Friends have let me down...(sorry, its a long one)(19 Posts)
I've been browsing Mumsnet for a while and have found it an invaluable source of advice but have never posted before so firstly...hello!
I'm driving myself a bit mad at the moment so thought if I have a bit of a rant on here it may preserve my sanity! Apologies if I go on a bit, it's a long one...
I'm currently 35 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I know my hormones are all over the place at the moment so can't work out if I'm being oversensitive or not! Basically I'm feeling really let down by my two closest friends and feel as if I'm bottom of their priority list just now when actually I could really do with a bit of extra support.
I've been best friends with them for a very long time, they were my bridesmaids at my wedding and we've shared a lot together. They are both divorced and I was there for them through those difficult times and every one of their subsequent relationship break ups since - and there's been a few! I've always been the settled and happy 'smug married' one so my minor problems and worries have kind of always taken a back seat as they've seemed pretty minor in comparison to whatever has been happening with them. I've been quite happy to play the role of agony aunt and have always been there when times have been tough, often mildly annoying my hubby by letting them tag along and occasionally putting them before him but hey, isn't that what best friends are for?
When I found out I was pregnant earlier this year, they were both initially delighted for me (neither have children of their own yet) but that's kind of where it's stopped. One of them has a new fella and things are going really well so I have literally been demoted to had the odd phonecall about once a month to say hi and try to pretend that we're still great friends despite the fact that she literally has no idea what the last 8 months have been like for me!! To be fair she has always had a bit of a selfish streak so I'm not overly surprised things have gone this way with her. I'm inclined to think she's itching to be Godmother so is doing the bare minimum to stay 'involved' - yes, very cynical I know but if you knew her you'd feel the same.
The other friend in question though has had a really tough time this year, not only did her Dad die but the relationship she's been in for the last year started to fall apart so of course I have been there for her every step of the way and tried to support her more than ever before. However, whether it's because things are getting back on track with her fella or for other reasons that I'm not aware of I've been conscious that suddenly over the last few weeks I'm a bit surplus to requirements. She will take at least a day to respond to a text that I send, she's frequently double booking herself when we've planned to meet up and guess who always get bumped? The final straw was the other weekend when she didn't bother responding to message I'd sent her suggesting meeting up until the morning of the actual day I'd suggested (3 days later) - I was so cross and hurt that she thought I had nothing better to do and sit around and wait for her that I actually said sorry but I've now got other plans. I haven't heard from her since and so have been beating myself up thinking maybe I was too hard!
Basically I haven't heard from either for about 2 weeks now and I'm really really upset. I'm also really struggling with the whole late stages of pregnancy thing at the moment too so although hubby is being amazingly supportive and wonderful as usual I could really do with a couple of extra shoulders to cry on. My family all live up North (I'm down South) and I'm missing them like never before - talking over the phone is all well and good but it can't replace a much needed hug from your Mum
It's now that I really need a bit of extra support closer to home and although hubby's shoulders are broad it would be nice to be able to spread the burden of my current worries and emotions! I feel so frustrated and upset that after all these years of trying to be nothing but the best friend to them I can't actually rely on them in my one and only time of need - I really haven't asked for much back before now. This is compounded by the fact that other friends who I perhaps hadn't been as close to have really come up trumps throughout my pregnancy so I'm even more bemused why my so-called 'best friends' have gone the opposite way.
It's really affecting me, I can't stop crying and don't really know what to do. Not sure whether to tell them how I feel or not - my biggest worry is that maybe I'm being an oversensitive hormonal freak! I am normally fairly sturdy on the emotional front so the fact that this is bothering me so much means that I know that I've got to get my feelings off my chest so that I can stay positive and strong over these final few weeks before my baby arrives as he or she needs to be my main priority now.
