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to feel miffed at friend with new baby(177 Posts)
I have namechanged (even though I'm not a prolific poster) because I know AIBU, and I'm ashamed to be feeling this way. I'm hoping MN can talk a bit of sense into me. Apologies for long post.
My BF and I have known each other since school, been close for 15 years, she's one of my favourite people in the world. We've supported each other through a lot of things. She had her first baby, a little boy, in Sept. I am afraid I've started to feel resentful about how our relationship has changed since her DS was born .
In the first few months, I was totally sympathetic to how much her life had changed, and tried to be both supportive and unobtrusive. Went to visit when invited, trying to make sure she knew I was always available with practical help without being demanding of her time etc., and completely happy to fit everything around her and her new DS. My problem is, I still feel like this is expected 9 months on, and I'm starting to get a bit fed up.
Her DS has routine which means she can't do anything after 6pm, including having people other than her and her DH in the house (as it is their family bonding time). I think this it lovely that they prioritise this, but must admit that it rules out almost all social activity, and is getting on my nerves now DS is 9 months old and not a tiny baby. My only opportunity to see them is weekend afternoons (I work FT), and with weekends being busy for both of us this means I've only seen her half a dozen times since DS arrived, always in or around their home.
I totally know, in this stage of her life, DS and DH come first, but I think what's upset me enough to post here is birthday plans. We are both 30 this year, and idly chatted lots in our 20s about having a big joint event. Obviously that couldn't happen in the way we'd fantasised when younger. She was unable to come to my birthday meal last month, as she can't be apart from DS in the evenings. Hers is in August, and plan is for a group of friends to get together in the park so 'we can all spend time with DS'.
Childish bit now - I want to say 'I'm not that fussed about time with DS, I want to hang out with you!'. I've been through a fair bit in the last 9 months (made redundant, splitting up with LTP), and I've really missed her - both as support and as someone to have fun with.
So... I know I'm being unreasonable, but as I don't have children, hoping you can show me some things from a parent's perspective, and help me to stop resenting a 9 month old baby
Talk to her about how you feel.
She's understandably preoccupied and just because baby is 9 months old it doesn't mean she is free to do as she wants - baby's separation anxiety or teething could mean she actually might be having sleepless nights or a lot of trouble settling baby.
But your feelings are important too, and I bet she has no idea how you really feel.
So again, talk to her. Tell her that you miss her. I'm sure you two can come up with a good solution.
(And whatever you do, do not say you are jealous of baby. Not even as a joke!)
This happened with a friend of mine 5 years ag. Her first dd was (and still is) a difficult child, but I think it's also because my friend was the first in our group to have children that we all assumed that was the way it had to be, and tried to accommodate her as much as possible.
It's only now that we have all started to have kids that we realise 1. You don't have to stop socialising when you have children (although some people's kids have much higher needs than others, and some parents also have a harder time) and 2. Our friend is in fact socialising - just not with us. She made lots of new mum friends who for various reasons she prefers to spend time with.
Looking back, after 5 yrs, I wish we had let her know more at the time that we were upset when she didn't come to birthdays etc. We tried to arrange things we thought she would be able to come to - venues near her house, day time events ...- but it didn't make any difference. I wish I had told her outright that I missed her and asked her what it would take to see her regularly, instead of avoiding the subject because I didn't want to put any pressure on her. As it is, we have now drifted apart so far that we don't have much in common anymore. We have got into a pattern where she only talks about her problems and has no idea what's going on in my life or the rest of our group of friends. None of us have had an easy time over the last 5 yrs, but somehow we let this one friend become distant and isolated because we didn't want to offend her.
