Where has my best friend gone?
When your bestie has a baby, things don’t just change for her, they can change for you too. She may not have as much time for you and if she does, the conversation might be all about the baby.
We’ve put together some tips to help keep your friendship strong after your bestie has a baby.
What about me?
You knew life was changing forever for your best friend but you may not have anticipated how much it might affect your friendship. While you are happy for your friend, you may be also feeling a little left out and forgotten.
If you’re missing your girlfriend, perhaps you could try a new approach to help you reconnect. If she’s struggling to leave the house perhaps you could pop over with coffees instead of heading out to a café. Or maybe go for a walk to the local park together? As she builds confidence as a mum and gets into a routine, there’ll likely be more time for you.
For some mums, texting or using a messaging app is easier than calling as it can be hard to find uninterrupted time to chat. So keep texting and don’t be upset if she doesn’t always reply. Most importantly don’t give up on her. If you’re not a mum yourself it can be hard to step into her shoes to understand why she might not have as much time for you. But stick with her, it might feel at this stage of your lives like she’s not meeting you halfway, but her life and priorities will have changed, and letting her know that you understand this may help.
We can't do all the things we used to
Remember the days you and your bestie would spontaneously go to a bar or a gig and end up dancing all night? Those days may seem long gone, but it’s not necessarily so.
If you’re craving some one-on-one time perhaps you could help find your friend a babysitter, or plan some time with her when she has someone to help her look after the baby. If that’s not possible, why not establish some new baby-friendly traditions that you both enjoy like shopping, gallery-hopping or doing a regular walk?
Don’t assume she won’t want to do certain activities now she has had a baby. Talk to her about what is manageable for her and bub, and try to be flexible. Planning ahead can be tricky for new mums. There will be nights when the baby didn’t sleep or feeding is tricky, and good days too where she may find herself suddenly free for a catch up. Try to be understanding if she doesn’t give much notice for a catch up or cancellation of plans, as she may be finding sometimes you just have to go with it.
You always talk about the baby
When you visit your friend, she tends to talk about her baby a lot. While you are interested and of course care about her little one, you may feel a bit forgotten or a little bored talking about things you can’t relate to or aren’t passionate about.
You could try to gently steer the conversation onto other topics and use phrases like, “I’d like your advice on…” or “What do you think about…” to help her feel more involved and engaged in things happening in your life. Reminiscing on funny stories from the past might also help to take her mind off the very busy job of being a new mum.
If you feel you can be honest with your girlfriend perhaps you could let her know how you’re feeling. Reaffirm that you love her little one and you are interested in hearing all about them, but you’d like her to take more interest in your life too. Perhaps you could talk to her about scheduling some child-free time every now and then so the two of you can hang out.
Don't ask if I'm going to be next
There’s nothing that makes someone feel more single or childless than being asked if they’ll be next to have a baby. It might seem harmless, but what if the person is struggling to - or can’t - have children, doesn’t have a partner or is experiencing relationship difficulties? Perhaps she is even re-thinking whether she wants children at all.
It’s a good idea to tell your friend if she’s saying something that’s upsetting you or confide in her if there are underlying reasons for your feelings. She probably has good intentions and would be mortified if she knew she was upsetting you.
I don't want to lose my friend
More than anything you may be worried that you and your friend will grow apart. Things may have changed, but friendships naturally ebb and flow, and yours will survive if the two of you can learn to adapt. Like every relationship, a little compromise can go a long way.
Try to be understanding particularly in those crazy, busy early days. Don’t give up on each other and try to be honest to ensure there are no underlying tensions.