What happens when you’re the first of your group of friends to get married and have a baby? Can your friendships survive as they were before, or do they need to evolve? Elizabeth of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear that answers those questions beautifully in her guest piece, The Fading Friendships of Motherhood. Enjoy!
Related-> 5 Things They Never Told Me About Motherhood
The Fading Friendships of Motherhood
We once compared ourselves to the ladies of Sex and the City. We swore we would go through life together – no distance would change that. No men would ever change our relationship.
We were right on that front; distance did not change our friendship, as we no longer live near one another – nor did our men come between us. What we had not accounted for was CHILDREN.
I was married at 23 years old, surrounded by my best friends as I said ‘I do.’ I was the first. Now, a decade later, I am still the only one married, and I have added 4 children to my world. These ladies, who I shared my dreams with for the last 15 years, are all now approaching their weddings. I am so over-the-moon happy for each of them that my heart races with excitement just thinking about it all.
I have been unaware, though, of this thing called ‘The Fading Friendship’ that seems to happen to mothers.
I must say that this is all on me -or nature, rather- and I will always love these women so incredibly much.
What is the fading friendship of motherhood?
Simply put, it is when a mother holds on to a friendship that she believes is strong enough on its own without realizing that the other party has faded away.
I had a reality shock when I found out I wasn’t included in engagement and wedding details to the same degree as the other members of our friendship circle, and then when I heard the words, “When we all have children, we will really need you!”
The tears stung. They rolled down my cheeks and I couldn’t sleep. My heart ached for days, as I recalled telling each of them about all of my pregnancies before so many others. I had always reached to them in my times of need; to vent, cry, or celebrate. But what I had not noticed was that, over time, this was not reciprocated. It is in no way anyone’s fault. It was nature. I was not relatable to what they were experiencing; the gap in our journeys was becoming larger. They continued growing closer together and forming other close friendships. I just wasn’t aware. (Nor was I aware that I was doing the same thing with new friendships.)
Something happens when you become a mother. Your heart grows, you feel love like you have never imagined, and you become blinded by the life you have made. This makes you oblivious to just about everything else around you. When you have a day that you need to reach out to someone, you hope a friend answers the phone. You may never realize though just how different your life has become; all you want is your old friend – that voice of security.
What we, as mothers, fail to notice is that THE WORLD IS STILL REVOLVING. That’s right, while we are busy harboring the foundation of our parental relationship, life is still evolving outside our bubbles, as it should.
Even the best of relationships will change as women become mothers. Parenting styles may differ, beliefs and lifestyles may drastically vary, and paths just may not intersect as they once did. This is human nature, and it can be heartbreaking.
I am a fiercely independent woman. I travel for a month at a time alone with my 4 young children. I homeschool and run our home like a well-oiled machine (well, maybe like 33% of the time). I am not the most emotional of people. I will not lie; I was devastated when I came to the realization that I was experiencing a fading friendship. I (in all of my confident, all-knowing ways) assumed I was still a great friend, in my 32 free seconds the third Thursday of every month.
These old friends know my deepest secrets and fears; they helped bridge my life into adulthood, marriage, and motherhood. They were everything I needed when I needed them. As life should, the moments and time passed to create opportunities for people to grow. Throughout the last month of digesting this revelation, I have reached a place of contentment. I am so happy that these friends have remained close to one another, and I am even happier that they have the support that they need at this stage of their lives. I don’t need to say goodbye to these beautiful women, but I do need to let go of the strings I was holding on to. Our lives will always be blessed because of one another. There may be another time when we are all reconnected, and our past will supply the needed foundation to nourish our souls.
I have also opened my eyes to the amazing relationships that I have built throughout motherhood. I have learned that with each new chapter, new characters may be introduced. In the book of your life, each character may play a significant role in the overall storyline. Some characters will be constant, others may come and go, some may fade completely, but every single one is worth cherishing.
Elizabeth is a passionate writer at My baby’s Heartbeat Bear, focused on educating those open to learning. She is also a pre and postnatal exercise specialist, natural childbirth educator, former teacher and current homeschooler to her 4 young children. Check out Elizabeth’s week by week pregnancy tips and parenting insights at her Pregnancy Blog.