Why Losing My Friends Meant Losing Myself

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Like most people, I’ve lost my share of friends. Every move was a source of culling, intentional or not. Each time I changed schools, I left friends behind. I’ve lost friends when we drifted away from each other, when our interests diverged, and after unrecoverable fights.

The ghosts of my friendships past still haunt me to varying degrees. The losses all hurt in some way or another but the most hurtful time I’ve lost friends was after I became a mother. Losing them was painful. Depressing. Gut-wrenching. Four years later, I’m still mourning the loss of not just my friends, but what those friendships represented.

When we’re young, many of our friends are chosen for us. Whether by school assignments, activities, or play-dates, forces beyond our control dictate who we are surrounded by. But, as we age, we begin learn that friends are more than just people we’re obligated to be around. By the time we’re adults we’re able to choose our friends for the most part. They’re people who often share our beliefs and interests. Who make us laugh. Who care for us, have fun with us and make us better people.

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And, most tellingly, our friends reflect where we are in life. When I went to art school, I made friends with creative, uninhibited artists. In my early, carefree 20s, my friends were partiers – we hit up bars and clubs at night; brunch was never before noon. A few years later though, I was looking for something more substantial. I wanted to have more meaningful friendships with people I could confide in rather than just yelling in their ear at 2 am, straining to be heard over the music.

I began to value and cultivate friendships with women who were just as much fun on the dance floor as they were chatting over cupcakes or flea market shopping. And I was pleased when we formed a group of all-around, all-day friends. Real friends.

Leaving my partying and single life behind, I got married and pregnant soon after. Everyone was happy for me and we, of course, intended to stay friends after my son’s birth. I wasn’t sure what motherhood would bring, but I knew what kind of mother I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want to lose myself to motherhood. I didn’t want my son to consume both my life and my identity. After all, I was a modern, feminist, independent woman and there was no reason for a baby to change that.

But then I had a baby. A baby who wouldn’t sleep. And as I was swallowed by my deepening depression and an overwhelming anxiety disorder, my former life, complete with friends, ideas and goals slipped away from me.

My depression meant that I wasn’t the best mother I could be. Or the best wife. Or the best friend.

It’s not that I didn’t care about my friends anymore – I absolutely did – I just couldn’t figure out how to fit them into a new life that revolved around nap schedules, feeding schedules, and oh yeah, crying anywhere and everywhere.

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Friendships without cultivation wither and die and that’s exactly what mine did. I had less and less in common with friends from my former life. They were in a totally different place in my life than I was. They didn’t understand what it was like to wake up ten times in one night or get up at four every day for a year and a half. My only priorities were about my family: making sure I could function on a day-to-day basis; keeping my son alive; trying my hardest to keep my strained marriage together.

My friends from my pre-baby life didn’t understand why I couldn’t meet them for dinner, drinks or shopping. They didn’t know that being without my son made me feel like I couldn’t breathe, like a physical part of my body was missing and that I was only whole when I was with him. Even though when I was with him, I was sure I was doing everything wrong. I worried about everything and anything and felt like nothing would ever get better, nothing would ever change. He would never sleep and I would never feel like myself again.

Fortunately, I was able to get help. Therapy, anti-depressants, and my son sleeping into the five o’clock hour allowed me to emerge from the deep pit of depression. Also of help? My “mom” friends.

I am supremely, unbelievably, fantastically lucky to have made several wonderful “mom” friends over the past few years. They were able to understand my challenges as a new mom and support me through them. I’m able to be a new Jen, Mom Jen, with them as we share stories about our kids, husbands and lives. But they haven’t replaced my other friends. I still care about them. I still think about them and miss them immensely.

But like I said, it wasn’t just losing their friendship that was devastating to me. It was losing what our friendship represented. I had lost myself. I often don’t feel like Jen, the friend and person anymore. I am Jen, the Mommy. My pre-baby life is gone. Everything about me and my life has been redefined. Wine glasses? Try sippy cups. Going clothing shopping means buying from sales online for my sons. I’m in bed before I used to go out. And any alone, art or writing time is at the end of the day, after the kids are asleep and the chores are done (are the chores ever really done?).

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Four and half years after having my first son (and a year after having my second), I’m in a much, much better place. A good place. And even though I’ve embraced motherhood, I still think about the kind of person I used to be. The kind of person who wasn’t concerned with nose or bottom wiping, eating schedules, or missed naps. Who was fun, adventurous and spontaneous. I see glimpses of her every so often, but I know she, like her former friendships, no longer really exists.

Related post: Mommy Friends

This piece is a companion piece to Jen’s essay in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends

About the writer

@NoSleepInBklyn

Jen Simon writes for many publications including The Huffington Post, Babble, Scary Mommy, Lifetime Moms, and more. She has contributed to four anthologies. She stays home with her sons—a toddler and a sleep-challenged 5-year-old. To see more of her work, find her on www.JenSimonWriter.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Jo 6 months ago

