Monday, April 2, 2012

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photo by olivia boone

In the months after Henry was born, one of the last things I was ever prepared for happened, I lost my best friend. No, she didn't die. We just had an ugly fight and were unable to resolve it. (So Jr. High, right? What else can I say.)

In the last year, I have come to find that friend loss for new mothers is... kind of common? My friend Meg just send over this well written piece on embrace release, and I think it is so helpful, I have to share it here. For soon to be parents, new ones and long time ones. And importantly, non parents. Oh how I can relate:

Friends were excited with us when the baby was an idea, a distant future reality symbolized by an absurd hump on my front, his wants and needs and bodily fluids managed quietly by my trusty uterus. I think we imagined that hazy future reality to include plenty of hanging out at friends’ houses, festival-going, and lazy afternoons at the park, throughout which the baby would giggle and stumble around happily while we caught up on our social lives.....

And then on to:

But when our son arrived and new parenthood was nothing like the dopey feel-good fantasy we imagined, when he didn’t sleep longer than two to three hour stretches for his entire first year... I unconsciously shrank inside of our house, vaguely assuming we would emerge one day when things were easier, when we felt more in control and better rested, to find our friendships intact and waiting.

And confirming some of my suspicions: 

The Offbeat Mama commenters who gloated about how they take there babies any and everywhere? They have easy babies. Lucky them. I know those exist because our second one turned out that way.

And:

Release yourself and your friends from the bondage of naive expectations, defunct plans, and the starry-eyed fantasies of yore. None of you knew what to expect pre-baby, maybe least of all  your friends. Change is hard and can be painful for everyone. But in this case, for you at least, it is infinitely worth it.


5 comments:

  1. So interesting and true. I have felt very isolated at times since Jack was born. I have managed to maintain some friendships, but have lost a few. No dramatic partings, just people slipping out of my life. It has forced me to be more outgoing about meeting and keeping up with my new found Mama friends. Lack of sleep, and napping schedules really make things difficult. But I have to hope that in time it will get better. Thanks for posting it's nice to feel less alone, in feeling alone.

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  2. What a great topic. I've had this very thing happen to me. Not necessarily a fight or anything, but definitely a phasing out-type situation. It's horrible and I wish I could do something about it, but it's become impossible to have the relationship we once had. I definitely tried my hardest to help her adjust - you know, offering to babysit, bringing over food, meeting for lunches, buying him stuff, coming over, and just generally trying to stay friends and incorporate her son into our lives, because honestly, we love the kid and were ecstatic for them. I honestly don't know what happened, but it just didn't work. (There were other, more serious issues, too, but yeah.) I guess we just weren't meant to be friends post-birth, which sucks. A lot.

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  3. Can I say... from the other perspective of a non-parent that this has happened to me many times already. I've lost a few very close girlfriends because they pushed me away. I think in their mind I would never understand. I've offered to babysit, come over and make lunch, brunch, dinner, bend to their schedules and all of sudden it was like I wasn't good enough to care for of be around their babe. It really stung. I was good enough when I was 14 to babysit newborns but as a grown adult who has chosen not to have kids there was something wrong with me.(Like I was kid hater, I'm not in the least.) I really cried about this on several occasions because I thought "Am I just going to lose every single one of my girlfriends one by one?" "Are gay men treated the same?" Anyhoo, I'm at peace with it now and have girlfriends where this is not an issue in the least thank-goodness. Hang in there;)

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  4. Wow, what a honest essay! I'm not a mom, but hope to be in the next year or two (we just got married). A lot of our friends are starting to get pregnant - so this will be helpful to keep in mind. Thanks for posting, this was really an interesting read. And so sorry to hear about the loss of your friendship.

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