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Friendships After Having a Baby

The Unexpected Reason Motherhood Will Make or Break Your Friendships

While I was expecting my first baby, I felt like I had already hit the mom-friend jackpot. At least six of my girlfriends from college and beyond, all of whom lived in the same city as I did, were pregnant at the same time I was (and most of them were, like me, expecting girls). Of course, I assumed we'd all stay best friends and our daughters would follow suit as soon as they were old enough to interact with one another.

I expected we'd all continue much as we had before we became moms. Maybe instead of meeting for sushi-and-Sauvignon Blanc night at our favorite restaurant every Thursday, we would take turns hosting weekly wine nights, during which we'd order in sushi while our babies babbled cutely together. Saturday nights out might morph into afternoon picnics at the park with our spouses and kids, but I assumed I'd still be spending most weekends with the same people I'd spent most of my 20s confiding in and socializing with.

Our different views on motherhood would expose just how tenuous our bonds truly were, completely breaking some of them.
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One thing I did not consider: that these women, all of whom seemed so similar to me in terms of life goals, backgrounds, and pregnancy timelines, would not share my parenting style. And our different views on motherhood would expose just how tenuous our bonds truly were, completely breaking some of them.

There would be some of us who, after giving birth to our children, would decide almost immediately to leave our jobs. Others couldn't imagine staying home. Some of us went into "mom mode" right away, trading those bottles of Sauvignon Blanc for BPA-free, breast milk-filled ones. Others found a way to keep their social lives on track while also joining the mom track.

Motherhood was a mission for some of us; we started signing up our babes for every activity we thought might help them become the exceptional humans we knew them to be long before they took their first steps. Others of us found ourselves to be way more mellow about externally enriching our child's development. Fresh air, sunshine, and cuddles were probably enough, right? Some of us were in skinny jeans and full makeup days after giving birth; others took years to get back there.

Individually, these choices didn't seem like much, but collectively they showed us that we weren't as similar as we had thought.

Individually, these choices didn't seem like much, but collectively they showed us that we weren't as similar as we had thought, and once we discovered that, it soon followed that maybe our lives weren't headed in the same direction either. We stopped calling each other as frequently, stopped those weekly wine nights faster than you can say "sleep deprivation," and grew apart, first emotionally, then geographically, as we all slowly started leaving our tiny apartments in the cool neighborhoods in search of more space for our kids to play (and to store all their stuff).

In the years that have passed, we've all met new friends who are more compatible for this stage of our lives. They might not all be the exact kind of mothers that we are, but they're close enough on the big things. That's what drew us together in the first place. And we've strengthened bonds with old friends who might not have been in our inner circle before children, but whose similar parenting styles have drawn us closer together. Still, it's hard not to miss my sushi-and-Sauvignon Blanc friends, no matter how different our babies proved us to be.

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