Chances are if you announce you’re pregnant, you will be inundated with unsolicited advice. People will tell you how to sleep, how to feed your baby, how to lose baby weight and pretty much anything else you didn’t ask for. One thing no one prepared me for were the overwhelming feelings of loneliness. I didn’t know how to cope with a completely new identity as a mom, and losing touch with the people that have been my support system. I never expected to lose so many friends after becoming a parent.
Let me begin by saying I’m an introvert. I’m a very outgoing introvert, but an introvert nonetheless. I could stand in front of a room and give a speech, then rush to my car after the event because I’m petrified of small talk and having to chit chat with people. Aside from my sister, I never had close friends growing up. So, when I hit my 30’s and finally found a group of sister friends I could truly be myself around, I felt I had arrived. They were my tribe, my peeps, and the one group of ladies who really “got me”. I waited over 30 years for a great group of girlfriends, and I finally got them.
Just like any great group of friends, they supported me throughout my pregnancy. They were there to celebrate my milestones every step of the way. But as my crazy life began as a new mom, I started being more MIA from the group. They would invite me to gatherings and dinners, and for one baby-related reason or another I would politely decline. The few girl-dates I was able to go to, I felt I was boring them by monopolizing the conversation with baby stuff. Pretty soon, the invitations stopped coming. I would notice pictures they would post from their gatherings on social media, and I would feel completely bummed and left out. I never expected to lose so many friends after becoming a parent.
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The most recent incident was for my girlfriend Tina’s birthday. I knew she had been planning a dinner for a while and I was determined not to cancel. My fiancé had to work, so I got all my ducks in a row and lined up childcare. When the day came for the party, a cold front had blown in, and my son had a cold. I tried putting him in his carseat to go to the sitter’s, and that became World World III of me wrestling my sick toddler into his chair. As I drove to the sitter’s house I burst into tears. There I was taking my sick baby out in the cold, physically forcing him to do something he did not want to do, all so I could hang out with my friends. How selfish! The mom guilt kicked my butt the entire drive to the restaurant. But I also was so tired of letting my friends down, and for once I wanted to show them that I still would be there to celebrate them as they have for me so many times. I got there late of course, and they all had no clue the sacrifice I had to make in order to spend that time with them.
Seriously, how do moms do it? What am I missing? Why is it that the few times I do something I want to do for myself, I feel like I am stealing from my family? I totally get why I don’t receive invitations from my friends anymore. I mean, who would keep inviting someone out who will always cancel? I know my friends still love me, and I love them. It just hurts to know I’m growing farther away from the people that I’ve connected with for so long… Especially at a time I need more support more than ever. I never expected to lose so many friends after becoming a parent.
I know, I know, you’re saying, “Just make mommy friends.” If it were only that easy for an introvert like me. And truth be told, the idea of forcing myself to get out there and meet new people makes me feel like I’m a middle schooler on the first day at a new school. No thank you!
Motherhood has changed me so much. I feel like I’m barely recognizable between pre-kids and now. I used to love going to happy hour, now I look forward to nights of Disney + with my family. I’m not the same girl I used to be in my girl gang, but at the same time I am. I’m the same person who yearns for great conversation. I’m the same girl who just wants to be understood and heard. I need a group of girls, that’s a void my fiancé can’t fill, and I can’t expect him to. Even though I will forever love my girl gang, our lives are so different. I know there are mommy friends out there somewhere for me, I just have to face my fear of meeting new people. I’m that anxious middle schooler on her first day at a new school all over again, so wish me luck… here I go!