Wow Jen, thanks for being so honest and real! I actually clicked on this because I feel the same about losing friends – although I’m in the opposite situation, I feel like I’ve lost friends to motherhood. And I miss them.
I wish people were so honest and open in real life, it would make it so much easier to understand what’s going on.
In my situation, motherhood was something I very much longed for but became impossible for me and there was a lot of grief involved. That made it hard for me to be around mothers as I felt, as you do on the other side, that they could not possibly understand how hard this really was for me.
I can see now that they were probably feeling the same about me – that I could not possibly understand how hard it was!
It’s sad. But I came to the conclusion a while ago that both of these statements are probably true! I don’t know how hard motherhood is because I haven’t done it, and my friends who were mothers don’t know how hard it is (emotionally) to not be able to have the children you always imagined you’d have because they have had children. And so the misunderstandings grow and grow and we all get hurt.
It’s hard as a non-mother to hear too much about the whole mothering thing, especially hard if you wanted it and for all sorts of painful reasons it hasn’t happened.
And I get that it’s probably hard as a mother to feel unheard about how hard it is. I too have been guilty of the “but you’ve got everything” feeling about my friends with husbands and children.
We all change. Not having children changes you too. Maybe the secret to it all is to just keep the love and not expect to always understand each other as we all did when we were young and free.
Keep the love and drop the judgments and criticisms. Everyone is struggling in their own way and we can’t all understand each other at the same time.
Maybe we can’t be as close as we were, but we can still love and respect one and another.

Tiffany 10 months ago

I was very lucky in this respect. I have very very few close ties to friendships but somewhere along the road one of those “interests diverged friends” and I ended up on the same path. We’ve known each other for 20 years, and now more than 5 years that we lost each other we’ve gotten back in touch to be mommy friends.

Susie 10 months ago

Fortunately for you, (I hope) your marriage is still intact. Because divorce really does a number on friendships. I had no idea there’d be such a stigma placed on a single mom of three. Very few of my old friends can understand that life and all it requires. So they slowly all fell into the category of acquaintances. I’m happy for you, though. Thanks for a great article.

Stacy Ampole 10 months ago

Such a wonderful article!! You don’t realize who your friends are till you have kids. Unfortunately, I learned while I was pregnant, expecting to share these important moments with my “Best Friend”. But, at 6 weeks when I announced my news, I got a fake happy reaction and then abandoned by my friend of 10 years. It was the toughest time, very emotional and still hurts to think about. My son is now 4 months and I haven’t heard from my “friend” since that day that I was 6 weeks pregnant. Fortunately, having a child, you do make new mommy friends. They understand your situation, you give each other advice, talk about things, it’s nice. I had to put my past behind me and move on. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it’s for the best.

JLA 10 months ago

Wow. So well written. I can relate so much that I could’ve written it! Thanks for helping remind that we’re not alone.

cappergirl 10 months ago

oh, you never know! your old self might still exist and come back as your kids get older. i used to feel exactly like you described. i could have written this. the feeling was so distressing. but now my kids are 11 and 9, and my “mom friends,” who have kids the same age, are now very dear to me and our lives are changing again as the kids are growing up and getting more independent. we are having more fun together with or without our kids (mostly without!!). they are not the same as my old friends. not better or worse, just different. i have a handful of old friends left. none of them have kids. i don’t see them very often or even talk to them very often. but we are still dear to each other. i talked to one of them today in fact, and it absolutely made my day! anyway, don’t give up on your old self. you’re still there somewhere…

Anon 10 months ago

I became pregnant at 17, and gave birth to my son at 18. Since I was living on my own at 16, I caught a slight glimpse of the fun party life filled with “friends” and adventures. My son is 3 1/2 years old, and my daughter is 8 months old now. I have no family, and one single friend who is also busy with her 2 younger children..that means if I want to leave my house I am surrounded by 2 to 4 children. I don’t get free time of any sort, and it’s hard. I can only hope that someday I can catch a break, and things will just seem easier to handle. Your article shows me that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, even if I can’t quite see it yet.

April G 11 months ago

I think in some way, I dream of that woman to return. She had more determination and drive, while I spend so much time giving kisses and hugging my children. I often feel like I’m in a hamster wheel as my days roll together, but overall I know the old me is gone.

Nicole 1 year ago

I know my lack of friends is mostly my own doing. I’ve simply moved around a lot. I also didn’t get married and start my family until my mid-30s, far past when all my old friends started their families. There’s a huge difference between having a 10 year old with their homework and after school activities, etc., and a baby or toddler. And it’s not like kids at those ages will hang out together.

But, speaking to the “losing yourself” issue, I can totally relate to that as well. My hobbies simply don’t fit into my life right now…we are still new to our community, which is a very small town, and I have no idea how to go about making friends. Our neighbors are nice enough, but most are empty nesters, or have kids, but also grew up in the area so seem to already have their friends in place. As far as hobbies, I simply can’t do things with set schedules, like cooking classes, joining a choir, community theater, etc., because my husband works very odd hours and i have no idea how to go about finding a sitter. So I’m stuck in this hopeless no-friends, no-life kind of place with no idea how to get out of it. It really does suck.

