It's impossible to adequately assume how motherhood will change your life. I mean, you can attempt to prepare yourself as much as possible, but the future is unpredictable and life doesn't care how prepared you feel you are. I didn't know how giving birth would change my relationship with my mom; I didn't know how breastfeeding would change my relationship with my partner; I definitely didn't know how motherhood would change my friendships. It's sad to say, but I lost some friends after becoming a mom, and realized there are things every mom who has lost a friend should know; things that will make the absence of a once close confidant at least somewhat manageable.
I had friends who thought my "life was going to end" once I successfully procreated and was responsible for another human being. I had friends who laughed behind my back, saying that my career would inevitably fall by the wayside and that my partnership would suffer (even going so far as saying I'd eventually be a single mother) because we brought a baby into the mix. I had friends who had very specific ideas about how I should raise my child and, when I didn't adhere to those ideas, chose to argue and attack and, eventually, dismiss me from their lives. And then, of course, I had friends I simply didn't see as often, and our friendships faded into the past through no fault of, well, anyone's. We were simply growing in separate directions and the logistics of keeping those friendships alive were, for lack of a better term, not worth it. There's no ill-will harbored or sour feelings shared between us; we just realized that life pushes people in different directions and, sometimes, continuing a friendship no longer makes sense.
I know I'm not the only mother who has lost friends to either motherhood itself, or the choices she makes as a parent, and those loses can feel like divorces. They're painful; they can be confusing; they're hurtful; they're also, sometimes, unavoidable. So, if you're a mother and have found yourself sans a few friends, here are a few things you definitely need to hear and know. Honestly, and sometimes sadly, this is a part of parenthood. Things change, we all evolve, and (chances are) when someone exists your life, someone else is just about to enter it.
If They're Weren't Supportive, They Weren't Really A Friend In The First Place
First and foremost, friends should support one another. No, they don't always have to agree or see eye-to-eye and, obviously, they should feel free to even get mad at one another and argue with each other. But, at the end of the day, they should be supportive, regardless. If your friend wasn't supporting your choice to be a mom, your new life as a mom, or the decisions you were making as a mom, your friend doesn't really deserve to take up space in your life. We all need to feel supported in our life decisions, especially when that decision includes taking care of another human life.
Friendships Don't Have To Last Forever
Sure, you're going to (maybe) have some friends that you've known and loved and cared for since always, and will probably continue being friends until you're old and grey and yelling obscenities at the loud neighbor kids while you sip wine out of coffee cups on your shared front porch. However, not all friendships are meant to last forever. I, personally, have had some very meaningful friendships that really only lasted a few years. The length of a friendship doesn't determine how important or worthwhile that friendship was or is. Honestly, and as clichéd as it sounds, people come in and out of our lives all the damn time.
Sometimes Ending A Friendship Is The Healthy Thing To Do
If your friend has turned into a toxic friend, ending that friendship is (honestly) the only healthy and sane thing to do. You don't need someone in your life that constantly makes you feel less than or broken or scared or anything other than the best version of yourself. Get rid of the toxic people in your life, even if they are a dear friend you once relied on.
There's No Use Thinking About The "What Ifs"
It will do absolutely no good to spend your time obsessing over the friendship and what may or may not (maybe) have gone wrong. What's done is done; what happened has happened; what your friendship eventually evolved, or devolved, into is what you are now forced to deal with. Don't beat yourself up about what you could have done or what you wish your friend would have done. Don't think that maybe if you did decide to have a home birth or if you did decide to breastfeed or if you did go to a hospital or if you did [insert any and all parenting decisions here], your friend would still be around. Just, you know, don't. It's not fair to you, or anyone else around you.
You Shouldn't Have To Constantly Agree With A Friend, To Keep That Friend
If your friend was upset that you didn't completely agree with every parenting choice they had previously made or were making, or every belief associated with motherhood that you didn't necessarily share, I'd venture to guess that they didn't understand what "friendship" really and truly is. Friendship isn't about associating yourself with carbon copies of your person. Friendship is about finding people who love and support you and who you're willing to deal with just a little bit more than, well, other people. In other words, you shouldn't have to emphatically agree with your friend and everything they say, in order to keep them in your life.
Change Doesn't Have To Be A Bad Thing
Obviously watching someone you care about exit stage right from your life is difficult, but that difficulty doesn't necessarily mean that change is a bad thing. As creatures of habit, human beings aren't all that stoked on change, but trust me: motherhood is a big change and it turned out to be a pretty good thing, right? This change in friendship can be a good thing, too.
Ending Your Friendship Doesn't Erase The Time You Spent Together
Just because your friendship has ended doesn't mean that the time you had previously shared with this person has somehow vanished into the ether that is time and distant memory. No, you still get to hold onto those memories and appreciate the times they were there for you and did support you and were the person you needed when you really did need someone. Just because they were no loner willing or able to do those things or be that individual for you, doesn't mean they never were. It's okay to appreciate you time you did have, while realizing that, well, that time has come to an end.
You Shouldn't Have To Exhaust Yourself To Save A Friendship
If you find yourself putting far too much effort into attempting to salvage the friendship, it's probably time to just let that person go. You have so many other things going on; parenting, work, bills, your partnership, other healthy friendships, your family, your household, literally everything adult-related. You shouldn't have to exhaust yourself trying to keep someone in your life. Are people worth the effort? Sure. Sometimes.
Don't Blame Yourself. These Things Happen.
While the end of a friendship can, sometimes, be blamed on one particular person, it often times, well, can't. It's hardly ever one person's fault and, if you've ended a friendship because it was no longer a healthy relationship, the end of that relationship most certainly isn't your fault. I, personally, spent far too much time beating myself up over a friendship that ended, raking myself over the metaphorical coals for not being able to keep someone in my life. Eventually, I realized that the end of our friendship was inevitable and, well, it just wasn't my fault.
What Matters Most Is Your Happiness
At the end of the day, the point of life is to be freakin' happy. Right? I mean, I'm going to assume that you made the decision to procreate because having a baby would make you happy. I'm assuming that you have friends in your life because they make you happy. And, well, when one of those friends no longer makes you happy on an at least semi-consistent basis, there's really no point in keeping that person around. You have to take care of yourself, mom, and sometimes self-love and self-care means saying goodbye to someone you didn't necessarily see yourself saying goodbye to. You matter. Your happiness, matters.