If I was in your position OP I would be honest with her. Don't feel bad about making her feel bad, or questioning the commitment she has to make to her ds and dp. Friendships are relationships too, and they need nurturing and honesty as much as any others
YANBU unfortunately LOTS of things change with friends whether they have them or not. I have (or had depending on how you look at it) but having kids was at the root of all of it. I have 3 kids. Lucky - first one ivf after fertility probs like lots of my friends as we left It late. Then lucky with 2 naturally conceived children. One friend had baby at same time - said she felt threatened cos I was coping and she wasn't (not true BTW- I had delayed PND and suffered when ds1 was 5 months to 1 year. She then went on to have several MC so she wasn't happy when any of her friends had babs. Dear friend 2 had a son after 4 goes of ivf. At 3 years, the son she did conceive has autism and so is finding it hate to seeme with 3 healthy children! Am so,gutted for her but she started cancelling on me. I miss her cos I could have done with knowing how she was coping cos I certainly wasn't after dd3 born 11 months ago. Other friend had 2 ivfs but didn't try again. She is on the whole pleased for us but I know from our other close friends she finds it hard seeing me with children. My other friend has not had a long term partner and she is the only one of my close friends to be normal with me. Tho I know she really wanted to marry and have kids but she is now 42 like all of us so time is running out!
Your friend sounds like she is taking the birth mother to the extreme but she may be suffering (unbeknownst to pals) from PND. Having a family changes everything but unfortunately, your bf comes as a package now. One I'm sure shed like to share but don't assume anything. Having kids puts strains on marriages too but stick around because your time will come and u will need someone to understand!
OP your relationship with your friend will never be what it was. Different stages of our life's mean relationships evolve and change.
No where do you mention the role you think you play in this child's life. In fact you just sound resentful of the fact this child has taken away your playmate. If she really is your best friend, then this child is now a part of your life as well. You need to think about how you build a relationship with him. She will aways put his needs first now, but she still needs you. Think long term on this.... Soon you be able to have a spa weekend away, or a sneaky glass of wine in pizza express on a Friday tea time!
Sorry, meant to add, don't take this to mean that she doesn't want, or need, time with friends, just isn't able to get it. Can you go round in the day? Get to know the baby? (whisper it, but you are the best friend) babysit????
Some interesting responses on here. OP, YANBU, and you sound like a great friend, it's not your fault if you are taken in by all the myths entrenched in our culture surrounding babies and what is normal. First, if she's breastfeeding, it makes sense that she can't go on a night out at nine months, given that babies feed more at night. Those waffling about routine can't expect everybody to conform to 'the norm' and force their baby into an unnatural feeding pattern. It is not 'preciousness' to be wary of leaving your baby distressed. Second, if the partner can't have the baby for an hour, AND friends can't come to the house, some posters might think about looking to the partner for why that is rather than blaming the mother. Just a thought. Anyway, How far away is the night out? When I am back home visiting friends, I have managed quite well with a baby who wakes up sometimes every couple of hours for a feed, because I am a short taxi ride from home and keep my mobile on: I often make it back out again afterwards. If your friend enjoyed seeing you before she had the baby, it is HIGHLY, HIGHLY unlikely that she doesn't want to see you or doesn't care about your birthday
She sounds like a weirdo! I have two small children and jump at the opportunity for nights out!
We're going to move this to relationships at the request of the OP.
Mia4 - not entirely sure about the bookmark q! Maybe you could let us know once we've moved it? Sorry we can't be more helpful!
Just out of interest if it gets moved does that mean my google bookmark doesn't work anymore?
Do let us know if you'd like us to move this to relationships won't you?
YANBU, It's a matter of perspective OP and from your words above I definitely don't think you are unreasonable to feel this way, nor do i think you'd be unreasonable to distance yourself from your friend. Not that that means she is being unreasonable, as people above have been saying she may just really be having a hard time of it.
However you to have had a hard time of it and need your friends, and friendship does need to be two-sided even if one friend is finding it hard to commit much, currently she either can't or won't be there for you and you need to invest time in those who can and will-those who you'll return the favor for. I think it's the best option because if your friend is genuinely needing space then you are giving it to her and when she can come back she can do so on her terms, equally if she's being a user (thinking you do all the running) or is distancing herself from you, you're less likely to be hurt and you'll just drift apart,.
We can all give you our perspectives and appearances but your friend could be overwhelmed, stressed, pnd, depressed, self-absorbed, distancing herself from you or using. No one knows, we've all had varied experiences and any one, or combination of could be yours.
The key is communication if your don't want to distance, but you seem unkeen to do that and upset her which could mean that maybe deep down-based on how you know your friendship and each of you to be- that you know that your friendship is drifting apart and will continue to or it could just be that she's as unwilling to communicate to you as you are to her and so you're missing some vital information from her perspective and her from yours- therefore you are drifting.
