Almost A Year

When I found out I was pregnant with Emma, I joined an online pregnancy support group, and I met some wonderful women.
I’ve met a handful of them, however there are three of them who have become my closest friends.
We talk every day, we laugh, we’ve cried, we’ve text, spoken on the phone, visited each other, sent gifts and cards and we’ve all been there for each other.

We made a plan to meet every 6 months at least with all of our babies, and well if some of us could meet up more often then great.

We first all met up on the 22nd of July 2013, when our babies were 4/5 months old.

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We met up again today, 6 months later.

We ate, we laughed, we played and it was great.

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Friends. Or Not.

This time in 2 weeks I would have finished my first shift back at work.
I’m anxious if I’m honest.
Anxious about leaving Emma.
Anxious about going back to work with people who bullied me.

It’s not an option to stay home any longer, maternity pay is rubbish.
£136 a week will not pay my rent and council tax, much less pay electricity, cover my loan repayment and put food on the table.

We’ve worked it that I will work an early shift Monday to Friday and The Husband will have Emma in the mornings and lunchtime, and then he will go to work once I’m home and likely to work the weekends. It’s not ideal but it beats paying out almost ¬£250 a week for childcare.

Whilst I’m anxious, I’m also happy. I work in a role where I mainly provide customer services and some of the people I work with are absolutely lovely.

Over the last 6 months there have been days where I’ve felt incredibly alienated. People I thought were friends have dropped off the face of the earth. Some of the mummy friends I have met online have turned out to be not very nice people. Some have been brilliant rocks and I wish they didn’t all live so far away from me.

Going back to work means I may make some friends. And I’m realising that at 29 years of age, the fact that I’m talking about needing to make friends is incredibly sad and pathetic.

People’s priorities change, my close friends have all had babies too, so whilst we don’t talk/see each other a often as we did before babies, when we do speak/meet up its like no time has passed. I wish that diaries were more in sync, but alas these friends live far away too. I guess that’s what happens when you get married and move to the other side of the capital. Maybe one day that will change, who knows.

Today is a day where I feel very alienated. Realising that the people I thought were friends, are just mere acquaintances, if that.

The worst part? These “friends” are the ones I put a lot of effort into, always there when they needed me, always on the other end of the phone. Yet now they don’t even bother responding to messages.

I hope that when Emma is growing up that she has solid friendships. It’d break my heart 100 times over if she ever had experiences such as this one that I’m experiencing now.

Guess I just need to pull my big girl pants up and throw on my mama armour.

And buy more books.

Parenthood, Friendships and Socialising

It’s funny. When you’re pregnant and then when you become a mother, you discover who your friends really are.

There’s that saying, “good friends are those who you don’t see regularly but when you do see them you can pick up and carry on as if no time has been spent apart”

The moment you tell people you are pregnant, there’s a hubbub of congratulations and excitement. Then people seem to think you’re fragile and things change.

Beforehand you’d get invited to nights out. Weekends away. Dinners in semi-fancy restaurants.

Then it stops.

It’s as if being pregnant means you’re no longer allowed to do such things.

Instead whilst your friends go out and have fun, not inviting you (mainly because they assume you won’t want to go, they assume you’re feeling sick or tired) you troll Internet pregnancy and parenting boards looking for people in the same situation as you so that you can bond.

So for almost 9 months, you slowly begin to lose touch with those friends.
You see Facebook statuses, tweets, photos of their “adventures”. You wonder why you weren’t invited. You feel a bit upset, hormones are raging, you have a cry and then you feel angry. Then? You stop caring. At least for a little while.

Then d-day comes and you have your baby. You make your birth announcement and all of a sudden everyone comes out of the woodwork.

You get lots of congratulations and excitement, lots of messages asking when people can come and visit. People wanting to come and hold your new baby.

The same people who only weeks/months before simply stopped involving you in their social life/circles. Who only rarely sent you a message to see how you were. Who very rarely responded to your messages.

The first few weeks of having your new baby is a flurry of visitors. People invite themselves to your home for new baby cuddles. Then it tails off again. As the weeks go by, you get less visitors, less messages, less phone calls.

These same people carry on with their lives. You carry on with yours, getting to grips with a new baby.

Again, you don’t get invites to go to the pub, out for a meal. Instead you see photos from nights out, Facebook statuses, tweets.

When you jokingly say “where was my invite then?” People uhm and ahh, unsure of what to say and then finally come out with “I didn’t think you be able to because of the baby”.

You don’t get invited because people assume you are too tired/ can’t go because you have a baby now/ don’t want to go.

As if having a baby, being a mother means that you can now no longer attend social functions. As if being a mother suddenly means you are no longer an actual person. With feelings.

Well, here’s the low down, from a new mama.

It hurts.

Just because I am now someone’s mother and have the responsibility for a child, doesn’t mean I am not a person, who on occasion needs some adult conversation, interaction and occasionally a glass of wine!

Don’t stop inviting me out because you think I can’t/don’t want to go. Don’t assume. You know, your assumption may be correct. I may be too tired and not want to go. I may not have a baby sitter and so cannot go. But I’d like to be asked. To be invited, instead of feeling excluded.

Remember that. Remember to continue to treat your friend like a friend after she announces her pregnancy and has a baby. Otherwise you may find that one day she won’t be your friend anymore.
Eventually she will stop trying, will decide to stop asking herself what she did to be treated the way she was, and she will just walk away.