Saturday, July 22, 2006

Friendship After Baby: Chapter One. What To Expect....The Reality

Grade 12.

What a wonderful year.

Another year of under age drinking...And other sorts of experimentation. A year of amazing camping trips, sleepovers, naked runs, and bush parties. The year most of my closest friends were made.

It was not like grade 9 where you searched through endless faces for people you could call friends. Spending time with people you would rather not because for some reason or another, they were cool.

By grade 12 I had my group of friends established, both male and female. I consider myself lucky for having met such amazing individuals at such a young age. Friends I still have today. Of course I've meet new friends along they way, amazing friends, but my friends from highschool are still some of my most cherished friends. Some people don't even remember the friends they had in highschool, lost contact, moved apart, or so and so cheated on me with so and so, so I don't like so and so anymore.

The girls and The guys. 10 girls. 7 guys. That is how we refer to one another. "The girls are going out tonight", "Some of the guys will be there". Our group of friends, as beautiful as we are, are not without our faults. Some of us, for one reason or another don't talk as much, but through one another we still always know how we are each doing. Despite our issues, we always ask how each other is doing.

We aren't some freaky clique of people. We are quite kind to most people, and always welcome new friends, we always did. We are all unique, we always were. I'm not going to say we were popular, because we went to a school where not too much of that existed. "

I am one of "the girls". Dave is one of "the guys" (by they way, the first picture is of Dave in a sexy red suit for prom) . I'm lucky that way. I have the best of both worlds, though I'm sure some of "the girls" would beg to differ.

2005 Enters Beautiful Baby Miles

I'm 31 now. I'm married. I have a baby. I have many new and wonderful friends, along with the ones I had in highschool. Quite a few of my friends are married, but only two have children. Both of which live far away.

What I Imagined After Baby

I would deliver a wonderful child, all our friends would be around us, supporting us, laughing with us and creating memories with us. Friends would visit often, friends understand.

What Really Happened

I delivered a wonderful, precious, beautiful baby boy. The friends that were able to be there, were there (see first post), supporting us, laughing with us, and creating memories with us. Many friends didn't visit often. Many friends didn't understand. I felt like a stranger among my friends.

When Miles first arrived there was a slew of visitors to greet precious Miles into this world. Friends to tell our birth story to. Then, days and nights became one. Sleeping when I had the chance to, nursing, cuddling, loving Miles and Dave. Days passed. Friends called less, and calling friends became difficult, laborious sometimes. I was never sure how much they wanted to hear about Miles (because surely I could talk for hours) so I often asked of what filled their days and I listened. And when is a good time to call?

I had imagined I would see them more. I often felt left out. Saturday night would arrive and I wouldn't get invited out. Not that I was going to go. I was happy to stay with my new family. Though an invitation would have been nice from time to time. I know most of my friends didn't ask because they thought it would be rude to, because I wouldn't be able to go anyways. This is was a difficult time for me. I've always been quite social. Close with my friends. Talking every day to many of them. About people we saw on the street or the bus, or an act of kindness, or a thing of beauty. Now my life was Miles. Miles and Dave. Walks in the park. Nursing. Bad daytime television. Nursing. Sleeping. Not sleeping. My life was baby. I felt alone. No friends near me to relate to these changes. No one to understand the isolation I felt when Dave was at work.

One Year Later

My friendships are a lot easier now that Miles is older. I can go out. I'm no longer a slave to the boob. Many of my friendships on a social level have been rekindled, not that they were ever lost. Contact was simply less frequent with many of them. Many of these friendships however, exist outside of me being a parent (Don't get me wrong, they get their earfull about Miles).

I miss that many of them don't get to see Miles on a regular basis as I had imagined they would. I envisioned Miles would know all my friends names before he could walk. That he would smile from ear to ear when they arrived (ok he smiles regardless). That they would know first hand all of his quirks and his character. I do have friends who go the extra distance to spend time with the little guy, and who want to hear what new things he's doing when they aren't around. Friends Miles knows and loves. Friends who know exactly how I feel about my friendships and how sad I have been over them. So I wasn't totally alone.

So when did I get to be the centre of the universe anyways?

I realize that my friends have lives too. That Miles goes to bed before many of them get home from work and have dinner. That weekends are often full of activities, especially during the summer. I've spent a lot of time thinking about my friendships and how selfish we all are when it comes to friendship. I am as much to blame, for when a close friend of mine had a baby I didn't reach out as much as I should have. She lives far away, but now that I know what I know. I realize I could have been a better friend.

I know many of my friends plan on having children. I hope that none of them experience these feelings I've had about friendships since I've had Miles. I know how lonely it can be, so I intend to reach out.

No one told me that having a baby would put such a strain on my friendships. No one told me it was going to be so hard to be one of the first among friends to have a baby. No one told me.


Michelle said...

dammit heather!!! You've gone and made me cry! This blog was very touching and so heart felt. I am blessed to have such an honest and open friend. Loved the balst from the past pics too. Ahem..are you going to publish these one day? You damn well should. Can;t wait to see you soon!
One of "THE GIRLS"

michelle part2 said...

balst?....i mean blast....yup its beer.

Trish said...

Very true. I've never thought about it before, but you're right! I wonder if the reason know one talks about it is that it's a relatively new phenomenon in society. Years ago, a woman and her friends all had babies by the time they were 25.
In any case, it's excellent that you're writing about something thought-provoking.

Laural Dawn said...

That was beautiful and you said exactly what I've thought over and over. It's so incredibly hard for me to explain that to anyone, or even to understand how I feel.
You're right - it's way easier when your child is a little older. You can do stuff.
Hang on to your friends. It's so worth it.
My high school group isn't as big as yours, but I am still really close to a small group. We don't see each other enough, but they are really so special. They are the ones who have come to funerals and just been there to cry. They get it. They knew me before I was who I am now.
Okay - I need to post about this on my own blog. Thanks for the reminder.

Jennifer P said...

I'm already finding it really hard with my friends and our little one isn't even close to joining the world yet. They say pregnancy is a happy time -- neglecting to say it's also a lonely time.

Jeanne P. said...

I remember when a couple of close friends dropped by one evening after your brother was born. I suspect they were a little 'high' or drunk or both, but they asked you Dad & I to go out for a drink. Right away. Like this offer posed no problems whatsoever. Wow! Life without kids is so different & can accomodate spontaneity. At the time is made me feel wierd, but they're divorced now. We're not. We have the best kids in the world.

Danielle said...

My friendships have definitely changed after having children.

Visiting from CHBM..

Denice said...

I know you posted this back in July, but I just found you and really wanted to comment from the other point of view.

I am one of the last of my group of friends to have a baby, and I felt completely left out. They all had pregnancy and birth and baby stories to talk about. I didn't. Suddenly they were members of this super exclusive club that I had no access to and no experience to relate to. I would call, or try to visit, but baby would be needing mom and I would have to go.

I lost my friends when they had babies, and now that I'm pregnant, they're coming around again. It's funny how the exact opposite experience can elicit the same feelings…

Kim said...

I should've written a book for you... I was 21, in a small town with no money , transportation, friends, neighbours or much social contact at all - Mark (f/t school and then working at night) Trips to library can only console you a couple of times. I went my whole preg.and almost first year of Eli's life like this.... It was insane... waiting until 6 to even talk on the phone...piss on that!

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