When my daughter was born I selfishly believed my life would basically stay the same. Sure, I knew some things would change, such as my sleep schedule and ability to fit into pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, but I had no idea how having a child would affect my social life. “Where did my friends go?,” I kept asking my husband as I tearfully scrolled through Facebook statuses on a Friday night.
Before having a child I was a social butterfly and prided myself on having a great group of diverse friends. My husband and I were the first in our group to settle down, and therefore the first to high tail it out to the burbs in search of green lawns and a better School Digger rating. When I was pregnant it was easy to still socialize with friends as I would jump at the chance to be the designated driver. It was a win-win that allowed me to be out and about while ensuring my friends got home safely. Once the baby arrived however, all bets were off.
Being a first time mom I had no idea how utterly exhausting having a newborn is. Every minute of every day revolved around my daughter, which left almost no time for my husband and zero time for my friends. Some of my girlfriends would call or text asking if they could come and see us, but before I could respond the baby needed another diaper change. Into the Diaper Genie went the nappy and any recollection of the unanswered text.
When a friend asked to meet for a drink the week after I gave birth, I rolled my eyes to high heaven and went back to pumping. I blew people off because I thought they just didn’t get it. Let me be clear by stating I tend to despise arguments preaching you can’t understand what it’s like to have a child until you have one yourself, but here I am saying people without kids just don’t get it. They can’t. They cannot understand what it is like to have an 8lb creature attached to them all day. They have no idea how it feels to have a pediatrician tell them, “you are not trying hard enough to get your baby to latch”. My friends did not understand how hard it was for me in those early months. And do you know why?
Because I did not tell them.
Never once did I respond to an invitation to chat with, “I would love to, but I haven’t washed my hair in three days. I’ll put on coffee, want to come over and play with the baby so I can shower?” Friends wanted to see me and I did not see them because I felt what exactly? Ashamed? Sad? Denial? Would they like me if I went from Ms. Party Girl to Mrs. Mom? I felt lost in many ways and deep down I knew I needed my girlfriends, but I did not know how badly until they stopped calling, stopped texting, and stopped checking in. Friendship is a two way street and if I was not putting in the effort, why should they?
Of course my baby needed me more in those early days, but it takes a village, right? I think my girlfriends would have been just fine telling me about their troubles while I folded a million onesies or nursed a fussy tot. Newborns sleep all the time so why didn’t I bring my daughter along for the sushi I desperately missed the previous nine months? When I finally ventured out with my sweet girl I was shocked at how many friends genuinely enjoyed having her around. My tired arms were given a much needed break and I was allowed the luxury of finishing a hot meal.
So my advice to all of you first time mama’s out there, if your kid-less posse wants to see you, let them. Let them hold your precious bundle and witness you basking in the glory of being a new mommy. You can always wash your hair tomorrow.