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Hmm 2 years ago

As a “non mother”, I find it so hard to keep on reading that we have no idea about the changes that occur in a woman’s life when she has a child. Do mother’s believe they were totally ignorant to the fact their worlds were never going to be the same once giving birth? No! They weren’t, so those of us with unused uterus’ aren’t blind to this either.
Yes, I have less contact with my parent friends – because I KNOW how much they have going on, when I get home at 7pm the last thing they will want is a phone call from me! I am constantly terrified on interrupting a sleeping baby /routine / dinner / bath time. I don’t want them to see that call and feel guilty about not wanting to call me back at 9pm when they could be watching tv / finally getting to eat /enjoying a rare moment of peace. But we don’t understand?? I’m so over mummy comparisons and criticisms on social media – (I found this post because a Mummy friend shared it. It’s all so damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Anon 10 months ago

    Of course we knew our lives would change once we had children, but there is absolutely no way possible to prepare yourself for what is coming. You don’t realize how hard it really is to get 2 hours of sleep a night for months at a time. You don’t think that your friends will just abandon you. You think, or at least hope, that you’ll feel comfortable leaving your children with someone to have some free time on occasion. If you have mom friends, don’t stray away because you think they’re busy. Because odds are, they’re sitting at home with their children because they can’t go anywhere at 7 at tnight because it’s bath and bedtime for the kids. Call them, ask if you can drop by and hang out for a couple hours (even if it is boring as Hell) because I can almost promise she will appreciate it so much. Being a mother is extremely lonely..and that makes no sense because we’re always surrounded by our kids. We need friend time, but in order for that to happen our “non-mother” friends need to make a greater effort than us, because like I said, it’s extremely difficult to leave the house for anything other than work, errands, child-related activities.

Amber Hailey Koepke 2 years ago

This is a depressing article to me and doesn’t have to be true! Without being YOU you have nothing. Be yourself and don’t lose that person just because you created a child (and hopefully you have a supportive partner who allows you to do so).

Chloe Jeffreys 2 years ago

What a painfully poignant and true piece of writing. Thank you for writing it. The truth is that those mom friends also will shift and change. Your parenting choices as your children grown will affect those friendships. And then one day your children will grow up and leave the nest, and once again you might find yourself in a new place with new relationships and new friends. You will continue to mourn all of these women who have come and gone in your life.

Bridget 2 years ago

Woah it’s honestly like I wrote this! I didn’t realise other women felt this or went through this! Thank you for writing so honestly and being brave enough to share. I’m still trying to be ok with the new me and feel like enough for my son

Nicole Van Hoose 2 years ago

It gets better! My boys are 13 and 11, so we have just started getting back to being spontaneous and having more time together and for ourselves.

Nicole Van Hoose 2 years ago

Debbie Neal, please take this with the upmost concern that I can offer–your daughters are NOT your friends, they are your children. To put that on them is harmful to you and them. They will leave you. They will screw you over (at least it will feel that way, because kids take their parents for granted). You may want to talk to someone about these feelings.

Lish Dish 2 years ago

I lost so many friends because of moving around… but you gain more friends along the way.

Emily 2 years ago

Very well said. Particularly the bit about expecting to be a relaxed parent, and then finding you’re anything but. I do wonder how I became such a devoted mother that I lost so much of myself. I’m hoping that when my youngest starts school I’ll be able to work a bit, start to relax and see if the old me is still in there somewhere!

Kristina M Kay 2 years ago

I took/take my son withe to hang out with my friends. We do lunch, go shopping, they help me watch him on more adventurous excursions, etc. Yeah, life is a lot different, but real friends will fit into your life if you let them. And my kid is usually awesome in public because he has always been taken with. I can’t wait until he is older and we can really start having fun!

Pamela Ann 2 years ago

I can totally relate to this story. Thanks for sharing. I miss my old self and am still settling into motherhood. My daughter is 8 years old. I have lost all of of my old friends and am struggling to connect with new ones.

Kelly 2 years ago

The other side of that coin would be the friends we lose because they become mommies. I became a mother for the first time in my thirties. I don’t myself excluded by my friends who had children. Sometimes it was a matter timing; sometimes a matter of effort. I’ve found the third kid to truly be the nail in the coffin. At least it was for me and another momma friend of mine. Life does take you in different directions. You will probably never be that person you were in your twenties, but Sheesh -do you really want to be? Someday the freedom to go out until two or go shopping midafternoon will exist again. Maybe by then your old friends well have kids and you can give them the support you didn’t have, but now know they need.

Mandy Engelbrecht 2 years ago

yes they do – & I too miss the pre-child Mandy

Linda Ode 2 years ago

The friends who cared to accept my new self did. Others didn’t. It was the amount of effort they were willing to put in when I was unable to put forth any effort at all for a few months. Now things are getting back to (a new) normal. I’m thankful for the friends who stuck by me and are coming back. The ones who aren’t, well, it’s sadly their loss. This was a great article, thanks for sharing.

Anna Hart 2 years ago

Yes. So much so I’m going to try to get back in touch with a past friend!

Just a Girl 2 years ago

I relate so much. I am the last of my old group to have children and I rarely see any of my friends.
I saw them all the time pre my kids, when they all had husbands and kids, so was expecting the same. Nope.
I too am struggling with PPD and PPA. I told a couple of close friends and pretty much haven’t heard from them since.
Right now it makes me feel frustrated and angry, and now I need to go cry again.

shama-mama 2 years ago

I always had a hard time finding friends after i graduated and moved away. I was lonely in a new city. I couldn’t figure out how to make friends…lame, huh? I figured my socializing came from interacting/lunching with co-workers and i was content. After having kids, i used them as an excuse not to try to find anymore friends. I always made sure they had playdates etc but i couldn’t connect with the other moms that well. Maybe one here or there. But now that my daughters are getting older (eldest is ten) i have found my girlfriends. I love hanging out with them, they give me opinions on my style and we giggle through movies (not animated anymore). But i know they will gorw up and away. But for now i will enjoy my girlfriends, later i’ll worry about how to go out and make some friends on my own again.

