Bad Girl Friend?

on Jul 05, 2012 @ 04:49 pm

So maybe I'm totally insensitive. I don't know. But I have stuff to get off my chest and also need neutral opinions and this is the place for that! 

I have/had a good friend who I've known for probably 8 years or so, we'll call her Molly. We met at summer camp and went through times of staying in touch, hanging out all the time, and then drifting apart and not seeing each other or speaking for long periods of time. Then we both got engaged around the same time and got in touch again and bonded over that. My best friend from high school (we'll call her Kate) also knew her and the 3 of us became very close. 

At least until Molly found out she was pregnant. At that point Kate was engaged and her wedding was 3 months away. From then on, everything became about the fact Molly was preggers. Which was fantastic, we were completely thrilled for her and her husband! But it got irritating when we'd get a text each week reminding us how far along she is now and what size the baby books tells her the baby is now. It also got irritating when Kate, who had us both as bridesmaids, needed Molly since I live in another province and she would "help" with wedding stuff by reminding everyone how big she'll be by the time the wedding comes. Including informing Kate that she's not the only one with exciting life events going on. Seriously?

Anyway, this continued until she delivered a little girl in November when of course we were sooooo happy for her. She was our friend! We were aunties! I went home for Christmas and Kate and I threw her a baby shower. She scowled the whole time and did not even say thank you. Or ever gave us thank you cards. 

Long story short, we thought once her hormones balanced out she'd be back to normal and we'd have our friend back. Nope. Every single conversation we've tried to have with her ends up being about the baby, how busy she always is, how tired she is, we have no idea what it's like (not in a mean way, in a complaining way). And maybe we don't. However, Kate and I both work. I go to university. We still have houses to look after too. But we don't appreciate how she holds herself in high regard at how much she does and how little we apparently do. If I dare say how overwhelmed with exams and clinical I am, I'll for sure get a speech on what it's like being a mom. 

She's always been a complainer. Ever since we were kids. She loves the attention and sympathy. Maybe this is wrong thinking but she chose to have a baby when she did by ceasing her birth control pills. So it was planned even though she claims it wasn't. And what about moms who have 2 other kids and a baby and yet somehow still get through every day? With only minor complaining? Surely she can do it. It's like I just want to tell her to suck it up. It's apart of life and I know it's hard. But we're adults now and this is apart of the deal. 

Lately, if I do text her, the fact that she's a mommy and has a baby is something she very quickly reminds me about. Within like 2 sentences of the conversation. It's like any excuse or opportunity to get attention about the baby. 

Since she got pregnant, I can count on one hand the number of times she's asked me how I am doing. I changed my cell phone number and it took her a month to figure it out. I can guarantee you she has no clue what's going on with me right now. 

Kate and I feel like we've tried with her and really made an effort to maintain the relationship with her but it's constantly one sided. I understand she's a new mom and is adjusting, learning, etc. However, Kate and I have both worked in child care extensively and I've taken obstetrics and pediatric nursing. We know a thing or two and can help her but when we do try to help (without telling her what to do) she doesn't listen anyways. We just feel that there's nothing more we can do if she doesn't make an effort on her part. 

I've wondered if this is just what happens when friends are in different stages. But I have other friends where this did not happen between me and them. I've seen other situations where this did not happen. I've also wondered if she has a touch of PPD. She's really in her own mommy bubble these days with other mommies only. Non-mommy friends are not welcome.

Anyway, thoughts on this? Are we being unreasonable or insensitive? Is this something that passes?

3 Replies

tricky tricky on Jul 05, 2012 @ 05:16 pm

I have been at the receiving end of some of that, and who knows? Maybe on the giving end too... not that anyone ever told me so. But still, I have had friends in different stages of life and so I can definitely appreciate what you're going through!

I recently was venting to a friend about how busy I was with work and kids' extracurricular activities, etc etc, and she looked at me funny and said "I needed you this month after my mom died, you know." I remembered then that I had canceled a coffee date and taken weeks to call her back about something else and felt pretty bad about having been in my bubble... even if it was a pretty important bubble in my mind.

So while I definitely understand what your friend is going through (and it's true - people without kids can't fully know how sleep deprived you are and how helpless you can feel when you realize just how fundamentally your life has changed now that you're responsible for a child), it sounds like she's milking this for all it's worth.

