Out of all my friends, I was probably the last one you would expect to be the first mom in the group. I was the free spirited friend trying to figure out what the heck to do with her life. I loved going to concerts, in fact the day before I found out I was pregnant, I was in a crop top in the second row of the Drake concert singing along to every word.
I thought it was strange that I threw up when a Whataburger postcard came to our house, picturing a juicy burger that seemed unappetizing, but I couldn’t be pregnant. I wasn’t ready — my friends knew I wasn’t ready. My boyfriend, now husband, and I had been together for five years but he didn’t seem ready to Dad.
As I told my friends one by one, their reactions ranged from “Oh my goodness! That’s so exciting!” to “wow, are you sure about this?” The truth was, I wasn’t sure, but when life hands you a baby you make a whole lot of milk.
Being the “Pregnant Friend”
In the beginning of my pregnancy it was great when my friends asked how I was. I could tell them “ugh I threw up three times today and had to leave work because I was dizzy.” I could send them a picture of my In-N-Out meal and say “eating for two!”
When the second trimester hit and I felt like I was walking on a cloud with limitless energy, the texts asking how I felt got a little annoying. I wanted to say, “I’m pregnant, not incapacitated,” but I obliged and responded with “I’m great!” The texts continued from friends who were close and distant. I wanted to respond, “SERIOUSLY, I’M FINE” but smiley and baby emojis were more polite.
As I moved along in pregnancy, things did start to get painful. My stomach felt heavy, my ribs were constantly getting kicked, and oh the back pain. Even though I wanted to complain at that point, it felt like no one would want to hear it. Once the complaints began, how could I stop? It felt like the old days, trying to resist the urge to complain to your friends about a guy and once the flood gates were opened it was hard to stop.
Becoming the “Mom Friend”
Birthing a baby is the most bad ass thing I have ever done in my life. It is the hardest I’ve ever worked after wanting to give up. It is the craziest thing I have ever done too. I grew a human, and she came out of my body! I wanted to tell my friends everything, for them to know how amazing I was and that I wanted to quit but I had to get this baby out somehow, and I did!
The thing is, it’s hard to tell a birth story without the gory details. “Whelp, we finally went to the hospital because I was bleeding a lot from my lady parts, like way more than a period.” What a visual that creates. Because birthing a baby is this unknown thing until you do it yourself, some friends did want to know all the details, the amazing and the gross. “Did you poop as you pushed?” “What was the pain like?” “What did it look like when all the stuff came out?” Some are asking more as their time comes and I do my best to be a truth teller without terrifying them (I need more mom friends).
Being the “Mom Friend”
I swore to my friends I wouldn’t constantly post photos of my kid on Instagram. I would never be “just” a mom. I was my own person! There would be other things I would do besides momming! I wouldn’t be one of those moms. But then she arrived, and she was so cute. As she grows, she gets cuter and cuter, and does the funniest things. She has amazing baby style and it must be documented and shared. I also understood why moms post pictures of their kids on social media. It’s a way to capture a perfect moment, to place it in a permanent place so you can go back and remember the best part of your days.
As much as I swore things wouldn’t change much when I became a mom, they have to. Your life adjusts around this other human. Going out anywhere became a hassel. I would begin preparing an hour before to make sure I had everything and make sure I made it on time. Without fail, until she was about 6 months old I was always late. As soon as I strapped her in to the car seat, she would be hungry or need a diaper change, or spit up all over the place.
Going to lunch with a friend was no easy task. If she didn’t sleep through lunch, it was hard to have a normal conversation. My focus constantly shifted to her. I would leave meals feeling so guilty about the friend I had become. None of my old friends would want to hang out with a scatter brained mom who had milk and poop on the brain.
To My Non “Mom Friends”
Some friends drifted away because they were party friends. They were friends I saw at the bars and once I stopped going, they faded away. My circle got smaller but with less time to hang out, I got to embrace this new chapter with people who loved me.
I am so grateful for those people. Those friends made me feel human when I was walking my house like a zombie. They asked me to hang out when I thought I would get written off. They embraced my changes and loved me for those changes. They were even proud of me for those changes.
I’m not the friend I was before but I try to hold on to the ones who stuck around because I need them. They reach out to me for a night out when they know I will leave by 11 PM at the latest. They accept that I can only drink two glasses of wine max because I will get hungover if I go past my limit. They don’t get upset when I have to cancel or run out of dinner because I get a call that my toddler threw up. They know if I disappear for a bit it’s only because life got busy and I will come back.
I Want You to Know…
Non mom friends, I want you to know that it’s okay to talk about topics other than my kiddo when we are out. In fact, I would prefer talking about anything else. She smothers me all day, I go out to dinner to escape.
It’s okay if you never want to have kids, it’s okay if you don’t even like kids, you don’t need to defend it to me. We all choose to do what is best for our lives and I will always support the decisions you make for yours.
I need you to reach out to me. It’s easy to get caught up in this mom life and forget that you haven’t seen your friends in a month.
Feel free to join us. If you want to go to all the kid things that you feel weird going to without a kid, here, borrow mine. I am so happy I can go to the zoo and trampoline park on a regular basis.
I need you and I always will. The people who go through life and all its changes with you are special — The ones who were by your side as you nearly messed up your life in college. The ones who watched you struggle to find the right career in your twenties, the ones who held you and listened to you cry as your heart broke over and over, the ones who flew across the country to watch you get married to the one you once cried over–they are special ones. They’re the friends in your group text that you can text at any time of day to let them know about the weirdos in the Target line. Mom or not, you will always be my people and I will be forever grateful for your friendship in any form it takes.