Friends pose for selfie with their kids


I Cherish My Friends Post Baby Because It’s Harder to Keep Them

Feb 7, 2019

When I look back to my life pre-kids, there were other youth in the picture: me and my girlfriends. When we used to talk about the future, it was a collective vision where we took for granted that our friendship would remain unchanged through careers, babies, moves and marriages.

At first I felt they didn’t know how to support me and I didn’t know how to ask for the support I needed.

As our lives evolved, our friendships stayed strong. So when I was one of the first to have a baby, having my friends’ support through yet another milestone was something I just assumed.

After all, I had my first-time-mom version of rose-coloured glasses on — I pictured my hubby and I hanging out at picnics/at home/going out to brunch with our adorable cooing baby and all of our closest friends.

What followed was a crash course in parenting and it was a sharp learning curve.

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I remember visiting a friend who had a baby a year before I did and thinking whenever I stopped by it seemed manageable, enjoyable even. And when my baby came along, my friends came to visit too. But it was no picnic. Those visits during the initial months were a blur as my brain begged for sleep and all I wanted was for my baby to latch properly. While most of my friends were excited about this new phase for me, they were just as unaware as I had been. I felt that they didn’t know how to support me and I didn’t know how to ask for the support I needed.

I hadn’t given enough thought to the needs of a friend adjusting to a newborn.

I felt lonely and isolated as I tried to manage my radically new experience. I reached out to my mom friend who by then had a one-year old. She was extremely helpful, listening to my sobs, worries and intermittent laughter. During our talks I realized that I hadn’t truly been there for her when she may have been going through the same thing. Not because I wasn’t going through the same experience, but because I hadn’t given enough thought to the needs of a friend adjusting to a newborn.

As it turned out, when I got through those difficult months, there were more friends on the other side waiting for me — most without kids. They were patient with my lack of availability as I juggled baby’s new schedule. We communicated often with texts between late-night feeds. There were spontaneous calls and surprise visits (with snacks!) and offers to hold the baby so I could shower.

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And while I loved that my friends were there for me as I adjusted to my new normal, I also valued the familiarity of just chatting with girlfriends, making sure our texts and chats weren’t just about baby but about their lives as well.

It was comforting to feel connected to the outside world and to my support system. One of the important things I recognized in the friends that remained close was that while motherhood was a facet of my new normal, they knew I was still the same woman I had always been.

[...]There is nothing more therapeutic than a good laugh with a girlfriend.

There were also some friends who eventually drifted away. Some stopped calling or inviting me out, either incorrectly assuming my interests had completely shifted, or that I just didn’t have any time. Others didn’t fully grasp how all-encompassing the new baby was and would rarely ask about that aspect of my life. And some had kids themselves and life just got busy, taking us on separate paths.

Two kids and several years later, I’m finally out of that new-mom fog and I’ve emerged with some great friends by my side, both old and new. Of my friends from my 20s who have remained close, many have kids of their own and our friendships have evolved along with our families.

And even though more effort is required to make these bonds last as busy schedules compete, there is nothing more therapeutic than a good laugh with a girlfriend.

Article Author Jayani Perera
Jayani Perera

Jayani Perera loves to sing songs to her young children — to the wrong tunes, in an effort to simultaneously irritate and set them off in a tirade of giggles. Finding happiness in the day-to-day goes hand-in-hand with Jayani’s quest for balance after coming out of the new-mom fog that got thicker after her second child. A former foodie enthusiast, city event-chaser and lover of books, Jayani now fills free time mastering the Instant Pot, birthday party hopping and reading books that overuse the term “Pinkalicious” (one time is too much). And when she isn't doing any of the above, she keeps busy as a public relations consultant and a freelance writer. She is embracing this journey, with a loving spouse by her side, armed with humour, gratefulness and coffee, and trying to be mindful of the moments that matter.

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