None of us knows how your friendship is OP, if your friend still tries and est as she can by ringing and texting then perhaps she is as others here have describe
But if she is, or worse always has, expecting you to chase her and do all the running and doesn't bother with calling or texting you then she's more likely to be distancing herself.
Good luck OP.
YANBU - I felt so lonely when I had my first baby and would have loved to have a friend like you around so I think she is making a big mistake. I just moved when I had my first so only met other people with babies, I would have loved a friend to pop around in the evenings or go out with for drinks/dinner etc.
YANB to be a bit miffed. I tend to bite my friends arms off when they invite me out. I love my kids to pieces, but by God I do need time away from them sometimes to be myself and not just "Mum"!
But, I also understand that everyone is different, so you're either going to have to make allowances for her or possibly wind the friendship down.
I don't think it's unreasonable for her to want to spend her birthday in the park with her son, but I do think its unreasonable of her to have not made any effort for your birthday or in evenings. An occasional evening of a couple of friends over is harmless and actually healthy for her and the baby.
Having children changes your life in a big way, but the rest of the world still exists outside her secure family unit. To be honest, her perfect family life will not last forever, and at some point she will need support from other people.
She sounds really lucky that you've been this patient for so long. Big hugs to you. X
DS was still being sick 10 times a day at 9 months. We'd tried some meds but nothing worked so the Dr referred us for tests (x-rays, scans). A specialist (gastro-paed) said it was reflux and prescribed us Inexium (which can't be taken before 12 months, but DS was nearly 12 months by the time the tests /diagnosis etc. had finished!)
The difference to DS' sleep was unbelievable. Within a couple of weeks of taking the meds he'd gone from waking 6-8 times a night to 2-3, and crucially was sleeping up to 4 or 5 hours at a time.
He stayed on the meds until 20 months.
(sorry for hijack OP)
OP You do sound a lovely friend. I think that only your friend will know why she isn't socialising - is it linked to her DH? Her baby? Her exhaustion? Or just that her priorities have changed and she no longer wants to go out (I agree with a PP that I no longer fit into my nice going out clothes <sob> so avoid situations that make me feel crap about my changed body)
At the end of the day, are you prepared to wait for your friend to find her feet again? Or do you feel that you need her to be there for you now and it's a friendship breaker?
I don't have a huge group of close friends. But I do have some long-term friends that I have sporadic contact with. We email/phone occasionally and meet up once or twice a year (don't live in the same town/country). But they are still my good friends who I know I could call if I needed help. And when we meet up it doesn't feel like a year has gone by - we pick up the friendship where we left off IYSWIM?
OP, YANBU and you sound like a good friend. I wish my former friends had behaved one tenth the way you have and I'd have felt a lot more supported!
Cut her some slack though, as you never know what is going on behind closed doors that she can't share, but she may well do in the future.
lucky - absolutely agree!
Just thought I would come back and respond to the comments that have been posted since my last post. I didn't mean to come across as nasty or rude in any way - rather, what I wrote was my honest reaction based on what the OP herself said (and even she said she thought she was BU in her original post!) and my own experiences going back to when I was a first time mum.
Ashoe - I'd say direct, not necessarily rude. I do think the OP sounds as though she has relied very heavily on this friend in the past and needs other people whilst her friend can't give as much of herself to the friendship as the OP needs right now.
SueDoku - if my comment offends you, apologies, but that is how the OP came across to me.
Tig - unfulfilled as the OP has the time and energy to critique her friend's lifestyle and choices in such detail on here, rather than speak to her in person about them. I didn't mention anything about her needing children to feel fulfilled, neither did I relate this to a child 'hanging off her tit' as you so delightfully put it. No need to launch such a personal attack - though something I said clearly hit a nerve... Are you OP before the name change, by any chance?!
Jessica - our views clearly differ somewhat. Nothing wrong with that - and we've obviously read very different threads over the years if mine is one of the 'nastiest' comments you've ever seen...
The point is, what any of us say on here is irrelevant really. The OP's friend has every right to parent her child as she chooses and the OP can cut her some slack if their friendship is different from before (or not) - the choice is hers and how she behaves will probably determine whether the friendship survives into the future.
