I was one of the last women in my group of friends to become a mother. I would see my friends with their newborn babies, perplexed at the amount of energy and consumption of focus a baby could take. I understood the obvious: the exhaustion, not being able to shower daily, changing clothes daily became a challenge, and the perpetual unwashed hair, often pulled back.
But what I was less prepared for was the change in our friendships.
I could hardly believe tiny little beings could morph my dear friends into exhausted, preoccupied and distracted women with less than a two-minute attention span to focus on conversation. I couldn’t understand how plans made weeks in advance, could be cancelled last minute.
I was smug after I spent time with my friends, thinking,
“When I have a baby I’m going to make sure nothing changes with my friends. I am going to manage my transition to motherhood differently.”
When I become a mother, I am going to:
- Return phone calls within a day instead of a week
- Never cancel last minute plans because of my baby
- Continue to see my friends; nothing’s going to change in our friendships
- Make sure to talk about something other than my baby
- Continue to ask my friends about their lives
- Be able to focus on my friends when they need me
- I am going to make sure nothing will change within my friendships when I have children.
Then, I became a mother, to twin girls, born premature, who spent two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Unit.
Every relationship changed.
And I thought back about my naivete and pre-baby judgment.
And, I became the friend who couldn’t return phone calls or talk for more than a minute, I had crying babies in the background.
I became the friend who had to cancel plans last minute because of a fussy inconsolable baby with colic or a fever or because I needed to sleep after getting less than three hours of sleep in 24 hours.
And, I became the friend who focused conversations on sleep schedules, nursing strategies, and developmental growth of my twins.
I became the friend who worked so very hard to ask about my friends lives only to be distracted a minute into their response because my daughters needed something.
And I learned something very powerful, every relationship has to change when you become a mother, and that is not necessarily a negative thing.
And through becoming a mom, I became the friend who developed empathy for myself and my friends, that when a baby arrives, we all do the best that we can.
© Copyright Dr. Claire Nicogossian 2015