I was so nieve when I decided to become a mother. While I knew some parts of our lives would drastically change (no more weeknight concerts and Red Sox games), I truly believed that my friends would not change. No matter how many times Mike tried to tell me that we would be left behind, I wanted to believe that our child would be a welcome addition to my childless social circle. When some of my closest friends did not come to meet Liam until over two weeks after we were home with him, my defenses turned up.
In hindsight, I can honestly say that the first six months after Liam was born were the hardest I’ve ever experienced. When Liam was a month old, my mom got really sick. We flew down to Florida to see her, knowing it was probably the last time we would see her. Three weeks later, we drove to Maine for Mike’s grandmother’s funeral. We returned home to find two feet of water in our basement due to the great 2010 floods. Two months later, my mom passed away. While all of this was happening, I was trying to keep a tiny human alive. A tiny, crying, colicky, chronically ear infectioned human.
During all of this turmoil, I was home with Liam, lucky enough to have seven months home with him before returning to work. The days were long and lonely. Facebook didn’t help. It reminded me of all the things my friends were doing without me, things I wasn’t included in or invited to. They joined Weight Watchers together, walked local parks, went blueberry picking, out to dinner, and attended concerts. The only reason I knew about these events was Facebook. After months of crying to Mike every time I checked social media, I deleted Facebook. It was freeing, but also further isolating.
Months went by. Liam was much easier and mobile. I joined a mom’s group, hoping to get Liam socialized. As I walked into the playgroup building for the first time, I panicked, realizing I also needed to be social. We continued to attend events. Sometimes I was side-eyed for giving Liam non-organic snacks. Other times, I was the one doing the side-eying. I joked with Mike that making mom friends was like dating all over again.
Eventually, I made amazing mom friends! They are the most important people I know. We vent when needed and help each other out. We text silly things and keep group chats going on messenger. (Who else really understands your excitement about going to the bathroom or Target by yourself?) We plan time to get together a week in advance rather than on the fly, knowing time is precious. We grill and hang out at each other’s house, hosting barbeques that start at 4:30 instead of 7:30. For someone who spent the first two years of Liam’s life feeling incredibly lonely, mom friends are priceless. I have my yoga crew, my local mom friends, a few older friends who later had kids.
My life has changed much more than just passing on weeknight events. We consider sleeping in sleeping past 7:30. We’re proud of ourselves if we can stay up until 10 on a Friday night, remembering when we would just be going out at 10 on a Friday night.
As I think about the people I assumed would be a part of my life now, I can say I am glad I was ditched. While it was excruciating at the time, it forced me to venture out and make new friends. I wouldn’t trade my friends for anything. I don’t think there is any animosity among old friends. Sometimes, we go years without seeing each other and we try to pretend we’re friends when we run into each other. Too much time has gone by to pretend that we will ever again be great friends. I’m thankful for friends who make me think, who challenge me in yoga and running, and who understand the importance of each other.