Photo credit: Jennifer Aline Graham
Every pregnancy and transition into motherhood is unique. This cliché too is quite overused, but it’s the truth. Every human responds to changes differently, but sometimes those changes impact friendships in emotional, unexpected ways.
One Mom’s Relationship Rollercoaster
Many women have unexpected pregnancies and I know this isn’t a rare occurrence. For me, the surprise came smack in the middle of personal chaos. On top of the personal mayhem, I had to move to a city where I knew only my boyfriend and figure out how the heck to make a few dollars, since paying for daycare and working full time was a silly battle to attempt.
So, when some friendships started changing, I became an even bigger ball of emotions. I needed support; I needed some of my best friends to be there lifting me up. I felt as if the opposite was happening. Though many friends were there to support me as I walked into the world of motherhood (in a city where I knew no one), some very close friends were not for reasons I still do not understand.
Once my girls were born, some of those estranged friendships started to mend. However, while those were building back up, I was trying to figure out how to connect with new people in a brand new city I knew nothing about. I hit a major low and postpartum depression was inevitable. I did my best to get involved and find a community I felt comfortable in, but as many women know – it isn’t easy finding adult friendships.
3 Friendship Factors to Keep in Mind
Friendships and relationships with loved ones constantly change as you grow up. It’s simply the way life works. However, when these changes occur smack in the middle of when you need them most, it can be devastating – especially when your hormones are already racing. Three suggestions that gave my mind a bit of clarity during prenatal and postpartum chaos were as follows:
- Those who stick around matter. If someone fades away then returns to your life, it’s for a reason. If someone is by your side and supporting you the entire time, it’s because they care. Those friends or family members who maintain some kind of relationship with you, whether its long-distance or nearby, are the people in your life worth leaning on.
- Dynamics change as you grow older. Most people find friendships with those similar to them. The same goes for friendships and relationships during motherhood. As you move into the “fourth trimester,” you will find more connections with others who understand your current lifestyle – and that’s perfectly natural.
- Priorities change. At one time in life, friendships and romantic relationships were probably your number one focus. Maybe you wanted to stay active in your social group and you went out often. Maybe you hosted game or craft nights every month. Once a baby comes into the picture, that baby is top priority and, unfortunately, those social events become pushed down the line. Don’t feel guilty for pushing away activities, or people, during a time when you need to rearrange your thoughts. It’s all just part of the motherhood madness.
Real Moms Speak Out About Friendship Changes
Photo credit: Leah Gemmati
“There was definitely a lot of change both when I was pregnant and after our little one was born. We didn’t really know anyone other than my husband’s co-workers when we moved - and still don’t know too many more. I also found that I became closer with some of my friends who have already had children or were going through their pregnancies around the same time as me. It was really nice to have others to connect with, to share stories with, and to feel support from through so much change!: - Alicia Marie, mom of one
“My husband and I learned so much about one another during my pregnancies and transitioning into parenthood. But on the other hand, I had “friends” that congratulated me when I got pregnant; told me how excited they were for me and then never talked to me again. I think sometimes when people aren’t in the same stage in their lives, they don’t really understand what we’re going through and can’t relate, so they pull away.” – Kristeena Titus, mom of two
“When I was pregnant so many friends were excited and couldn’t wait for baby. When he came, the stopped by right after and we hardly saw some of them again unless I had/ have a babysitter and go “out” with them. It’s unfortunate but I also realize we are at different phases of life. Friendships evolve and new ones are made.” – Katie Ballinger, mom of one
“Most of my friends were very happy and congratulatory when I got pregnant. I had one friend that ghosted after I told her which sucked because I thought we were really close. My family is super supportive and I have become even closer with my older sister who is now one of my only friends. I have yet to find a mom group as so many in my area meet during the day while I’m at work. It can be very isolating at times.” – Chelsea Marie, mom of one
Jennifer Aline is a coffee addict, mama of twins, and a passionate freelance writer and author. She writes for Moms.com on a regular basis and has had articles in publications such as the NY Daily News, NY Post, and In Good Health Newspaper. Aline received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Studies from Keuka College and worked in the Human Services field before her two little girls entered her life. Aline now focuses primarily on writing, teaching aerial arts classes in the evenings, and caring for her twin daughters – all while continuously chugging coffee, of course.
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