Debbie Neal 2 years ago

No I never had friends so it doesn’t effect me when I had my first daughter I had my first friend I just had a baby girl so now I have 2 friends. They will always love me and never leave me or screw me over they are the best friends any woman can have

Anne B. 2 years ago

I understand priorities shift once you have a kid, but if you can’t answer phone calls and texts from concerned non-mom friends who want to be part of your life, then you deserve to lose those friends. What, did you lose all 10 of your fingers as soon as you gave birth and can no longer return messages? Give me a break. It’s a two-way street.

Rachel Karns 2 years ago

Loved this, thanks for sharing.

Elisa Trauman 2 years ago

Wow! Too true. ;(

Nicole Struck 2 years ago

It’s wonderful to know that I am not the only one who feels that way. I totally agree that motherhood changes you. You can never go back to the person you were.. because now you wear your heart on the outside and you are not the most important person in your life anymore.

sara 2 years ago

Lost friends when I had my first son, then they had babies and we reconnected. And then I got married and the same thing. I’ve seemed to have been forgotten by everyone and the list to this day continue yes to grow. It does hurt, especially days when you really need a friend…

Jill 2 years ago

This is so much how I feel, I’m 29 with 3 kids under 5. I have an extreme void where My friends and self used to be . I still have my fiancé but that relationship sometimes feels strained because of my lack of self confidence and the huge change I’ve gone through since having babies, I mostly feel like I have no clue who I am( other than mom) and really don’t have any mom friends that I talk to. I just hope it gets better because some days I’d like to just run away from my life. I used to work at a semiconductor place and had quite a few friends all of which worked with me there and then quit there and lost my whole social group I have since been working at a fraternal organization with members that are mainly 50+. i love some of my members but it doesn’t do anything for my non existent social life. Sorry for the rant but I never really get to express such things.

LaShanda Porter 2 years ago

So true. The scenario doesn’t fit me completely, but the situation of losing ones you thought would be a friend for life is felt deeply, but everything happens for a reason. You cherish the memories, and move on to make more with those currently in our lives.

Claire Green 2 years ago

Well, at least I’m not the only one. All us lonely mums should get together and prove we are cooler than all those yuppy hipster childless people. As long as it is before 8pm.

Laci Duke 2 years ago

I’m sorry but if you can’t leave your child for 2 hours without your world ending, you don’t need friends. Maybe when they’re new newborns but once they’re around 3 months it’s okay to go to lunch! You’d think that you’d need a break to just breathe and just be you! I’ve never experienced this & thankfully neither have my mom friends.

    Mollie 10 months ago

    It’s not that you can’t leave them for 2 hours, per se. It’s that when I did make the massive effort to arrange to meet up with friends, I felt like I was a complete alien sitting around a table at brunch listening to my “best friends” chatter about how hung over they were, the best restaurant they went to, the new guy they met. I didn’t have to words to express my feelings to these friends of 20+ years because I had been up 5 times the night before, and 3 times the night before that, and for the past 9 months… my brain so exhausted. It’s hard to put into words how overwhelming it is when you are in the middle of it, especially when people pretty much only want to hear that “it’s hard but so rewarding” or say things like “you’re so lucky – I don’t even have a boyfriend, let alone a family”. They’d invite me to dinners that started at 9pm, or have birthday parties at a bar we all used to frequent that I couldn’t bring my baby to. It wasn’t them who changed, it was me. And I couldn’t unchange that part of me that was now a mom, so I felt so alone and so distracted even when we did hang out (did the baby go down for her nap? are my boobs leaking? do i have anything interesting to talk about other than baby related stuff? nope). And I know that stuff is really boring to people who haven’t gone through it – and all those pre-baby thoughts I had about “not being one of those moms” went right out the window just like this author said because I was so unprepared for how hard it would be to have a high-needs baby who was colicky and never slept and who just was a big crankypants (he’s a wonderful 4 year old and happy to report way less cranky now). And they’d literally be so awkward about talking about kids, and somewhat dismissive like, “well, you should have known what you were getting into – everyone says kids are hard!” or make comments like, “and that is exactly why I don’t want to have kids”. My baby didn’t like being held by other people so he didn’t endear himself to people he saw only on occasion. I’m so envious that you didn’t experience any of this.

Tracey Hutchison Verbakel 2 years ago

Yep

Jenn Galbraith 2 years ago

Only one. And I want to sock that bitch. A girl named Teresa. Ex girlfriend.

Nick Liz Callao 2 years ago

I want to cry. I miss my old self too. Spontaneous, extremely funny, friendly, very fun to hang with, sweet and charming…. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I’m like in the middle of figuring my new self out.
And, um, what’s a friend any more these days???

Jena Nott 2 years ago

I can absolutely relate to this.

Dee 2 years ago

I think Facebook lets them haunt you a little more. I was one of the first in my group of friends to go maternal. I watch as my old friends go to medical school, party in Vegas and climb mountains. I drive a mini-van and my day revolves my girls nap and meal routines. Just as I have felt some of my old self returning now that my youngest is 1, I look forward to getting to know myself again and discovering the new me more as they grow. Plus it is going to be awesome still being plenty young enough to do all those things once my girls are off to their grown up lives.

Jocelyn Zellmer 2 years ago

I was lucky that I never went through any depression, but the rest of this is spot on!

Valérie Boucher 2 years ago

I can really relate… So sad :-(

Jessie Pinchon 2 years ago

Friends will fall under these three categories: reasons, seasons, and a lifetime!