Thanks for listening, sorry to go on
They have their own busy lives, and not being able to talk as often as you like doesn't reflect that they no longer think of ou as much. Presumably you're on maternity leave now and have lots of spare time. By the sounds of it, they are just busy and you are hormonal, a deadly mix
Could it be that traditionally, in your friendship, you have been the supportive one so they simply don't know how to do this for you or feel that you don't need it? It is hard when your life and that of your friends seems to diverge but sometimes people change and you lose that connection.
Have you spoken to them about it? It might be worth just being honest and saying "I feel really rubbish and need a bit of support from you at the moment" and see how they respond?
I agree with ICan'tGetMuchSleep - I'd be upset if I were you too. I think you should let them both know that you feel like you need them at the moment. If they're good friends they'll be there. If not, then you know it's selfishness rather than thoughtfulness, which may be painful but at last you'll know where you stand.
Ideally they'd realise that you need them without you having to bang them over the head with it, but people are busy and sometimes preoccupied. Tell them, and see whether they step up to the plate.
I think everyone goes through this at one time or another. I certainly did a few years ago - got really badly let down by a lack of support from someone I thought was my best friend but wasn't there for me when I was going through a really difficult time.
From what I've seen, quite a few people go through a friend re-adjustment when their lives change - I lost touch with a few friends when I settled down and I've seen other people lose touch with friends when they've moved on to becoming mothers. It is desparately sad and upsetting, but I think you have to try not to take to personally. If someone is a really true friend, then you might grow apart for a few years when your lives get a bit different, but if and when you lives cross again, you can go back to exactly where you were. Sometimes that doesn't happen and someone who was a best friend becomes a Christmas card acquaintance. And when it does happen, all you can do is shrug your shoulders and resolve to make new friends with people who do understand what you're going through.
Personally I've MN a real place of support during pg - having no close friends with babies myself - and I'm hoping that the people I've met in Antenatal classes will become a source of friendship too.
Possibly they don't realise that you need them now, as it's such a role reversal. You've "always been the sorted/strong one" and they just can't get that you need their support now. Tell them directly, and see what happens.
hello ands welcome
you don't say how old you or they are but possibly they want to have their own children but don't know if they will / will meet a DP, feel useless (you are of course still you) but as they have never been through what you are going through they can't empathise (and dont know what to say / do), they think they are going to lose you when you become a mum. i am not excusing the fact they are being crap, i'm just imagining beginning them.
i sympathise a great deal. it is never nice questioning what friendship means and then wondering who your real friends actually are and inevitably there is something major happening or just happened in your life to make you question friendships which is when you need your friends the most, but i've realised that a lot of friendships are based on shared experiences / lifestyles and maybe it is time for you to focus on different friendships for the moment and worry about these two at a later stage.
at least you have a supportive DH. take care of you and wishing you much luck and happiness with the birth / newborn
P'ah - women who put fellas before friends are not worth the effort IMO!
You might be being a bit hormonal, but I would be upset too. (was in a similar-ish situation when pg with DD)
How about one last txt to try to see them before the baby arrives? Suggest a date & say if it doesn't suit, could they suggest another. If you get no (timely) response then at least you know you have tried and leave them to make the next move.
Did you do NCT/ante-natal classes? How about meeting up with the other ladies from that? (our local NCT runs a "bumps & babes" coffee get-together every week)
Once the baby arrives, you will have a whole new world of people to make friends with (ones who will be happy to talk about baby poo & sick for hours on end!), and perhaps you will be able to rekindle your previous friendships at a later date?
I know just how you feel.
I think that being pregnant when your mates have either left that stage behind or haven't got there and can't relate to it can be very isolating. My two best mates are behaving in very much the same way and I've been shocked by their lack of interest in my well-being during this time when I needed them most. It has made me very sad at times and my DH has had to shoulder the burden of support that they should really have been helping with. The sad and undeniable fact of the matter is that when you give, you have to do so not expecting the same in return or you're likely to have to deal with disappointment on a regular basis. I guess I'm just waiting for them to realise how rubbish they've been and hoping that when they do they'll make an extra special effort to atone. But I'm not holding m'breath. Most pregnant women I know have had a similar experience with someone or other they were previously close to. You would expect that this huge and momentous change would bring out the best in folks, but actually I think it's had the opposite effect on them... Who knew??
