There are so many things said about pregnancy and motherhood. Some often are true, some very very false. One that I’ve found (to my disappointment) that became true has been the huge loss of friends since the announcement of my pregnancy.
I’ve always been an incredibly social human being.
Pre-pregnancy I would go out at least 2/3 times a week with friends: Drinking, smoking, parties, dancing and socialising with a multitude of people. Though these things seem immature, they were the things that brought me contentment and made me feel alive. That’s what you do when you are young with no responsibility. You make bad decisions and wake up with hangovers and eat McDonalds every weekend without getting fat. Especially here in New Zealand where the drinking culture is so prevalent in our young people. It’s like if you aren’t going out every day of the weekend are you even young?
Yes, there is an element of age and naivety that comes into that but mostly it’s because I’m a natural extrovert! I often find that I draw my energy from other people. I’m not referring to myself as a social leech here, what I mean is: Their happiness is my happiness. When I’m with others I almost feel like my inner batteries are recharging. So when I am feeling less than myself, I know that going out with friends is a sure way to feel better quick. Nothing makes me more complete in life than to be surrounded by the people who I love and who make me feel like I can be myself. That’s my idea of pure heaven.
Don’t get me wrong… I still enjoy a bath on my own, listening to my favourite music, going to the library by myself and studying alone. I’m not afraid to be by myself but one thing I’ve learnt on my journey of “finding myself” has been that I’m the best version of me when I’m with other people. Whether it be in a work scenario, helping a friend in need or just being social… It brings me satisfaction to be in the company of others.
So when I fell pregnant, not only had I lost my best friend in the world, I slowly lost a lot of other people who I used to consider close. That’s the thing about having a baby young… It was as if they had no time for me simply because I couldn’t partake in the same activities I used to. I totally understand why and how this happens. The thing about having a baby is, you are on a massive change of course in life. There will be friends who aren’t on the same path as you anymore and that is completely normal and to be expected. Their priorities are still the same, which is being social, going out, being free… the thing is YOU’RE the one who has changed. YOU’RE priorities have changed. Drinking is no longer on the cards, your wondering how you are going to prepare for this baby that is about to arrive. You’re focused on settling down and creating a safe environment for this human to thrive in. So really can you blame them for not being on the same path as you? No, of course not.
But surely not all my friendships weren’t just built on alcohol and parties? Surely they actually liked me for me? Errrrr wrong. Slowly and surely they all dropped off my radar over the entire 9 months I was pregnant. It was actually kind of strange by the time I got towards the end, to throw my baby shower. I wanted to invite all the people who were once friends I would see at least once a week… But as they turned up I realised some of these people I hadn’t seen in months, or even since before I announced I was having a baby.
I desperately wanted to gain those friendships back again, but I found it so impossible being heavily pregnant to make the huge effort to even go out. A few times while I was pregnant I made it out to parties (sober of course) because that’s how badly I wanted to connect with others again but honestly it was such a mammoth effort that I just could not do it often enough.
There have been few faithfuls that have stuck by me throughout my entire pregnancy and to those people (you know who you are) I’m so so grateful to have you in my life. These people always went out of there way to maintain a friendship with me that didn’t involve intense activity. They were content to meet me at my house, have a coffee and watch Netflix or just have a chat with me. Occasionally I could make it out to dinners and I was lucky enough to have friends willing and happy to make my big belly some dinner at the end of a hard day waddling around my home.
At the end of the day those are the people I wanted in my sons life anyway. The ones that stay through the thick and the thin. Those people have become family to me and to my son. They’re the ones I’d trust to leave Danny in their hands. It was through a pregnancy that was filled with abandonment that I actually discovered loyalty and allegiance.
And then the baby arrives and everything is different yet again.
Those people who deserted you, all of a sudden want to come around and meet your new bundle of joy.
They sent me texts and messages and help in those finals days before he came, and soon after. They are happy to share in your newborn happiness in the beginning but as the months go by they’ve only visited you once. Or they’ve never visited you, you’ve made the monumental effort to bring your postpartum self and newborn baby to them!! They’re all smiles, and “How have you been?” but they aren’t there when the baby has cried so much that I am crying. Or when I’m so tired I cant even make my own coffee in the morning. They don’t send me a text when things get hard simply because they don’t know when things are getting hard.
The reality of having a baby young means you WILL lose friends, or if you look at it a different way, you gain family. The fat is trimmed off and your left with the real and the raw.
So I’ve said goodbye to those friends who really haven’t been there for me, and hello to so many more friendships which are real and constant. Those are the people I want in my life and in Danny’s life.