Suzanne 2 years ago

Wow, this really made me think. I’ve been there. Maybe without quite so much depression, but definitely as much if not more anxiety. My kids are a good bit older now (18, 15 and 11). I’ve found that now that they are somewhat independent (though you will be surprised at how dependent a 18-year-old girl can be) I am starting to go back to the mode of “picking my own friends.” For the last 18 years, my friends have largely been like the kid friendships you described. I was friends with people because they had kids the same age. I didn’t really pick them, I was just “with” them, either because of classrooms, playgroups, sports, PTA… whatever.

A lot of these friendships have disappointed me and I’m sure that I have disappointed some of these friends. The weird thing is that as the kids age (as you observed), they start to decide who their friends will be, and it’s not always going to be your kid or their kid. Kids figure out what they are looking for in a friend… what makes them feel whole, and sometimes that maturing and independence gets in the way of all these mommy friendships.

Some of my mommy friendships are very real and lasting, and I treasure them, but not all of them are that way. Many convenience friends …. who are not really supportive friendships… They begin to sour… not fade… actually sour, and it’s not pretty.

However, time passes, the kids get even more independent (at lease socially), and from what I’ve seen the moms largely get over it, and we all move on and start looking for those real friendships again. I have actually made a bit of a personal rule that new friends would preferably not have kids my kids’ ages/genders. So far it has worked out beautifully. I have re-connected with some of my awesome pre-baby friends, and I don’t have that weird competitive mommy thing with my new friends to contend with because their kids are in different stages/social circles. And then there are the mommy/convenience friendships that I have made that are drama free – we have a lot of shared experiences and I’m so lucky to have met and bonded with them in MommyLand.

It gets better, and you get your life/real friendships back. In fact, those friendships get stronger because you are all more mature, grateful and tolerant. And the road to get there really isn’t so bad.

Michele Reid 2 years ago

Wow. Yes they do.

Liz Brooks 2 years ago

Perfect read and so very true!

Christine Aurora 2 years ago

I’ve lost many friends along the births of my children. I married young &’my high school friends were living their dreams of going to the top universities in the state & I felt like I had no future but all that changed. I went to school then during that time had another child & bounced back. I had mommy friends but they were all about the party life still & I couldn’t see myself doing that. Maybe every once in awhile I would have a couple drinks & dance but my kids were always in the back of my mind. It was until I was going through a divorce did I really see the true colors in my friends. But now I’m very grateful for the mom friends I have close to me which are MissMeliss Moore & Misty Dennis & Shelsey Loya. Small circles lead to less drama.

Karen Dixon 2 years ago

Friendships are not all the same, some are only going to be temporary. We should learn from all of them. Sometimes you catch up many years down the road and if they were good you will pick up right away.

Mollytopia 2 years ago

I had a similar experience when my daughter was born – with depression, the change in friends and lack of social life. The good news is after all the people in your house can feed themselves and poop in the toilet, you will have a little more freedom – hooray! The fun and spontaneous parts probably aren’t gone – they’re just hibernating : ) Excellent post!

Belle LaVacca 2 years ago

In many failed friendships, it’s not you, it’s them.

    Savanna Holland 2 years ago

    But there are times you’re “them” and they’re “you”.

Betsy Argentieri 2 years ago

So true- and it always feels good when I read these articles, that I’m not alone. You learn to be friends with people who can relate, and who support and not judge. I’ve lost friends- but I’ve gained a lot too.

Nicole D’Ambrosio 2 years ago

I’ve come to accept that I don’t actually have any friends anymore. I’ve tried to rebuild past friendships but to no avail. I feel blessed to have my son and my fiancée but to be honest I do miss having that closeness with someone. Sometimes I just pick up my phone trying to think of someone to call and end up giving up because there’s no one to answer the other side. My family is my life and I still wouldn’t trade it to go back.

    Kylie 2 years ago

    Me too. I always call my mom who drives me nuts every time. I’m so glad I have my husband at least. I really feel for single moms.

Carrie Leonard 2 years ago

Wow. I could have written this post, down to the sleep deprivation and post partum anxiety!

Denise Delamore 2 years ago

My best friend of 13 years shut me out after my daughter was born 6 years ago. It still hurts and I still miss her. :/

Kendra Michelle 2 years ago

So true! All my friends without kids should read this!

    Jane 1 year ago

    I don’t have kids and I’m reading this. The comments too. I followed the link from a friend’s post- a friend who recently had a baby 2 months ago and has not invited me to meet her baby! My first thought was ‘#11 should be the non-mom friend’. The friend who will babysit your kids (for free of course) dozens of times before your kid is 5- because I have been that friend. A mom friend with kids doesn’t do that.
    Has it ever occurred to you all that your friends ‘without kids’ feel shut out of your new life, that they will never measure up to the love you have for your new child. Call them- tell them how you feel. That you stil need that friendship. It’s a two way street. I have remained good friends with friends who have kids now- they would count me among their best friends. Sisters.

Tracey McGee Piparo 2 years ago

Lonely. I feel it. She feels it.

Christy Kutchma 2 years ago

Story of my life… Except that after 12 years, I remarried and did it all again. Hooray!

Jenn Sullivan 2 years ago

My best friend moved out of state a year and a half ago. We went from seeing each other 4 times a week to maybe twice a year. I’m still trying to get over it. Seeing her posts on Facebook with her new friends commenting his hard that she’s adjusting and settling in her new place. I miss her like crazy and I’m a bit depressed about it.