Personally, I think it's somewhat unfair to vilify someone for (what sounds like) trying to do their best by their child (not saying that EBF is best, but again, from the OP, sounds like this is what the OP's friend has chosen to do). Some people on this thread will think this is an excellent way of going about things, others would describe her as a martyr - and each of these opinions is equally as valid as the next. The OP needs to decide for herself if she feels the friendship is worth pursuing given these changed circumstances. I imagine she will also feel very different about things if/when she goes on to have children of her own.
I don't feel like a martyr because I give my child what she wants - to be with her mummy. She has a wonderful bond with her father but she doesn't like me to leave her at three. I don't have a problem with that at all and neither does he. My five year old was the same at that age, and she gradually became happier to be left with Daddy and now is perfectly happy being with him without me there. I just don't see what is wrong with giving your child what they want at such a young age. They are only little for such a short time, and surely when we become mothers our lives are supposed to change. I think it is better to embrace it.
As for OP I think if her friend is an attachment parent and she wants to remain close friends then, as I said before, she has got to accept that they come as a pair.
Also - to be a friend you dont necessarily even have to get together all the time, but texts and calls can be swift and a good way to show you're thinking of each other. To go from being very close pre baby to completely sidelined post birth would be hard on anyone I think.
wibbly - that was one of the nastiest things I've ever read on here.
avery - the OP is not asking to be made a priority. She has grasped that things have changed and that baby is now priority. She has every right, as her best friend, to want to see her now and again. She hasn't said she insists on seeing her friend without her baby. I think it very sad that some mums think it perfectly OK to pretty much sideline and ignore very close friends who have been there for them through thick and thin for years and years. I'd be very upset if someone did that to me and ignored my 30th birthday.
Yes, priorities change, but it is a pity that some mums seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable to show no consideration for friends and think everything should now be a one-way street (ie, theirs).
I agree with the poster who said friendships need to be fed and watered like plants.
We all get that babies are hugely fulfilling and time consuming and delightful and hard work, but this time too will pass, and it seems such a shame when so many women lose their friends of 20+ years standing because they are so far into the baby bubble, for both parties.
A friend of mine is struggling to conceive, and may be unlikely to, and I do feel her pain when we all get together as a big group and the only talk is of babies, with a rushed 'how are you' to her and then they don't bother to listen to the answer. Even on the rare occasion the babies aren't there as a distraction.
OP you sound lovely, don't give up on your friend but maybe do lean back a little, for your own happiness. In time your friend will miss you and you'll be able to be friends again, but for now it won't be the same so be kind to both of you.
Also some babies are very high maintenance in the evenings.
I think you should go round to hers for some quiet nights. Takeaway and a glass of wine. Maybe text and mention that you miss her company?
Initially I thought 'oh she should be able to go out even if she has to express' but then I remembered that I didn't want to go out for about two years and for the first year and a half breast fed on demand. I also had lots going on during the day and felt no urge to paint the town.
I think that neither of you are being unreasonable really. It's just that your lives have started to take different paths.
Understandably you are single and childless and you want a friend you can go out with, have long chats with and who will make you a priority. She is a new mother who is probably exhausted, wants to spend time with her baby and just can't really give you the friendship that you need any more.
TBH it sounds as though you are not particularly interested in her baby anyway and she probably wants to talk about her baby so maybe she feels awkward around you as she can probably sense you are bored by it. I know that the thought of having guests round past 6pm, having to look decent, tidy the house, try to entertain them , stay up talking would have been too much for me with either of my children.
I also think that when you have children your priorities change and things that would have been really important pre-DC such as birthdays etc just don't seem as important any more.
You don't need to loose the friendship but you need to accept that it has changed and as another poster said it's probably not going to be the same again. After all the baby will grow into a toddler who will be constantly interrupting your conversations so you won't get a chance to chat properly, and then they will be a schoolchild and your friend will spend weekends ferrying them to parties or sports clubs so you will always inevitably be pushed out. She may have another DC too!
Maybe it would be best to concentrate on other friendships that can provide you with what you need. Remain in contact and friendly with this friend but accept that things are different now.
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