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Baby Makes Three

November 30, 2006

Carolyn McCulley has a good practical article for singles who have married friends who are now starting to have children. Since I’m more sensitive to this issue now, being an expecting mother with friends across the board who are single, married, or married with children, I read it with interest. I think sometimes even married women who have friends who become pregnant often struggle with the same thoughts: Will our friendship be the same? Will she only hang out with other moms now? How will I relate? etc. I certainly don’t expect my friendships with my single gal-friends to change because I’m having a little one! But Carolyn has some good thoughts on this subject.

I’m trying to think back to see if I struggled with any of these issues when my girlfriends had babies. I’d say mostly no, but I think I did struggle sometimes with certain friends who I perceived as never talking about anything else except the baby. I was married at the time and didn’t struggle with thinking our friendship would would decline, but I just got tired of hearing about it! Perhaps that just speaks to my lack of listening ability, but I because of that experience I try to keep that in mind when I talk to others.

I’m interested in reading all of your perspectives on this from whatever angle, married or single, childless or with a family full of kids!

Check out the article here.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2006 5:09 pm

    Ok, so I “officially” signed off from blogging but I read your post and the attached article with great interest. I can completely relate to the woman who posed the question. I have experienced significant changes in relationships because of marriages and then babies. Women often don’t even realize that their interactions are awkward, distant, self-focused, or just simply different than they used to be. I”ve been on the receiving end of several friendships that have disappeared during dating/engagement/marriage. And babies have only continued the cycle, sadly. Carolyn posed some great suggestions, ones I pray I can implement if ever faced with the same situations again!

  2. November 30, 2006 6:29 pm

    I agree with Carolyn’s article. (sorry for the long post, but I have a lot to say about this… )
    As an older single, most of my friends are married, and have children. When the babies started coming it was exciting at first. Watching the sonogram, feeling the baby kick, being in the delivery room, even filming a “G” rated /family friendly version of the delivery were all special events I was able to be a part of. I was very much with my friends every step of the way.

    I have three friends that all had a child within a month of each other, two were having their first child. After a while the conversations were all about Pampers vs. Huggies, and whose baby was eating prunes, peaches, or squash. I enjoyed these conversations because I wanted to be a part of it all, but after a while thought surely there was more to talk about. I realized that my friends had stopped asking me about how my life was going, and it became all about the babies.

    I challenged one of my closer friends about this telling her that I wanted to be very much involved in her life and know every detail, but also talk about other things as well. I also waited several months to bring this up. My friend thanked me for caring about our friendship enough to bring it up and also said that she wanted to have adult conversations as well, and just needed a reminder. We have since become even closer, and talk about marriage, kids, singleness, and our walk with the Lord and our sin. I was glad that I spoke up because I didn’t want to lose a dear friend.

    Singles also need to be patient and allow new parents a while to adjust. Their entire life has been turned up-side-down, and it will take a while to get back to normal. Hang in there. Your friend will need you. I also found as a single that it was helpful to go to my friend’s house who is a new mom and give the baby a bath in the evening or feed the baby at dinner when they start eating baby food to give the parent a break and a chance to eat a warm meal. New moms are exhausted, and an extra pair of hands is priceless. Some of my friends I would be at their house 2-3 nights a week helping them with their new baby. Sometimes I was doing the dinner dishes, sometimes I was making dinner and sometimes I was just spending time with my friend after the baby went to bed listening to her talk about how hard her day was.

    My most favorite memory is when my best friend had her third child. She had a C-section. Her husband went home to stay with the other two children. I spent the night in the hospital with her, getting the baby, helping her sit up in bed so she could nurse the baby, changing the baby’s diaper, and holding the baby in my arms while my friend tried to sleep. That was a very precious night that I will never forget.

  3. Ashleigh permalink
    November 30, 2006 8:59 pm

    I thought this was a great article from Carolyn McCulley. Before I had kids I had no idea how it would alter life dramatically, specifically in the first several months. But it did. It was overwhelming and difficult to get out of the house or do anything. I felt a lot like Carolyn’s friend, who she described as “barely holding on” and not able to find time for a shower often.

    When I think about my interactions with friends who had babies before me, I thought they probably need space and I didn’t want to bother or disturb them. But I learned, through being a mom, it’s just the opposite. I would have loved for a friend to call and come over. Even if I did answer the door in my pajamas with unbrushed teeth. 🙂

    Vicki, I also liked your comment about reminding your friend to talk about things other than her baby. As a mom, it can be so hard because sometimes it feels like being a mom is all we do and the only thing we are. I think being reminded to talk about other things helps us remember that we aren’t only moms. On a funny note, I remember after I had my first baby watching TV during the day because I craved some sort of adult conversation, even if it was a conversation I was merely observing. 🙂

  4. December 1, 2006 1:07 am

    Wow! What a great article. I’m the oldest of three girls. The first among my friends and my family to have kids. It was a very difficult time for me.

