It’s not always easy to make time for post-baby bonding with your best friend, especially now that a tiny gluttonous cry-machine dominates your every waking moment. But your friendship is important to you, so you do it: You summon the extra energy to pull your bleary-eyed self together for a little one-on-one (plus baby) time with your loyal BFF. It is a joyous occasion; she even holds the baby for you while you take your weekly shower.
And oh, how you’ve craved conversing with an adult human! Sure, you might slip into a brief coma while BFF tells you about tossing her martini on some ass-hat at a bar, but what a relief to finally unload about how it burns to pee with vagina stitches! And you aren’t even self-conscious like you imagined you’d be when you whip out your enormous, swollen boob and stuff it in your screaming baby’s mouth, all while your BFF looks on in slack-jawed awe.
You just… can’t figure out why BFF doesn’t call as often as she used to…
Perhaps it’s the conversation? Take poop, for example:
After having a baby, poop is suddenly on the table as a totally acceptable topic of everyday conversation. Moms love to discuss the physical properties of their baby’s poop; the viscosity, density, hardness, color, smell. It’s like science class, but better, because it’s poop. Poop that came out of a human being that we created!
Even though my own two offspring have already attained the ages of seven and three, I’ve not yet outgrown the “poop talk” phase of parenting. Perhaps when the three-year-old can wipe her own ass I’ll get off the poop talk; but honestly I’m doubtful. However, I understand that a friend who doesn’t have children of her own might not appreciate the dark humor of me catching a handful of my baby’s poop in my bare palm because I’d rather wash my hands than scrub the carpet. I might tell the story, but I’ll tell the abbreviated PG version and then quickly ask about her work or love life before she throws up. (On my carpet.)
Same goes for Nipples. Remember when you used to think the word “nipple” sounded disgusting to the point that if someone dropped the word in casual conversation the hairs on the back of your neck stood up? And how post-childbirth, suddenly all you want to talk about is how your nipples are chafed and bleeding and you have to rub this ointment(another disgusting word) on them, and the baby’s latch is touch-and-go so he’s basically just biting your tender, delicate (gross words!) nipples and omigod your nipples are so HUGE, so unbelievably GIGANTIC, like those bush women on National Geographic, you know? HUGE, wanna see?? NIPPLES, NIPPLES, NIPPLES!
If your BFF truly enjoys hearing you expound upon the topic of Massaging Ointment onto Your Tender Delicate Nipples then she is a very special individual indeed, and you need to buy her a little something nice, like a Volkswagen. But just to play it safe, I’m gonna wager that most childless gals would be just fine sans the nipple expo.
Other conversational topics to approach with caution and/or moderation:
- Vomit/spit-up. (Especially avoid that story of what happened when you were playing airplane with baby and flying him around over your open mouth.)
- Your vagina. (How it tore, bled, got sewn up, how big your labia are now, etc.)
- Your butt-hole. (How you tore straight from vagina to butt-hole, how it hurt A LOT to poop at first, how you’re constipated now for the first time ever, etc.)
- That time your husband tried your breast milk and said it “actually wasn’t that bad.”
Some of these topics should be avoided for the gross factor alone, but some of them are horror stories that are simply better left unsaid, lest you accidentally convince your BFF to get her tubes tied before she’s even married.
Now that we’ve eliminated every current thought in your brain from your conversational repertoire and you’re paralyzed with fear that you will inadvertently sever the one tenuous tie you have with pre-motherhood, here are some conversation ideas:
- Ask your BFF about her life, and when you do, try to maintain an alert expression of interest and empathy. I know you’re unbelievably tired, but for the love of God DO NOT FALL ASLEEP. Your friend’s dating troubles might seem juvenile and boring compared to your exhilarating new life of poop, vomit, and blown-out vaginas, and the solutions to her troubles might seem excruciatingly obvious to you. But that’s only because now all relationships are filtered through your “mom lens.” He texted WHAT to his ‘friend’with the fake boobs? Dump him!!! He’s not the type who would make a good father.
Don’t judge the BFF! She has to learn on her own, just like you did.
STAY AWAKE, SOLDIER! I’M TALKING TO YOU!
- Another possible conversation topic is memories. Remember all that fun, zany stuff you and BFF did pre-life-sucking-parasite, I mean, pre-baby? Talk about that stuff! It will be a great distraction from your sore nipples. And you might even laugh about something other than poop!
- And yes, you actually can talk about the baby! If your BFF is as awesome as mine is, she will ask anyway. Just, you know – no poop/vomit/vagina/butthole talk. Seems obvious now, huh?
The place where you and your BFF hang out might change (your clubbing clothes don’t fit anyway, sweetie), but your friendship doesn’t have to. The thing we new moms have to remember is, we’ve been in their shoes; they haven’t been in ours. That means the job of empathizing falls on us. We have to consider the possibility that our BFFs might not be brimming with enthusiasm to listen in rapt attention as we wax philosophical on all the nauseating aspects of new motherhood.
My BFF and I brainstormed about this post, and what I was surprised to discover is that over the course of our twenty-year friendship, the things that have changed between us have nothing to do with me having babies while her career blossomed. Somehow our friendship has managed to evolve, grow and thrive as its own entity, outside of the bubble that is my family. And I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly how we managed to do that.
Actually, come to think of it… she is one of those rare people who isn’t horrified by a good poop story.
No wonder I love her.