Valarie Bradshaw 2 years ago

I am going through this again as I finally had friends that fit into my life with a 6 year old, now I have a 6 month old and while I am still on the go all the time I feel like most of my friends have disappeared again. Oh well, I guess one day They will be out of the house and then I will finally get my forever friends! Of course, a lot of this intensifies since I married a guy in the military and we move

Cameryn May Miller 2 years ago

Love this, a lot of truth in this post!

Cortni Petrucci 2 years ago

I’m in the process of losing my best friend of 10 years. I had another baby and it’s so hard to go anywhere now and I don’t get invited or even called for weeks at a time. I see her tagged and her posting things with our friends and it breaks my heart.

Jodi Spignese Russell 2 years ago

This is such a reflection of my life!! I am getting better now but it was so hard day to day for such a long time.

Kristine Barrett 2 years ago

This is where I am right now…

Alicia Green Dettmann 2 years ago

I was just talking to my husband about this tonight. I lost friends when I gained a family. People change. Priorities shift. We grow up and move on. It’s just unfortunate that sometimes you feel alone in a world that used to be filled with people. If they wanted to stay in your life, they would have made an effort. Instead of an excuse.

    Kylie 2 years ago

    I so agree. My best friend since birth dropped me so quick when I got married. It’s been four years and I very rarely see her. She’s never even seen my house. I think she would try harder if she wanted to. But I can’t blame her too much, I know I’m boring to a non-mom.

Vicky Lee 2 years ago

I’ve lost friends while being a mom, over ridiculous and petty things…it hurt so much, and I wish all of the time that I could recover those friendships back, but I know I probably can’t, so I just try to put it in the back of my mind

Jennifer Zapf 2 years ago

Even differing parenting styles will kill friendships. It’s ok though. some of those people are better left in memories. And fB, which was supposed to reunite old frends, well, again those friends are better left in memories. I was happier when that is all they were, memories, fB only created more anxiety for me, and so to memories they went again….
I thought my friends would still be my friends but when I moved 10 miles down the road I was all of a sudden out of her traffic pattern… after 20+years… she’s a bitch, and I finally see her for who she is…

Lisa David 2 years ago

Oh boy does this hit home with me. I barely remember that person I used to be.

Jil Sanchez 2 years ago

This is the most amazing time if my life and I believe I have the most important job I will ever have. However, this is the loneliest time I could ever imagine. I had no idea.

    Alissa de Koning 2 years ago

    Yes.

    Ilia Diaz-Alvarado 2 years ago

    Sooo very very true

    Kylie 2 years ago

    I agree. It is so lonely.

    Mollie 10 months ago

    YES. A thousand times.

Lizette Alvarado Stradford 2 years ago

I was the opposite and even with 2 kids, I would find the time to stay connected with my friends but it seemed they were the ones pulling away…and now not only are my children older, but I have moved back to my home state and no one seems to have any time for me but the kicker, most don’t even have kids or are married!!! Also, it is so damn hard meeting new people, and I have been in my current town for a year and have given out my # and called them but nothing…I refuse to keep chasing people :(

    Jennifer Zapf 2 years ago

    this is a very hard age to make friends, I am right there with you. I moved to this small town where everyone grew up and moved to the next street over – can you imagine how unimaginable that is… ugh.. I’m the outsider, my kids were young when we got here and they are still the outsiders – but it is probably because I am an introvert…
    Try to smile and share all your time with your kids, I know it is tough boy do I know..
    I thought my friends would still be my friends but when I moved 10 miles down the road I was all of a sudden out of her traffic pattern… after 20+years… she’s a bitch, and I finally see her for who she is…

    Lizette Alvarado Stradford 2 years ago

    that sucks and thanks for sharing :)…I don’t want anyone to ever think I don’t love my kids, but I deserve to have a little me time with friends but they suck now a days…I have a former friend like that too, she rather listen to her boyfriend that has never met me but fills her head with nonsense like we are in high school and I don’t have time for that shit!!!

Jodi Klein Munzer 2 years ago

There’s a lot of truth here. But I think adding in a challenging full time job plus pressing family “stuff” – it’s really hard to find any balance.

Elizabeth Born 2 years ago

I went from party doll to married and pregnant. Everyone disappeared. I felt I totally lost my identity. Once my son started school, I was finally able to meet other mothers. But, I still struggle with reconciling my two selves: mother/wife and the true person I am inside.

Debbie Ng 2 years ago

Sometimes even the closest friends drift away. Sometimes people change, and you lose anything in common with them. (Different ages, different stages of life)

I guess I have just gotten used to this happening. I still remember certain friends with fondness, but others were meant to be a limited term arrangement.

    LaShanda Porter 2 years ago

    So true.

Stephanie Ouellette 2 years ago

Resonates deeply. Dang.

Jennie Reis 2 years ago

Your life is supposed to change after having kids to one degree or another. If it doesn’t, something’s wrong and it’s probably the kid that’s suffering from it.

Stephanie Babinski Brewer 2 years ago

This makes me very sad. Yes, priorities get rearranged with kids, but one of those priorities must also be ourselves. Having a baby does not mean you have to give up nights out with the girls, you have to realize that they are as important to being a good, sane, and healthy mom as the things you do for your kids.

Naomi Kragh 2 years ago

Very true and accurate article!!! It is really sad. But I still choose my children over anything. Its sad to lose friends, but my children aren’t going anywhere… And friends who don’t like it are gone very quickly.

