They say once you have a baby, everything changes. You’re probably assuming that because I had a baby, the friends that don’t have a baby would not be around. You guessed wrong. New parents and single people (married with no child, unmarried with no child) will be around you no matter what your situation is because they’re your friends – your real friends. And they should be growing with you with whatever comes along. It just takes a little adjustment from both ends.
I am not new to change. Change in relationships have been happening since the moment I moved out of the city, got engaged and the moment I got married. Friends shared their 2 cents and sometimes just did not agree or wanted to support changes in my life. I assumed it was because I embraced individuality and the concept of ‘thinking outside the box’ and they did not. Therefore, our perspectives on life altered and so did our relationships.
“Live and Die in LA! It’s the place to be!”
“West Coast is Best Coast.”
“There’s nothing in the east coast, why would you leave LA?!”
“Are you SURE you want to get married?”
“Marriage is just a contract.”
“How much is your wedding going to cost? Psshh, IF IT WERE ME, I’D GET HITCHED.”
The list of comments went on and on!
I remember talking excitedly about my wedding dress fitting and a friend telling me about another person getting married the same year stating, “Jo, she’s not like that. She’s not like you.” What do you mean? I can’t enjoy my designer wedding gown because your friend can’t afford to get one?
Wedding done. Married the love of my life. Then, here comes new friendships – the married club couples.
Not all changes are bad.
Once we got married, this opened up to meeting couples who are also newlyweds and enjoying the perks of married life. But, what was most important was the mutual values we all shared about the sacredness of marriage; and how we all understood the growth in our relationships and its stages from being boyfriend and girlfriend to establishing mutual respect and commitment to one another. Also, we enjoyed the social aspect of it that included dinner parties and plenty of double dates. We talked about furniture, house hunting, financial planning, and romantic places to travel together. This was a great change in our lives and we still enjoy it! It went from talking about taking shots of alcohol to talking about more mature things and events in our lives to look forward to.
And then, we got pregnant.
“You just got married 6 months ago, why the hell are you pregnant? You’re going to regret it. You should’ve waited.”
“Your life is over.”
I just found out I was pregnant and one of the very few first friends I told said to me that I should’ve waited. To me, pregnancy isn’t all planned and it’s truly a blessing. How was I to plan the exact year, the exact moment, and the exact birth date? You can’t…no one can. And, as if trying to get pregnant isn’t hard enough! Bearing a child is the most incredible thing anyone could experience and it is truly a miracle. That being said, I couldn’t believe what was coming out of her mouth. Yet, she herself is married and has a child. I was only likely to assume she was unhappy and regretted something from her choices in the past.
I learned that people will tell you their opinions or advice, whether or not you asked for it. I also learned that their negative comments are a reflection of their happiness and lives and that it does not relate to me and my life, and so it does not (and should not) affect me.
The statement “Your Life is Over” is overrated. And the most
@#$% annoying thing I ever heard in my life when I was pregnant and when I gave birth to my son.
I feel totally opposite about my life being over. I love my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, what does Life Being Over mean to them? Being lonely and single, drinking away their sorrows, partying with strangers every night and damaging their liver and just going home to a deadbeat boyfriend. FYI, that was never my life but I’m assuming this was theirs every time people would say my life is over. You can see how irritating it made me feel every time someone would try to dampen my joy of pregnancy. And you’d be surprised, it could even be your closest friend who doesn’t even know she’s hurting you.
Don’t ever compromise on your happiness. Your 2017 should be filled with not caring what others think or considering what people want and expect from you. I will admit that I was such a people-pleaser, making sure everyone in the room was content – from traveling to and fro Los Angeles to keep friends happy and dropping so much cash on traveling for them, when in turn, none of my friends ever came to visit me or my husband. And, get this; I’ve been out of the city for 5 years and none of them ever considered to visit me.
From my experience, people will continue to judge you even if you hand them the silver platter (or even platinum).
How about changes when baby arrived?
Role-play among husband and wife changes inevitably (see blog post: How to Be a Mom and Wife).
Friends near and far will be genuinely happy for you. It will show by how much they want to talk to you and the effort they put in to wanting to see you.
Another great thing about babies is how they bring together new mom friends and closer to existing friends. I am so grateful to have met a lot of amazing mamas who have been helpful in venting, sharing ideas, and being so open and honest about everything that entails being a new parent. Someone had commented about the necessity of mom groups and how she doesn’t need them and that they’re a waste of time for her. I quickly felt so annoyed and offended because of how much I have learned that I appreciate and absolutely love my mom groups!
(Note: My temperament to people and their comments on what’s in my life can also be due to hormones.)
There will be a couple of friends who start to distance themselves from you, not because you’re not a great person, but because they do not share the same interests as you anymore. Or I simply put it as, “ain’t nobody got not time for that!” No, I really don’t have time to go to happy hour or late night dinners. I don’t have time to catch a movie or spontaneously grab a drink. And some friends just don’t want to hang out with you AND the baby. That’s just a reality. Once was an amazing friend is just an acquaintance now. And that’s O.K. You will know when to stop inviting them to do things with you when they frequently say they can’t hang out. And it’s okay to be sad about it. Remember, life goes on.
So, you see here how changes in my life affected relationships and their outcomes. What was once an amazing chapter in my life was then superseded by another. The one piece of advice I want to throw out there is to be open to changes, continue the effort on your part to include each other in your milestones, and at the same time, know when to call it quits if you always feel unhappy around them. You are a beautiful person and the rest of the world can’t wait to meet you.