Hi Miss A,
I know that you mainly answer dating questions, but you also list relationships, so I’m hoping you can help me. My best friend had a baby 14 months ago. We used to be so close – shared everything. We saw each other a couple times a week and talked every day. That fell off a bit when she was pregnant, but the change to our friendship was mostly that she (understandably) didn’t want to go out to bars. She still wanted to hang out, just in a different environment.
But since the baby was born, we have really grown apart. It seems she neither has time or interest in being my best friend anymore. We see each other much less, but it’s not a matter of quantity so much as quality. I know she will always be there for me on the big stuff, but a major part of a relationship is the little stuff – the little things that frankly make up 80% of our waking hours. She doesn’t respond to emails, so I stopped sending them. She doesn’t call me casually from the grocery store or while she’s out running errands – only dutifully once a week. It’s like I never casually pop into her mind anymore. Even when we do talk, it’s not the same. She doesn’t seem to enjoy theorizing about my latest crush or listening to my random observations the way she used to. I feel like my news is all so uninteresting and unimportant to her. The one thing she’s excited to talk about is the baby. Yes you knew it was coming. Enough with the baby sometimes! While her little girl is cute and growing at lightning pace, there are only so many times I can be an enthusiastic participant in a conversation that begins, “Ohhh, baby was so cute today, did I tell you what she did?…”
I get that this is a major change in my friend’s life. I really do love her baby and I am supportive of her. But I feel like we can’t relate at all. We are plainly in different places. She might be my go-to person for crisis situations, but she’s not my day-to-day person anymore. I thought maybe it would get better when the newness of parenthood wore off, but that hasn’t been the case. Do I just have to accept that we will never be as close? I guess I just miss my friend, but I can’t make things be the way they were and I’m not real happy about the way they are. How can you be supportive and stay close with someone when what you have in common is smaller and smaller?
Thanks for your help!
Lost my Best Friend
Dear Lost my Best Friend,
Yes! I do give advice on relationships with friends, co-workers, and mother-in-laws, etc. Thank you for your question! Let me start of my giving you my theory on womanhood – there are “5 Stages of Womanhood”. The first stage is getting your period. The second stage is having sex. The third stage is getting married, or living with a man in a serious relationship for several years. The fourth stage is having a baby. The fifth stage is having grandchildren.
When you are in one stage and your bestfriend is in another stage it becomes extremely difficult to communicate on the same level. Think back to when you were a virgin and there were some other girls who had had sex. You had no clue what they were talking about, or what they had experienced. You couldn’t relate at all! The same thing happens when your bestfriend has a baby. She has a whole new level of understanding that you won’t get until or if you have a baby.
I recently went to visit a college friend of mine from Wake Forest University. She was one of my first Washington, DC friends, sold my ex-husband and me our first home, and she’s known me since I was 18, which is for almost 20 years. She had her baby boy this past summer.
My friend has gone through 9 months of pregnancy, child birth, and learned how to breast feed. I didn’t even realize you had to work at breast feeding. I always thought it just came naturally and easily like it does for puppies and kittens…apparently not. I still don’t get how some people are lactose intolerant – seems to go against nature! Anyhow, my friend has all kinds of monitors, gadgets, and tracks everything in a journal to make sure her baby feeds and sleeps on time. She knew so much more than I did.
By spending some time with her I realized that she is only able to sleep when the baby sleeps, which isn’t close to the recommended 8 hours! She has all sorts of stuff she must do during the day, including pumping milk in order for the baby to receive all the important immune system strengthening benefits of breast feeding. She has to constantly make sure the baby’s diapers are clean, and that the baby is kept safe. Her life must revolve around the baby, because the baby’s life is dependent on her. I’m assuming that your bestfriend is in a similar situation and doesn’t have a nanny. My friend is fortunate in that she is able to stay home with her son. I can’t even begin to imagine how working moms deal with all this, in addition to a job! So I suspect that your bestfriend is overwhelmed, busy, and exhausted with her her new lifestyle.
My friend from Wake is on a whole different level of womanhood from me. For example, as a single woman without children, I see my breasts in a completely different way than she does. Aside from getting them checked annually for signs of breast cancer, my view of them is completely superficial and shallow. I’m concerned with their size, and how they look in a bikini or cocktail dress. As a mother, she can tell when hers get engorged and knows that it’s time to either feed the baby, or pump. She knows how it feels when the milk is flowing properly for the baby. All this goes right over my head, and we haven’t even gotten to the baby kicking inside her, and giving birth!
I am sure your bestfriend misses being close with you, too. I bet she has fond memories of her life before motherhood, when she could be carefree and had less responsibilities. And understandably, your dating life isn’t as interesting or important to her now. She has bigger fish to fry. She is also probably a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility, and hearing your stories just remind her of how different her life is now. She probably wishes you knew more about having a baby, so that she could go to you as a resource and that you all could bond on that level. I bet she wishes she could comisserate with you about getting her pre-baby body back. She probably wishes she could ask you for advice on which breast pump is best to use. What I’m trying to say is that the distance in your friendship is probably the same for her. She has probably made new friendships with women who share her experience. And having a baby has probably brought her even closer with her husband. So on a day-to-day basis, she is leaning on her husband, her mother, and new friends.
I suggest you reach out to her, and share how you’re feeling. Also, you may want to pick up the books What to Expect When You’re Expecting and What to Expect the First Year. I bought these books years ago when I was considering having a child with my ex-husband. You’d be amazed at all you’ll learn from these books, and it might help you to better relate to your bestfriend.
I wish you and your bestfriend all the best!
– Miss A
Andrea Rodgers is a Dating & Relationship Expert for HealthCentral’s Sexual Health Connection. Email questions to email@example.com.