Making Real Friends After Baby Took Me Years
For some women, being pregnant means being put on a pedestal with endless friends and family checking in on you and assisting you with every little need. But once that baby arrives, you are smacked in the face with reality. You have a precious life to take care of and it's your responsibility. When you're a new mom, sometimes you feel so isolated that you forget how to interact with people, let alone maintain friendships. And most of the time friends and family are more interested in the new baby than how the new mom is doing.
When my daughter was born, I was consumed with my new title as a mom. I carried the immense weight of responsibility of being a parent on my shoulders. Is my baby eating enough? What does this cry mean? Is what I found in her diaper normal? I couldn't ask my non-mom friends these questions.
I was the first of my close friends to get pregnant. A lot of what I learned about having a baby came from books and a lot of online research. Google became my virtual best friend.
I could only confide the emotional issues and stress I had to my husband so much, but what I really wanted was a close friend.
I am an introvert at heart, but at times I do like to be an extrovert to gain some sort of social interaction. Now that I am in my thirties I rather snuggle under the covers and binge-watch Sex In The City instead than tromp about town drinking Cosmo after Cosmo with strangers like Carrie Bradshaw.
Therefore, I don't have too many friends. But the friends I do have, I treasure. They've been there for me throughout a good portion of my life and although we may not talk that often, we check in on each other to catch up on life.
Although I was excited to meet my baby, I was terrified of becoming a mother. I didn't feel mentally prepared like I tend to feel with everything else going on in my life. I could read all the books and articles I wanted, but nothing would compare to actually having my baby in my arms and going through every unpredictable situation.
I had a difficult pregnancy. I threw up all the time and I was miserable. All I wanted to do was lie in bed and be alone. I didn't think my friends would want me to divulge in my daily routine of waking up and hanging my head in the toilet for an hour.
When my daughter did arrive, six weeks early, I secluded myself even more. My mind, body and spirit were focused on my baby coming home from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). I did have friends show concern such as sending me messages and flowers, and I greatly appreciated it, but to confide the angst and hopelessness I felt was difficult. I didn't think anyone else could truly understand what I was going through.
I am not one to normally throw my problems onto my friends, so when I gave birth to my daughter I kept a lot of my feelings of being anxious and depressed to myself.
It took me about four years to realize that it doesn't hurt, cost anything or involve any research to make new friends and reach out to old ones.
I learned early on how much it would have helped if I was able to reach out to my friends. It was hard at times having a screaming baby in my arms, my arms too occupied to pick up the phone. Tears swelled in my eyes all the time. My head swarmed with thoughts of whether I was a good enough mother, how alone I felt.
I remember taking my daughter to the park and seeing a group of women chatting with their kids happily playing in the sand. Meanwhile, I had my head buried in my cell phone, occasionally looking up to check that my daughter was OK and to spy on what I wished was my mom group.
One day it clicked for me while my daughter was attending ballet class. My daughter, who tends to be socially awkward like me, bonded with a girl in her class. If she could make a friend, why couldn't I? I built up the courage to talk to the girl's mom and discovered we had a lot in common. It was nice to vent about my daughter as well as talk about topics that did not involve our kids.
It took me about four years to realize that it doesn't hurt, cost anything or involve any research to make new friends and reach out to old ones. A simple text saying hello and how are you can go a long way.
I have made more friends from my daughter's school as well as outside activities, such as her Girls Scouts troop. I look forward to the moment when I get to chat with women about the struggles we face and learn more about each other. I smile more and feel contentment from bonding with friends.
I am truly thankful for the mom friends I have made over the past six years. I realized that I am not the only mother who thinks she is failing. I also realized that most mothers are superwomen who juggle it all while staying somewhat sane.
None of us is perfect — at motherhood or friendship. All the more reason to reach out `to new friends and hold on tight to those who have been there for you through the good times and the bad.
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.