    I love how Carolyn describes parenting like riding a bike. Now with my third child, homeschooling the other two, I am multi-tasking. I look for ways to be with other adults to have conversations about what is going on in our lilves other than kids as well as talk about kids. But, with the first, it was all diapers, fever, discipline, and prunes. I think if someone had lovingly challenged me like Vicki did, I would have responded, but instead my sisters became very distant. Now that they are having children, we are becoming closer.

    My youngest sister is due in April with her first. This was a good article to read to remind me what it was like when I was a first time parent, and the help and support I would have like to recieve. The reminder to be patient and allow new parents to adjust was very helpful.

  5. zoanna permalink
    December 1, 2006 8:54 pm

    I’ve been thinking about what you wrote and I really think that some of the reason friendhships slowly dissolve when baby comes is that neither new mom nor childless mom can really relate. In some ways, there is a jealousy that neither woman wants to talk about. I remember being thrilled to be a new mom and loved being around those who could relate. But at the same time, there were days I pined for the freedom to just “pick up and go,” to be responsible for no one but myself, to get a full night’s sleep, to be able to go out for lunch and nto have to cut up anybody’s food, or spend ten bucks on something pretty instead of diapers. I wanted adult converstaion so much that I talked way too much on the phone. I wanted to get dressed up and get a paycheck and other things that childless working gals got regularly. And I felt I couldn’t voice my occasional self-pity and jealousy because, after all, look at what I had, and–after all, hadn’t I gotten myself into this “situation”?

    I didn’t have one childless friend with whom I could be totally honest. There was loneliness that I didn’f feel free to talk about because “I was so blessed.”
    My friends with kids could relate to the feelings of just wanting to be alone, go shopping, finish a sentence with an adult, so there was bonding in our shared experiences. I think the important thing to remember to try to keep the friendships together is to talk about the Lord, not necessarily always in the context of what He’s doing in you as a mom, but as a person. Single people can try to do likewise, so they’re not always talking about their job and their schedules and vacations or free time. Actually, to draw someone else out rather than always talk about yourself, your problems, your losses, your hobbie, your activities, your sickness, your pain, your whaever, is a gift. Everyone needs the gift of a good listener, and more importanlty needs to BE one.

  6. December 4, 2006 10:06 pm

    Wow, Vicki, what an example you are! Zoanna, I think you really hit the nail on the head when you mentioned mutual jealousy. I think that can often be the case. Thanks all for sharing your experience and comments. Obviously this touches a lot of women. We can all probably grow in this area somehow, no matter what our current circumstance.

  7. December 6, 2006 1:56 am

    i hopped over from boundless 🙂

    i imagine you’ll find that there are seasons in life, even when having babies. it’s so consuming being pregnant and having your first baby (babies ;)! and babies are so all-consuming!

    it takes time to figure out what works for your family and what doesn’t. what you’ve read that works for your family and what doesn’t. how to let go of your expectations and dreams of how those days should flow and flow with how the days are.

    all-consuming times are all-consuming. you will want and need the support of other mom’s. your friendships will all change and grow and adapt over time … family events will always affect friendships. usually, for the better. sometimes, friendships will drift. it’s an ebb and flow. there will be some friends who will flow out for a long time before reconnecting on a new and beautiful level.

    i’ve been on different sides … and i think every side requires grace. most every season in life will find you in a place where there is someone happy, someone delighted, someone sad, someone hurt, someone jealous.

    i remember being in my ob/gyn’s office once and was crying. i think it was my second pregnancy and found out i needed some extra medical support to maintain a healthy pregnancy … something i’d hoped not to have to endure twice. the reality was hard; i knew it wouldn’t be easy. and i was crying. there was another couple in the waiting room who had just found out they were pregnant with their first. noticing my crying after awhile into their conversation, they began whispering. i appreciated that because i could have been crying b/c of a miscarriage or an inability to become pregnant.

    oddly enough, i’ve even found some to be jealous of me because i’m divorced – they are in difficult marriages and wish they had the perceived “freedom” i have.

    you and your husband have tender hearts toward God. these beautiful treasures were created before the foundation of the world, and God hand-picked the four of you to be together! that’s awesome!!!

    there is so much that swells in a momma’s mind when she’s pregnant. when you perceive things to be changing in ways that you wish were not so, find yourself leaning on your husband for objectivity and on God and His sovereignty. try to remember that this is a season in life … a beautiful season 🙂

    (btw – i often put my babies who were two years apart in a stroller when i went shopping and only purchased what would fit in the storage space!)

    you’re a wonderful mom!!!

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