How To Keep Friendships Alive When You Become A Parent
Up to this point, you’ve never really had to give a great deal of thought to maintaining your friendships.
They’ve taken care of themselves over the years because all parties wanted to participate and enjoy the friendships. Nights out were frequent and if you weren’t planning a cinema trip you were researching the next holiday destination. It was just...easy.
Now that you have a baby on the way you might be feeling a little bit anxious about all of the change that it will bring. There is no denying the fact that having a baby is perhaps the greatest amount of change you will ever experience in your life.
That change does extend to your friendships to a certain degree also. Suddenly you are a lot less available than you previously were. You are also experiencing a life that is drastically different to the one your friends are living.
This can make you feel disconnected from each other as so much of your friendship to date has been based on sharing interests, hobbies and life experiences.
Like most things in life, knowledge is actually power. Knowing that this change is imminent and using that to your advantage is a really powerful tool.
Communication is the basis of any great relationship and that is true when it comes to friendships also. Have you thought about bringing the topic up now while you are pregnant? Or if the baby has arrived already have you considered being really honest and open with your friends?
Telling them that you are adjusting to this brand new life day to day and anxious about how it will impact your friendships will be really well received. It shows that you care and doesn’t leave any room for your friend’s thinking otherwise.
Embracing change is easier said than done but it really is key here. The pregnancy was a good way of introducing you to this change but now that the baby is here you’ll notice that things haven’t changed a great deal in many respects.
The poor sleep from the pregnancy is sticking around. The lack of nights out is much the same and you still don’t feel 100% confident in how you look in your clothes.
Change is an inevitable part of becoming a parent but if you can embrace it and ride the wave you will be so much happier for it.
Chat to your friends about shaking things up. Instead of the regular nights out they might all come round to yours once a month for a takeaway and a catch-up. That way you can care for the baby and spend time with your best friends at the same time.
Managing your new friendships can be a little tricky too. Chances are you have made friends with other women who were pregnant at the same time as you – both online and in real life.
It’s important to embrace these friendships but remember that you really can have both. They don’t have to replace your old friendships. They are an addition to your life and communicating that fact might just reassure your old friends that they have not been replaced.
It’s nice to have a friend who will text you back at 3am when you are up doing the night feed or that will meet you for a coffee the minute the coffee shop opens. These friendships are actually really important because they reinforce that you are not alone in this experience of motherhood.
Friendships involve time and effort from both parties. If you both want to make the friendship work then it really will. Communicate, embrace the changes and nourish it like any other relationship in your life.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.com.