But nobody ever tells you that you’ll lose friends when your grieving.
Now in no way, shape or form is this me being negative towards anyone. However this is the reality and how we respond to change. From talking to others in similar situations to myself, wether it be new Mums or someone who has lost their own Mum, it seems like it is not uncommon for these things to have massive impacts on old friendships.
Friendship and New Mums.
I remember when I was pregnant first time with Carter a few people said to me ‘you’ll see who your real friends are now’. I couldn’t help but think how bloody negative was that? Why the earth would me having a baby change any of my friendships?
But it turns out that whilst our worlds stop for a moment when our babies are born, our friends worlds keep turning.
That gorgeous little bundle of love is our absolute everything. Our every thought is around our babies and how important they are. Their sleep routine, feeding habits, poo schedule and windy smiles become our favourite topic of conversation.
Although friends do care about the wellbeing of our babies, and I am sure love them too. It is not there waking thought every morning. They have their own lives, and within in that they have their own personal worries to focus on.
After the initial newborn visits are done, and the 1000 photo’s of your baby have been taken for Instagram – we all know we are guilty of doing that, newborn babies are just too cute not to pap and post everywhere! There is usually is a lull of interest, this can feel quite harsh and isolating. It’s easy to become quite annoyed, it seems like nobody cares about you anymore and you can feel quite cut off from the world.
In a childless friends defence, it’s not their baby! Their lives are carrying on as normal, it is easy to get busy and forget to check in. The problem is that what feels like a lack of interest in our lives is actually lot more intense after you’ve had a baby. Never would you normally be upset if you didn’t hear from your friend for a week or two, you just assume they have been busy. But when your sat at home on your own with a newborn baby you have a lot of time on your hands. Time to sit on your phone and see what everyone else is up to, time to overthink and over analysis.
Quite often we do loose friends when we have babies. I don’t think this has to be an overly nasty situation. Neither are bad people for it. The facts are that we are friends with people we share interests with, people we can go out and enjoy time with.
We can’t expect our childless friends to want to go to a soft play centre every Saturday morning with us – I know my pre baby self wouldn’t have! Just like we probably don’t want to be stood in nightclub on a Saturday night, my dressing gown on the sofa is much more appealing these days.
What I am trying to say here is, yes you probably will loose friends, or for want of a better phrase, you’ll loose touch with friends. This dosen’t have to be final, they may find themselves in the same boat as you in a few years. We are all walking down different paths but who’s to say those paths wont meet again?
Why turn something that is inevitable into a really negative situation? You have a beautiful baby to care for, yes it’s a bit crap when you log onto Social Media and see friends out enjoying themselves. But in reality who’s to say they don’t look at your photos of your babies wishing that could be them? It’s just different timings in people’s lives.
You drift apart from people because your worlds are completely different now. Not everyone disappears but you’ll lose contact with people who you once considered close. It’s life, you can choose to dislike that person and feel like they were a bad friend to you. Or you can look at a bigger picture and see that you now have different priorities. These tiny little people need so much of your attention, that it becomes hard to give others it. Your children will be your very best friends for the rest of your life – don’t waste too much time crying over friendships that have fizzled out, you are in the very early stages of the strongest friendship you’ll ever know.
Friendship and Grief.
This is a tricky one. Mainly because I think people usually back away from someone who is grieving for fear of saying the wrong thing or not being able to understand. The last thing you want to do to someone who is heartbroken is to upset them further.
The facts are you will never be the same person you were before you lost that special someone. Your whole outlook on life has changed. What was important before no longer seems relevant.
I found myself somedays wanting to shut the world out, and other I just wanted company and to keep busy. Your emotions and behaviour are erratic. This can be hard for a friend to keep up with.
My only advice would to be honest, If you are having a bad day just tell your friend. If you don’t feel up to going out don’t lie and say you are ill, tell the truth and say you are struggling. As harsh as it sounds people will tire of chasing you when they don’t get anything back. If they feel like they can’t communicate with you, eventually the friendship will fade, nobody can keep putting energy in to get nothing in return. Friendship is a two sided thing.
You may find you just grow apart from friends you once considered close. The real reason behind it is because you are growing into different people. While your friend might consider dropping their phone and smashing it a disaster, you may find yourself getting annoyed, because to you thats not something to spend a week crying over? watching someone you love die is? But this way of thinking is extreme, you can’t compare your emotions to another persons.
What you’ve been through is hardest thing you’ve ever had to deal with, however thats not to say what someone else is going through at the same time isn’t the hardest thing they have ever face?.
Until you’ve grieved for someone you love or gone through a life changing experience, it is unlikely you’ll be able to comprehend just how awful and unfair life can feel. This can push people apart and leave you on completely different pages in life.
Lastly this is probably a little brutal but as humans we are selfish, we all think that what we have been through and experienced in life has been really hard. We often think our situations are worse than others and they have been lucky. It’s a natural instinct because we are only truly in touch with our own emotions and thoughts. We can’t tell what our friends are feeling. So when you find yourself in a situation with another friend who is having a tough time it can be hard to sympathise. This can push a friend apart from both sides. You may not be able to be the supportive friend they need to lean on anymore, or they may just not understand or know how to be there for you.
Appreciate the friends you do have.
Even after all the reasons above why people might disappear from your life. There will be them special friends that just don’t budge. Wether that is just the one friend that keeps texting you after numerous no replies, or you have a handful of good friend that take it in turns to check in on you.
I can’t express how precious these friend are. They are the ones that are worth putting your time into. Please don’t worry about the friends that drop off the radar, it’s life, it happens.
The friends that have’t ever gone anywhere deserve the energy you have left. They are the ones that will listen to your story 100 times over and still care. They will pick you up on the bad days. Invite you out when they can see you are struggling. They are the friends that have photo’s of your baby saved to their camera roll, not just their Instagram.
Be conscious to try and be a good friend back, its hard when your world is falling apart and I am sure at times I have been awful friend to others, I have been completely consumed in my own mess since my Mum passed. However there are friends that understand and won’t be looking for anything in return, which makes it all the more important to make sure you make the effort to try and be there for them in their hour of need.
I am SO thankful for the friends I still have around me today, you are the reason I keep going, each one of you have helped me more than you will ever know. I feel lucky to have friends in different places, some I met at school, some I met through my husband and some I only met once I became a mummy. They say you meet people for a reason, I really do feel like I have met the nicest girls who have supported me through so much – you’ve made me smile again and brought the fun back into my life on so many occasions!
Ellie, Meg, Cara, Oriana, Zoe, Chloe – Your friendships are so precious. We don’t speak everyday, see each other every week or even manage to meet up monthly, but your are always the first people to be there for me. I might not always be the best at showing or communicating it, but I love you so much and your friendships mean the world to me.
Thank you for reading