I know this is a horrible thing to go through. I had this with my best friend of fifteen years when I was pregnant. I do agree in what laughinglemons is saying though. Sometimes when you get pregnant it can make people around you evaluate what is missing from their life and this can upset them. Also, if a lot of your socialising has been based around going out and drinking then the way you interact has to change.
I found with my friend that our relationship was really badly affected until my DS was six months old. But we both went out just the two of us and had a very honest and upsetting conversation and slowly rebuilt our friendship to what it previously was. If it really is a good friendship then it can usually be fixed but the issues really need to be addressed and I was far too emotional at the end of my pregnancy to have done this.
Maybe just focus on you for now and address this when you've had you're little one and are feeling more in control. And go to as many antenatal and mums groups as you can to make some friends that are going through the same experience as you, as once the baby comes you'll just want to talk baby for the first couple of months anyway.
It's a real shame but I do think having a baby changes your friendships. Before having DD1 alot of my friend were really pleased for me and were 'soooo excited' these people have maybe seen her 3 times, she's 3yo. And although we are still friends and I see them occasionally we have less in common.
Your daily routine, emotional and social priorities and your topics of converstation change a lot when you're pregnant and then become a mum. You may find you have a better time with new mummy friends - they'll be more supportive and happy to talk about poo for 40 minutes over cake and coffee (oh yes it happens to the best of us).
See it as a break from your old social life and make sure you still invite these friends round to see you to maintain contact. What you describe is not uncommon, but it's hard to take when you're feeling the hard slog of the end of your first pregnancy.
Also, they may just be completely unaware of how you are feeling. When my sister was pregnant a few years ago she only really had me around for support and it's only now I'm pregnant myself that I realise just how crap I was. If you've never been there you honestly just don't get it - I bet they have no idea that you could do with support.
I would text them and let them know how you're feeling you've got nothing to lose. And honestly I kick myself now about how much I just didn't think about with my sister, even though I lived with her and thought at the time that I was being really supportive.
Have you got friends that have been there that you can talk to? I honestly think it's virtually impossible to empathise unless you've experienced it. I can remember my sister telling me she was worried about the anomoly scan for example and just thinking she was being silly - but that's because I was just so clueless I have promised her if she has another I'll be 100 times better!
Wow ladies, thank you so much for all your lovely advice and reassurance It's so good to know that other people have gone through the same thing, it can be hard to keep things in perspective when your hormones a conspiring to turn you into a raging madwoman!
Anyway, I took the plunge and had a big heart to heart the other night with the friend who has only recently become a bit distant. Not really sure how I feel about everything now - at first I felt like we'd resolved everything but after having another day to reflect I actually feel quite angry about some of the comments she made.
I still get a sense that she feels that everything I'm struggling with and going through pales into insignificance compared to what she's been through. Having never lost a parent of course I can't fully empathise with her situation but then she's never been pregnant so surely she the same applies to her - I feel quite sick that this is almost being turned into some horrid competition about which is more life changing and I really don't want to go down that road at all, what a thoroughly dreadful way to view the situation. What did really hurt was that a number of times she said workd along the lines of "I don't understand why you're finding all this so hard? Anyone would want to swap places with you and anyway, you've got DH there for you, who have I got?" and I guess that's what this really comes down to. Somehow because I'm happily married and about to have my first baby all should be wonderfully rosy and I have no right to look to my friends for support when my whole world is about to dramatically change - okay there's a very positive reason for it all and although I'm really excited about the changes taking place in my life surely it doesn't mean I don't have the right to be a bit scared too that everything as I know it is going to be turned upside down does it? So basically our friendship has ben an 'deposit only' account for all these years without me even knowing it just because I have DH?? It also hurts a lot to realise that she actually knew I was finding everything quite hard but has never once bothered to ask me why.
