jealous of ... a baby?

on Oct 15, 2009 @ 10:18 am

One of my close friends, though we don't live nearby, is pregnant. Her pregnancy journey was long sought: 1 year of trying naturally, then pregnancy hormones, then finally IVF. She's now 16 weeks. I am THRILLED for her. She and her husband truly deserve the fruits of their labor (har) and will be magnificent parents.

But in all of her baby excitement, I've been lost in the fray. I've had my share of struggles the past 2 months. While she would normally be there for me, b/c of the baby she's been incredibly absent. Its been an incredible let down to not be able to count on her.

So I ask of all the mom's, and anyone else in the know, now that a baby is on the way, will our relationship never be the same? Will it forever be redefined as more casual and many spots in line behind her new little one? I know the saying that children change everything, but I guess I've not yet felt the repercussions until now. How have you maintained friendships during pregnancy and motherhood? Have they fallen by the wayside? Have they been replaced by new mommy friends?

10 Replies

changes on Oct 15, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

Spotty, I have good news and bad news for you.

First the good news. Becoming a parent puts many things into focus - priorities, your definition of "happiness", and "what really matters most in life". Many a first-time mom (myself included, back then) are absorbed with their newborn, but can keenly miss their freedom and time with girlfriends.

While she may be excited about her baby and all the preparations, she will soon realize how much her other relationships mean to her. Learning about loving a child is an amazing lesson in love generally. She will look at her husband, family and friends differently because of it, and for the most part in a positive way.

The downside is, she will probably be in lala land for a while before the newness of it all wears off some and she starts missing her girlfriends. Baby will always have to come first - she can't just zip off for a weekend away, or meet you for coffee spontaneously if you need her.

However, she will want to. And I hope that's the take home message here. If you had/have a genuine friendship, you will regain your closeness in time. Everyone changes, and she will likely seek out mommy friends to commiserate/learn about this new stage of life. But single or child-free friends will not be unimportant to her, so make sure you give her a chance to show that.

As with any conflict between friends, I would advise you talk to her about it. From experience, I would say she probably has no idea of how her pregnancy has affected your friendship. It would be the same for a newly engaged or newly bereaved person. The change in circumstance is all-consuming, but it will ease in time and then they will look around and say "hey! Where'd you go?"

Hang in there, Spotty!

one more thought... on Oct 15, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

you asked "will the relationship never be the same?"

Answer: No, it won't be the same. But with dedication to each other, there is no reason to assume it will be worse. It can certainly be even better than before!

As I said before, having kids is a tremendous lesson in perspective. Valued relationships gain; casual or flawed relationships may hit the cutting room floor.

make-up junkie
you said it! on Oct 15, 2009 @ 02:30 pm

you said it mamaluv! That is exactly what I went through. Hang in there Spotty! Just be honest with her and she'll probably make a more conscious effort to reach out to you more.

Ali de Bold
Adjust your expectations on Oct 18, 2009 @ 05:01 pm

I think your expectations of your friends should change along with the different life cycles you are both in. For example, expect to see your friends less when they get into a brand new relationship, are newly married, have a baby or start a new job.

Having a baby is a huge life changing experience. I have a number of friends with new babies and the relationship always changes. Baby becomes #1 and baby should be #1.

I find that if you adjust your expectations, you are less often disappointed. Give her some extra leeway and do what you can to accommodate her right now. When it's your turn she'll be able to give you advice and support you in a new and special way because she's been through it already.

understand on Oct 18, 2009 @ 09:03 pm

I definitely understand everyone's points. And I agree.

It was just rough and hard to go through one of my own personal rough patches, explain it all to her, and get next to no sympathy or support. She was completely absent from my life when I really could have used her spirit and support. So what I was getting at is do mommies, new ones in particular, absently drop everything in their life prior to baby? No matter the answer, I will try to take note of this situation and try my darndest to not repeat it when its my turn to be a mommy.

when you get right down to it... on Oct 19, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

... yes. Many of us have definitely been guilty of ignoring the rest of the world. It's just so all consuming that you don't notice anything else. Not good and not right, but it does happen. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't take it personally (not saying that you are!) because she's probably forgetting about everyone equally, even her husband.