Mary 2 years ago

As your kids get older, you will get some of your self back. My child is six, and he plays independently sometimes, freeing me up to do something for myself! And if/when your old friends transition to the married/kids life, you might reconnect. But if you don’t, you will find new friends that share your interests, both as a mom and a creative professional!

Ashley Marie Steinkamp 2 years ago

I lost a lot of friends I thought I had and gained a lot of friends I thought were just acquaintances.

    Ellen Grahl 2 years ago

    The same thing happened to me. I’m also going to say the same is true for me with some family members.

Rebekah Preston Hawkins 2 years ago

I felt like this with my first son. I felt very lost. But the good news is, the friendshios that have stayed have become stronger and the mommy friends I have made, have become my village.

Amber Donea 2 years ago

This hit home…still haunted for sure!!

Ashley Barr Carroll 2 years ago

Great article :) I talk to my best friends pretty much everyday… all moms and i wouldnt survive without them telling me they are just as nuts :)

Katelyn Saylors Bigbie 2 years ago

So true

Sarah Johnston 2 years ago

I had my daughter very young and thankfully my friends stayed around

Lisa Ingegniero 2 years ago

I could have written this myself. Unfortunately, it seems like I can’t relate to anyone in my life anymore.

    Mollie 10 months ago

    I feel ya. My mommy group literally saved me as I couldn’t relate to friends or family at all – now I feel very close to those moms and their kids. My mother just didn’t want to hear anything than how in love I was with motherhood (which wasn’t how I felt a lot of the time) as she only has rosey memories of having a young child, my friends with kids kind of got me but they happened to have really easy babies compared to mine so they couldn’t relate to my sleep struggles and didn’t seem to understand why I felt so overwhelmed and out of sorts… Forget about my childless friends – they didn’t have a CLUE what I was going through and weren’t very interested, frankly. I felt possibly the most disconnected from my husband of all people once we had a baby. That was not expected and pretty traumatizing. He was so distant and disconnected to my new life as a mother. He kept saying he “missed his wife” (we were together 10 years before baby) but didn’t help me nearly as much as I needed and didn’t seem to enjoy fatherhood very much so he was half-assed about everything, so it was a downward spiral of resentment and distance growing. Now that our child is 4, things are a lot better, but we went through some dark times. I can see why so many marriages fail after having kids.

Mel 2 years ago

This hits home for me. I too was the first of my group to get married and have a baby. I also recently moved out of my home city/state. I am close to my sister and my husband (fortunately) but all of my friends from days gone by have moved on (or not, depending on what you consider moving on). I hate that I have lost them as I wish I had someone that was not related to me legally or otherwise to talk to. They’ve started getting married and having babies, but that was not enough to bring us back together. I am painfully insecure and that manifests as shy which probably comes off as bitchy on occasion. I don’t think I am worthy of people’s friendship or that they are just putting up with me. It makes making new friends in my new home town very difficult. Thanks for posting.

    Jess 2 years ago

    Mel, other than the fact I don’t have a sister, you just described me and my life perfectly!

      Kylie 2 years ago

      Me too. Exactly.

Dana Mattini 2 years ago

This is a wonderful article. They don’t haunt me though; I am not defined by my children, though they have redefined how I see things. I am fortunate that my friends are my friends no matter their position in life. My best friend is a state away and never plans to have children. But she loves spoiling mine when she sees them. And though it may be months between visits, nothing ever really changes.

Shiwani Dokania Singh 2 years ago

Such a well written article and so so true!

Charis Andrews Hanberry 2 years ago

I do have ghosts from past friendships. Most of them have nothing to do with having or not having children though. I feel sorry for this woman; this post is so sad!!

Melissa Lavender 2 years ago

This is true, but even close friends who also have children flip their lid and call it quits with you.. For no apparent reason.

    Barbara Mastroddi-Lackey 2 years ago

    That happened to me, and it hurt. One of my first post-college friends (we met at a course we took together) and I had the best times, lots of laughs, and she was the sweetest person you could know. Even after I got married, I still made time for her and my other single friends. Then a boyfriend came into my friend’s life, they married, started having children, and somehow, she got sucked not only into his vortex (he is from an American-born but still culturally/religous Greek Orthodox family) but cut me off. I get a holiday card every year, but no note, no calls. It sucks.

    William Awesome 9 months ago

    And why is that?I don’t understand

Sara von Nordheim 2 years ago

If your friends can’t provide kindness, understanding and support during any major change in your life circumstances (e.g. having a child, having a serious illness/accident, becoming unemployed or needing to be a full time carer for a parent etc.), are they really friends? They may simply be acquaintances for good times, nothing wrong with that and you discover who your true friends are pretty quickly, which is a nice thing.

    Kelz Pyffer 2 years ago

    I think sometimes some people go thru a drastic life transition and don’t realize how they can push people away.

    Sylvia 10 months ago

    I couldn’t agree with you more. The hardest thing for me is the realization that not everyone I thought was my bff is whether or not they have kids.

another mama 2 years ago

Wow! Right in the feels. My son is 15 months old, and I fell exactly this.

Jennifer Bennett King 2 years ago

I wonder why some moms lose themselves and others don’t.

    Kelz Pyffer 2 years ago

    Some moms put their kids first, others put themselves first.

      Laynie 2 years ago

      And some judge other mothers…some do not.

