Throughout your first pregnancy, you’re still one of the girls. You may not be able to drink, or stay out as late, but you’re still in the gang. Then, the baby comes. You’re home on maternity leave. Your friends are at work. Your spouse or partner is likely at work too. Chances are your friends that already have kids didn’t have them in the exact same moment you had yours; in other words, their kids are older and in different stages than your little newborn. So those friends are either at work themselves as well, or if they’re stay-at-home moms, their routine is different from yours by virtue of the ages of their children. While you’re focused on feeding/diapering/napping, they’re focused on school fundraisers, preschool PTA, carpooling to gymnastics class, and a myriad of other to-do’s for their families. And chances are, they’re getting some adult interaction through those things as well.
What about you? You’re working your butt off around the clock taking care of your new little peanut. You’re sleep deprived, your body’s out of whack, you’re figuring out the whole feeding/sleeping routine, and you’re home alone. You may even be feeling a little sad. Maybe it’s not full-blown postpartum. Maybe it’s not even the “baby blues.” Maybe it’s just that you need to get your butt out of the house and have an adult conversation!
You need to make a new friend. A new MOM friend, to be exact.
But why? You have plenty of friends. You have single friends, married friends, friends with kids. You may even have siblings with kids. As an adult woman, you may feel that you’re good to go on the friend front. And why should having a child change that?
Because having a child might not change absolutely everything, but it sure does change a lot. And the number one highest contributing factor to “baby blues” reported by new mothers is the feeling of isolation and loneliness. The single greatest gift you can give yourself as a new mom is the genuine friendship of another new mom – one who lives in your hood.
I wrote about the process of making my first new mom friend in my inaugural post on Stacy’s Soap Box, but in this week’s post, I want to get down to brass tax as to why this is so critical for a new mom’s happiness and well-being.
A new mom friend who lives in your community is in the same boat you’re in. She’s also sleep-deprived, feeling fat, home alone, and craving adult interaction. She’s also desperate to get out of her house and shake off some cabin fever. And out of everyone in your life that you may want to chat with about topics like your baby’s spit up, which bottles helps reduce gas, where to find organic onesies, or whether BPA should be banned in the US as it is in Canada – no one is going to be more interested and engaged in such subjects as your new mom friends.
Think about it. When you go off to college, you make new friends. When you go to summer camp, you make new friends. When you start a new job, often – if you’re lucky – you make new friends. What do these things have in common? They’re major life events. New experiences. New experiences that are so much RICHER when shared with others also going through the same new experiences.
And as a woman, transitioning into motherhood just might be the single most life-changing and profound experience you’ll ever have. You will never be the same. With the birth of your first child, is the birth of you as a mother. So while your family and friends are going to shower you and your new baby with gifts and advice, and your registry is going to cover all the essentials, show yourself some love and get out there to a local mommy-and-me class, and make yourself a friend. It’s the single greatest gift you can give yourself as a new mom. And you know my mama mantra… Happy Mommy = Happy Baby.