However, as I'm rereading your original post, I see she's still "only" pregnant. I know expectant moms can be oblivious too, but I think here you can speak to her about what you're feeling. Once baby has arrived and is robbing her sleep and turning her into a 24/7 dairy smorgasbord, it's easier to justify why she'd be distracted.

it happens on Oct 19, 2009 @ 02:43 pm

I have seen this happen with many of my friends whom have already have children etc. I try to put myself in their shoes and not take it personally. Having children is one of those huge life changing events and although it is not necessarily right that she not be for you when you need her, it does happen and there isn't much you can do about it other than talk to her about how you feel. I agree with the others that I would not take it personally and managing your expectations of the friendship differently may also help. Everyone reacts to major life events differently and it sounds like this is a new one too and that she will be a new mom so she is probably managing it as best as she knows how... Take care and I hope it gets better!

been there... on Oct 19, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

I don't have very many friends but the few friends I have, we are very close. Most of them got married and have kids before I did, I am one of the last to cross those milestones.

I remember always feeling the way you do whenever my friends crossed one of these life milestones, be it dating, engagement, marriage, kids...and I've always felt I am less and less important to them as they move on to the next phase without me. But as I cross each one of these milestones myself, I begin to understand my friends a little more. And now that I've done the kids thing as well, I can tell you that having kids created the biggest drift between us.

When my friends were pregnant, all they ever wanted to talk about is their pregnancy. Then, pregnancy talk turned into baby talk. I thought, "Jeepers! don't they have anything more interesting to talk about?" Now that I have a child of my own, let me tell ya, all I ever want to talk about is my kid.

It's sad. I've always told myself I'll never be one of those people. But having children puts a selfish, undesirable urge in you that turns a normally caring loving person into someone who's totally self-absorb and doesn't see anything beyond their own happy little life.

I make an effort to always ask about my no-kids friends and their lives, and I try to wait until they ask before launching into my own kids stories...but I would've been perfectly happy if someone lets me talk about my kids for hours without interruption.

Spotty, it's not that your friend doesn't care; her world has changed. And I know it really is hard on you, especially when you are going through a rough patch and you need her. But believe me, take it from someone who has gone through this several times, your friend does care. Perhaps you just need to be more direct with her, tell her you are having a rough time and you need her support. Sometimes pregnant women just needs to be reminded that once in awhile, they need to stick their heads below cloud nine and see what's going on around them.

Whatever you are going through right now, I hope it will be over for you soon. Take care!!

thanks on Oct 20, 2009 @ 05:30 pm

Yes, she's still just pregnant. The baby does not arrive till March/April. I will most definitely change my expectations full tilt once the baby arrives. No doubt. But while she's still just pregnant, I didn't realize a person would already be changing so so much. Perhaps that's just my mistake ... I'm not yet a mom.

Also, she knew exactly what was going on in my world. I explained every last detail. Even w/ her awareness of the situation, I still got very little empathy/support. I guess that's just how indisposed soon-to-be mommies can be.

In any event, as the situation has passed (work buying a home), she's attentive to me again. Its almost as though she doesn't want to deal w/ the rough spots in friendships, only the happy stuff. Our friendship is relatively new (< 2 years) but we grew together quickly. I guess I've just never had quite this much crap thrown at me since I've known her so I have no baseline on how to judge her reaction. I'm leaning toward attributing her distance to the baby, but maybe this is just how she is? Shrug.

well, in that case... on Oct 21, 2009 @ 11:39 am

If she was fully aware of your turmoil and still chose to focus on her own happiness, I don't blame you for being very disappointed. She may well only want positive energy around her, but that doesn't make her a very good friend.

I would counsel giving her another chance to prove her friendship, but if she continues to put herself first when you truly need her, it may be more than baby that's separating you. It might just be the evolving nature of certain friendships - that people move on, even when it's not a mutual decision.

I don't mean to sound like a downer. I truly hope you guys can sort it out! *hugs*

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