake a tequila shooter once in a while for the benefits of your soul sisters. But these women deserve your sacrifice, for they are doing the real work, living the exciting life of a modern woman now denied you — sleeping with older married men, getting strung out on office politics and prescription drugs, wondering whether to drop their therapists or switch gyms. Take an hour or two a month and salute them, sister.
9. Actually, there is only one way to not to lose your non-mom friends the minute you have your baby. That is to share with them all of your joy as well as your fear and pain in this major moment. The fact is, they are your friends, they love you, they are here for the long haul, as long as you stay honest and make an effort. Even if you both feel a sudden and scary chasm between you, trust that it will shrink over time. You will probably will be less focused on baby minutae later and really appreciate them for the same reasons you did before you had kids.
Photo: Jaci Berkopec/Flickr