IN NO FRIENDSHIP should one person be the center of attention at all times. IN NO FRIENDSHIP should one try to steal another's thunder (e.g. take away from wedding planning to refocus on baby milestones). And IN NO FRIENDSHIP should anyone be so self absorbed to ignore the many things others do for you (such as her pouty reaction to your baby shower). Everyone has bad days, but it sounds like your friend is being a momzilla.

What I also find very telling is that she hasn't asked you for advice about baby questions (illness, development, advice, etc). To me this is a red flag that she is trying to retain a superior position over you (in that asking you for help would be a sign of weakness). I had a great friend a few years ago who was a labour & delivery nurse (single and childless, I might add) whom I called on many occasions for all sorts of questions including ones that weren't in her area of expertise. We've drifted apart for other reasons but I know we'd rekindle our friendship easily given the opportunity.

In the midst of all of this though, you should be prepared to lose her friendship. The fact is that parents gravitate toward other parents for their friendships. You just have that much more in common in this stage of life. It's not because you don't value the other relationship but you simply find yourself seeking out people who are "in your boat". I have noticed this in married relationships too. While you're dating or engaged, you have more single friends in your group, but once you get married you find your circle of friends changing to include more couples (dating or married). Part of that is because your friends are probably also dating/getting married too around the same time, but when making new connections you automatically seek out pairs.

It is to a certain degree "one of those things", but it sounds to me like your friendship has turned into a one-way street and it may be time to distance yourself. If she ever confronts you about calling less often or whatever, you'd be perfectly right to remind her that the distance has been growing for some time and you feel like you two aren't connecting anymore in the old way.

Could it be PPD? Sure. I have several friends who had PPD and one of the first things I noticed was anti-social behaviour. However, they were more likely to curl up at home and NOT draw attention to themselves. It's a form of depression after all, and many people react by withdrawing. As you clearly know, only a doctor would be able to say for sure. Just tread really carefully with that topic though. None of my friends appreciated the loving concern when I asked them if they had talked to their doctor about possibly having PPD. It is a verrrrrry touchy subject!

Good luck with you three! I know it's hard to lose a friend :( Here's hoping it's just a bump in the road and not a full detour!

New Parents on Jul 05, 2012 @ 05:23 pm

This reminds me of that sex and the city episode where they have to go to that baby shower and of course, it's baby this and baby that. New parents are pretty much only concerned with their baby and rightfully so. This is a major thing in their life and so its pretty much all they can think about.

Of course, I don't blame you for your feelings. It is soo hard to be friends with a new parent. Especially when you yourself aren't one. It's not like your life doesn't matter, but to them, it's like there is so much more they are concerned about. But yes- rest assured you are NOT a bad friend. I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from. I have friends who just got married or they just broke up and it's ALLL they talk about. I feel bad for being like- ummm, can we talk about me for a sec?

The good news is, I think that after a while it will calm down and she'll refocus and be there for you as a friend. It might take a while though. I think you have two options: scale back the time you spend with her (while still being a friend), but spend time with your other non mom friends or b. Just be honest and let her know how you are feeling. I don't think there is anything wrong in saying to her, I need some support right now and I'd love it if we could meet together, just us and talk about my problem. You're there for her, she should be there for you!

Phewf! on Jul 05, 2012 @ 05:58 pm

Thank you so much for both of your posts! I feel better knowing I'm not a total jerk. Kate actually came to visit me a few weeks ago and we began chatting about Molly and our frustration. My husband was like, "Girls, no gossiping!". I know he's just trying to help me be mature but we weren't saying anything negative or untrue. We're pretty hurt and need to vent to each other every once in awhile.
@mamaluv I also feel it's "just one of those things" and while it's too bad, I can at least know I did all I could. I called her, texted her, visited her and nothing came back my way. Not at all that I want it to be about me but you know what I mean. Apart of my OB rotation was working in a community clinic where new moms came in for baby's 2 month check up and immunizations. We'd screen moms for PPD and some ended up presenting with very atypical symptoms. So you never know I guess but I wouldn't dare bring it up to her!

Kate and I have pretty much written off that relationship with her. Like I said, it sucks but what else can we do? Maybe she'll be interested again when we have babies.

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