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Girl Talk: Bye-Bye, Sisterly Bond

Q. My single younger sister and I have always been close. But since the baby arrived, our lifestyles are so different. I feel like we're drifting apart. Is it inevitable?

A. Rest assured that nothing in the realm of babies is "inevitable" except for dirty diapers.

It's true that after you have a baby, hardly anything is the same, including your relationship with your sister. But that's not necessarily bad. Remember that all relationships change over time, baby or no baby, and those that don't become stagnant. The question is, how will the two of you adjust your activities and your expectations?For your part, this much is obvious: You need to stay connected with your sister's life  -- even if it doesn't mirror your own  -- and invite her to be involved in yours. Unfortunately, what's obvious isn't always easy.

Now that you have a baby, you'll have little time for yourself and much less for your sister. That's why it's essential that you let her know that you want to keep a close bond now that you're a mom and she's an aunt.

You can explain, for instance, that you'd love for her to play a major role in your baby's life, as well as your own, and that you'd like to stay abreast of what's happening with her. Ask her how she would feel about "play dates" at the park or pizza nights at your house rather than spontaneous trips to the mall or endless late-night conversations on the phone.If you both make a conscious effort to stay involved with each other, chances are your sisterly bond won't break.