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How Good a Friend Does a Mom Make?

Photo by fczuardi on Flickr (CC Licensed)

37w1d - Given that the last several emails and IMs I've sent have included the sentiments, "My boobs are leaking!  My bowels have been explosive!" it is clear that the nature of my friendships is changing.

These days I share too much. I listen too little. I can't remember what it is I actually wanted to process with my buddies when they come a-asking, so I dumbly default to ask them about the same things they told me the visit prior. I have conversations with generous friends in town who make the mistake of inquiring about us, and 40 minutes later I am still discussing waterproof crib mattress covers and whether SPF for infants really is bunk and they smile politely and abruptly excuse themselves to pursue more coherent, much, much more eloquent human beings.

I am weeks behind on thank-yous and eons on returned phone calls.

And I don't yet actually have the baby.

I know it gets worse. And I wish there was some disclaimer I could put out without insulting the intelligence of the people I love most that says something to the effect of I apologize in advance for being flighty, withdrawn, selfish, needy and unintelligible in the coming months. I promise it is not you, it is me—and I thank you kindly for humbly indulging me with an occasional email or stopover that I will likely be overwhelmed by and initially balk at, but do actually appreciate. And I promise that within a year, I will again ask about your life and listen and respond appropriately in kind.

I had a hairdresser once who seemingly managed to remember every banal detail of every conversation we had while I was in her chair. She would dangle recent happenings in my life as conversation starters, complete with correct names and dates, and I would blah blah blah about people and happenings she couldn't care a lick about. I knew full well she was pandering to my ego and my wallet, but couldn't quite grasp how she kept track of the details. Before I moved away, she told me in confidence that after every client left her chair, she scurried to the back to dash off notes about what was said and compile several related questions for the next visit. 

I shamefully admit to've considered keeping a Google Doc for similar purposes in the past three weeks, but the potential upkeep exhausted me from starting one.

I am not naïve enough to have ever anticipated that Things Will Stay the Same After The Baby among my friends, even the ones closest in physical proximity, just as I could not have imagined how trying to conceive would affect my sturdiest relationships or how our losses would be forever etched in those structures, as well. And now, I think about what it will be like to try to maintain the support and camaraderie my friends deserve—which I know I'll soon need in spades—and fear I'll be so wrapped up in this new life that I'll mistakenly alienate the important pillars from my pre-kid one.

Pardon yet another weak metaphor, but here's ultimately where my preprodromal-labor-brain's at: I have owned a pair of impossibly forgiving yoga-type pants for years that I was sure would accommodate my body no matter how it changed during this pregnancy. Thighs, ass, belly … regardless of how my shape was to shift, I was certain that these go-to pants would hold it all in, as they had over the last several years of body highs and lows while TTC.

I was very, very wrong. Comically, uncomfortably, how-are-my-kneecaps-bigger? wrong. 

The fit is so bad, it hurts. 

Will my friendships to stay the right size as our new world transforms? I want so badly for them (for me, too) to stretch in all the requisite ways.

I'm eager to know how early parenthood affected your friendships—and perhaps how that's changed over time …?