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Maintaining friendships when friends have babies

(57 Posts)
purplefairies Thu 17-Jan-13 10:01:38

I hope this doesn't sound like a silly post but it has been bothering me for some time now.

I have two close friends (both part of the same friendship group) who are about to give birth in the near future. I am currently TTC. We have all been plagued by the "to have children or not" debate over the past few years - this ambivalence towards motherhood welded us together for many years. Eventually, we all decided to "take the plunge", deciding we might regret not at least trying later in life, and lo and behold, my two friends got pregnant right away.

I'm really excited for my friends and have been looking forward to playing an active role in their new lives as mums, also because I hope it will give me a better insight into what to expect if/when the time comes for me and DH. At the same time, they have both been circulating commments along the lines of "let's meet up for a night out soon, because it will probably be months after the birth before we get a chance to meet up again"/"let's go for a meal out because we won't be able to do that (ever again) when the baby's here". Am I being totally unreasonable to expect to see them in some form during their maternity leave (both are taking a year off)? Obviously I don't envisage seeing them in cocktail bars the week after the birth, but I was thinking we could still go over and visit/bring take-away/have them to ours for dinner? Or is that completely unrealistic and really invasive of me?

I'm worried I'll lose my friends, who have been a big part of my life since we all graduated and got jobs in the same city. I've read posts on here about friendships between the childfree and people with kids and some of the advice seems pretty grim (along the lines of: you've got kids now so your childfree friends won't understand, better find some mummy friends instead). Surely my friends won't morph into totally different people even once their babies are here and we'll still have at least some things in common?

To those of you with DC, do you still have childfree friends and how much did you want to see them in the early months of motherhood (if at all)? Did you just prefer to have your own space during that time or what sort of meet-ups do you think I can reasonably expect? Obviously there's a chance I'll be pregnant soon myself, in which case I can "join the club", but I'm also aware of the fact that it doesn't happen for everyone (DH and I agree that we wouldn't want to have fertility treatment), and I'd like to do my best to keep my friends even if we do end up having really different lives.

All sounds a bit rambly now - would be grateful for any input.

cerealqueen Fri 18-Jan-13 23:14:31

I wish my friends had been like you!
I had my first late in life and my two best friends were a bit shocked as I was never the baby sort and we were all single and no kids and late thirties.

When I gave birth, they promised frozen dinners and baby sitting and coffees and seeing me. I have no family support at all so this all sounded great. They came to see me ONCE. I had to instigate every other meet up for the first year, suggesting lunches out as I'd never have seen them. I made a conscious effort never to talk babies. They even said how great I'd been 'not going on about it and being so chilled out'.

Evenings out are rare but again, me instigating and reminding them 'I'm still here, don't for get about me' and seeing night out stuff on facebook and me not being invited.

After DC2, and a nightmare 8 months, did confide in them what an awful time I'd been having. Still no support.

I accept now that they are no longer my best friends, or even friends, just people I used to know. I wanted to maintain the friendships but they just could not be there for me, for whatever reason.

Life will be different but most people want to retain some sense of their other non baby self and their oldest friends can help them do that!

Lavenderhoney Sat 19-Jan-13 05:42:11

Just remembered, as an aside to my other post, we were living in the country and my best friend fom my days in London came to visit. Fabulous. She was so smart! She looked amazing and I was suddenly aware of my back to nature hair, lack of easy mani-pedi, and old jeans/ t shirt/ flats.
In my house, she bravely took my 8 week ds and said go on, I'll look after him for a bit. She held him up and said " oh you are so lovely" and he baby socked straight over her hair, face. Her expression was utter horror and revulsionsmile I took him back and we just had a chat together. She didn't come againsad smile

I bf til both were 2 and just over, so by choice was out of some things, but always happy to meet up during the day. Be aware when the baby is crawling/ walking they won't sit happily in buggys while you chat. It's a great friend who goes to soft play without their own. Although may be a deal - breakersmile

purplefairies Mon 21-Jan-13 11:29:12

curryeater - don't worry, I've given the TTC thing a lot of thought smile (far too much probably). The thing is I really like the idea of having older children (5 years plus). It's just the baby/toddler bit that really scares me. There have never been many small children in my family and I just feel a bit useless with them to be honest. I am also a marathon sleeper and the thought of years of sleep depravation is, frankly, terrifying....

meadow2 Mon 21-Jan-13 12:56:15

Nothing has to change if you dont want it to.Dh takes our kids whenever I have a bfed baby at mo and an older child but have still been away for the weekend, been to pub/club and also meet my friends in the day for meals etc.

curryeater Mon 21-Jan-13 22:46:27

Sorry purplefairies, didn't mean to sound patronising.
I speak as someone who didn't have the baby-node of my brain active when a lot of my friends did and came to child-bearing late and, honestly, in a rather detached and speculative frame of mind. The early years almost killed me. I lost all my energy and with it any ability to do anything but survive. It was depressing. but as you have the foresight to see, it is temporary, and you get through it. But then I suppose many people who thought they were desperate for babies find that just as hard, so [trails off into pointless rambling]

Anyway, you will be fine because you sound like an interesting and considerate person so will always maintain good friendships and make new ones.

hrrumph Mon 21-Jan-13 23:20:56

For me, I was quite busy to start with (eerily similar story to curryeater), but never so busy I wouldn't have appreciated an old friend coming round for a coffee.

birdofthenorth Tue 22-Jan-13 07:25:39

I still see my child free friends regularly but in the early days I found daytime coffees/ lunches far easier than the evenings when DD would cluster feed and need a lot if settling for bed- trying to do that whilst maintaining an adult conversation on no sleep wasn't easy!

Now she is 2 we're much more flexible -though I did horrify my single gay friend by suggesting Sunday lunch in Wetherspoons instead of Carliccios where I am less embarrassed if she runs/ throws food/ starts singing TheWheels on the Bus loudly! It's been a process of adjustment but I'd never ditch my real friends, you need them more than ever when struggling in isolation!

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