I'm not quite sure where all this leaves our friendship to be honest. I can't help but think that what it comes down to is this - this is the one and only time I haven't been able to devote all my energy to supporting her and helping her through her tough times as I usually would because for once I've had my own difficulties to deal with and everything has fallen apart in our relationship. Maybe that's a really selfish way for me to view things but tbh I do think that maybe it's time I toughened up a bit and put me, DH and our little family first.
Anyway, I've decided that enough is enough. I really have to stop upsetting myself and wasting energy on feeling angry when I should really be using it in more positive ways at the moment! I think I'm just going to keep my distance and what will be will be. I'll just focus on the friends that do make me feel happy, loved and supported. I start my much-needed maternity leave next week and I'm so looking forward to a few weeks of quality time - just me and my enormous bump so please keep your fingers crossed that he or she doesn't arrive early!
Thanks again for all the advice, I really really appreciate it xxx
Only read your OP
Congrats on the pg and sorry you are having a rough time of it atm
All I can say, IME, is that the majority of people with no DC of their own or experiemce of pregnancy will have ABSOUTELY NO IDEA about what you're going through or how you're feeling. They probably think you're fine and dandy... "Oh, Maggot is fine, she's got her lovely DH and is about to have a baby, all must be great for her..."
My best mate was a bit like that when I was pg with DC1. It was only when she'd had a baby herself that she really began to express an interest in my pg with DC3
Sorry, just read your last post so my post must have seemed a bit flippant
But I do believe that it's hard for someone to 'get' the life-changing aspect and emotional rollercoaster world of pregnancy if they haven't done it... after all, society projects it as this wonderful dream which isn't always the case
I struggled enough to get DP to understand it, tbh. I think he thought I was a bit mental actually
Hormones have a lot to answer for
I'm not sure I agree that its all hormonal. i think that suggests that what you are feeling isn't real. I think it is likely that these friends will become more of a distant presence because as others have said you will find there is less common ground and they may not even appreciate things like the practicalities of sorting out a babysitter or something. A former very close friend of mine couldn't be bothered to make a 1 hour journey to celebrate my son's first birthday and told me at very short notice. We haven't exactly fallen out but contact is fairly minimal.
You will meet mummy friends who very quickly become very close. My community midwife actually introduced me to another first time mum in my village and we have become very close very quickly and there are at least 3-4 others I see far more now than I see my old friends. If you feel you can communicate effectively with your friends then do try but otherwise maybe wait and see how they are once all the fuss of the birth has died down - see if they take an interest in this massive thing thats happening to you. If they really don't get that its not all rosy cheeked cherub all the time there's not a lot you can do to enlighten them. Good luck
Am not saying it's "all hormones"
But I believe hormones are responsible for making you feel more emotionally fragile than perhaps you normally would
I think there are two possibilities here and only you can decide which is correct:-
1) Sometime friendships need to be re-evaluated because you realise that you are 'only' a support network for some friends. Ie you are not the person they go out and have fun with (and they are not the person you have fun with) you are just the person that listens to all the angst. Often this does make you their closest friend, but what really do you get out of the friendship. If this is the case, maybe as others say you need to invest less in the friendships and focus more on all the lovely new people you will meet; OR
2) As you are hormonal and facing a life changing event, you are reading too much into this. I certainly now realise that I paid NO attention and showed no interest to my friends who were pregnant before I had my DS. I can imagine some felt hurt by my lack of interest, but it wasn't I didn't care, just that I didn't understand what a big thing it was and was busy with my own life (which to be fair they didn't ask much about either because pg women tend to have a one track mind!). When I was pg I saw the same from some of my friends without dc, but I didn't get upset because I knew it wasn't personal. ALL these friendships have survived, they are different post ds but still good.
Hope it all works out ok :-)
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