Why friendships can suffer when you are a new mum

Being a new mum can be lonely.
Being a new mum can be lonely. Photo: Tara Moore

The moment that you see that thin blue line on the pregnancy test, your life changes forever. Over the next couple of years your friendships will change as well. You'll lose some but hopefully you'll soon make some new ones too.

It all starts when you're pregnant and your childless friends think that you're already a bit of a loser when you don't want to go out anymore and enjoy your last few months of freedom. Each pregnancy is different, but most days I was just happy when 5pm rolled around. I could head home from work, put up my feet and have a nap!

Most of the time I was hit by a debilitating tiredness that just made meeting friends too hard. I felt torn between trying to get out for a last hurrah of my old life and following the deafening call of the couch.

Some friends dropped by for a cuppa, and I managed to occasionally do brunch, but many friends I got to see less and less.

Conversations can also become a bit painful. As I was pregnant with twins, there wasn't much room for other things in my head. There was surviving work one day at a time. There was the excitement and fear of soon being the mum of two wee babies. I didn't want to bore my friends to death with all this, but also didn't have much else to say. And for those who didn't have any interest in my pregnancy there wasn't much left to talk about.

Once the babies arrive things get even more complicated. In the first weeks, maybe months, everybody wants to say hello to the new family members. And, after a period of settling in, that's great! Everybody is keen to hold the baby/ies and promises to catch up soon.

But going out for brunch or meeting somewhere in the evening is no easy feat with newborn twins (or most babies). Some parents say babies just have to fit in with their life but to be honest, our lives revolve around our kids and I wouldn't want it any other way.

You still want to show interest in your friends' lives, but when your babies are in bed at the end of the day, there's often not much energy left. You sometimes feel like a bad friend but you're caught up in the daily grind, and if they don't come to see you, you won't get to see each other.

Adjusting to life as a new mum isn't easy. In those early months the days are long, the nights short, and leaving the house is always a bit of a mission. There's nobody to talk to all day. Well, nobody that talks back at least!

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Even if you always thought that you would stay exactly the same person you've always been once you become a mum, you do change. Of course in many ways I am still me. I still like loud guitar music, great food, cosy murder mysteries and care about equality and the environment. But all of that has been put on the backburner for a while.

Being a new mum is an all-embracing experience. It's the most fantastic and most exhausting thing I have ever done and I don't have a whole lot of energy left to care about much else. So I might be quite boring to people who don't care about my kids.

Visitors soon dry up. The childless friends get tired of hearing about your babies and the ones who do have older children can't really visit because your house isn't baby-proofed yet and they don't want their offspring to destroy your house.

So we all drift apart and I can't blame them.

Being a mum can be pretty lonely business. We crave company, a visit or somebody to come along for a walk but most people work during the week and have more interesting things to do at the weekends.

And fair enough, it's time to make new mum-friends. But that's a whole new chapter….

So even if I can't give back much at the moment I am grateful for my friends who still drop by or take me out occasionally and listen to my tales of puke, pee and poo.

Jule Scherer shares her first steps as a mum of twin girls on Facebook.

 - Stuff.co.nz