      Kim 2 years ago

      That’s a good question. I know for me (& I’m someone who puts my kids first) I didn’t “lose myself” because my definition of “me” has never been static. I never thought of myself as “young single partier” (though I’ve been that) or sahm (though I am that). I am just Kim at this stage in my life

      Though I suppose that is actually a MORE static definition of myself. So I don’t know. Maybe it’s a bit of both: not letting your current situation define you & having a solid core identity.

      Anyway. It’s a good question. I think I’ll think about it more. Because you’re right: it does seem that some women “lose themselves” and others don’t. I’m sure hormonal factors and depression are a signifigant variables.

      Donna 2 years ago

      There’s nothing wrong with putting your kids first, nothing wrong with putting yourself first. The most important thing is that you’re a happy mom. If you are the kind of mom who wants to put your kids first, then you have to do that. But if you’re not fulfilled doing that, then you have to put yourself first. We all value different things and there’s no judgement in that.
      I struggled with leaving my career to become a work-from-home Mom, even though it’s exactly what I wanted to do. I couldn’t understand how some moms could have the career and still raise perfectly happy, content little people. A friend put it into perspective for me when she said we all value different things. For me, I valued being at the extramurals more than I valued being at a board meeting. Some moms value their time with their friends more than they value putting their kids to sleep every single night. You have to be true to yourself.

      If you’re happy with who you are, your kids will be happy.

        Katie 10 months ago

        Donna,

        Thank you. Your comment really resonated with me. For a while I felt that I had lost myself is motherhood, because I put everyone above myself in terms of meeting needs.

        I was resentful for a while, looking at my family as though they had taken something from me… which isn’t true at all for me. They only took what I gave them.

        It wasn’t working for me, putting everyone else first. So I changed the dynamic. I still do a lot for my family, but I’m done it in ways that make me happy.

        A happy mommy can be a better mommy, so why not try to be happy?

    Didi 2 years ago

    I think another huge reason that some lose themselves and some don’t has to do with the type of person they were pre-children. Someone who’s primary joys in life are joys or hobbies that can be adapted to young children might not lose themselves as much. Or perhaps you could have a difference between a natural homebody versus someone who is out more. There are (very few) moms who are able to easily find a balance right away as well, while others struggle with it. The point is NOT to lose yourself and not to judge those that do OR those that don’t.

      Mesha 10 months ago

      Very very true. I felt I had lost myself until I made the time for my old joys again.. Reading, sewing, knitting and the occasional Xbox game :p now I feel like me again.. With a little minion running around and another growing in my belly.

      Beth Aucoin 10 months ago

      I think that’s very true. I had a very difficult time transitioning from pre to post baby while my sister had very little difficulty transitioning. I am naturally very extroverted and I had lots of plans of things I wanted to go and do and places I wanted to see, and when I had a baby all of a sudden I couldn’t do any of those things anymore. I had no time to paint or read a book, let alone travel. My prebaby friends loved me, but they all but deserted me thinking I that I didn’t need them anymore. I was stuck at home in the dark (literally and figuratively) with no one to confide in. My sister on the other hand is naturally introverted and a homebody. She took to motherhood like it was no change at All, and many Times I envy her for that. Who we are prebaby I think can really determine the difficulty of the transition. For those who aren’t bothered by the change, go you! That’s awesome And I’m happy for you! For those who slip into depression or are having as hard of a time as I had transitioning or finding mom friends, keep your head up. You’re just as good of a mommy and you’ll find balance eventually. What we all need is a big hug, its hard and we don’t need to make it any harder.

    Steph 2 years ago

    I think part of it may also have to do with what kind of child(ren) you have. I don’t feel like I lost myself at all, I just feel like I’ve added “mom” to my pre-existing identity. But apart from the usual sleep regressions, my daughter has slept reasonably well. She will nap virtually anywhere and is very easy-going. So I’ve been able to work a full-time job and still have energy to hang out with my friends. And because my daughter is so well-behaved and easy-going, my friends are always happy to do child-friendly activities, so I get to connect with my friends while still spending time with my daughter. I’m actually closer to my child-free friends after having a baby than I am to my mommy-friends, believe it or not.

    But if my kid had been a nightmare sleeper? Or if she wasn’t so easy-going and flexible? Things might have been different. I’d still have to work full-time, so I’d still have the career-oriented part of my identity, but odds are my relationships with my friends would have suffered. So I think a big part of it is actually just luck.

      Mollie 10 months ago

      You are so right. As someone with a kid in the opposite camp as yours, I think the type of kid you have is a huge factor. So is the type of person you were before kids (the introvert homebody vs extrovert who needs action in their life). I honestly could not believe the levels of sleep deprivation that I endured and I just wanted to cry most of the time – moms who had babies sleeping through the night or the easy-going ones who never cry made me angry. It seemed so unfair that I had such a high-needs baby (healthy and wonderful, but not an “easy” baby that is for sure). And my friends who weren’t moms yet had absolutely no clue what I was going through and no interest, really. They’d make offhand comments like “I’ve heard a sleep schedule is important” and then go back to talking about how tired they were from being at the bar until 2am the night before. And I felt like a literal alien around them.

Bree 2 years ago

Wow! Thanks for writing this. I had such a similar experience being a new mum, particularly the depression, feeling overwhelmed and feeling like things were never ever going to change. I lost some pretty significant friendships around that time too. Like you, I made some new “mom” friends and things have really looked up since then (my son is 5 and a half now). Thanks again

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