I’m looking for advice from moms, and those who love them, on how I can be a good friend to my BFF who is having a baby. I need a bit of a rundown on how I can expect our relationship to change.
“Emily” and I have been best friends since high school, supported each other through college, marriages and other big life changes, and had one or two big fights that we worked through. We’re very different people who live very different lives. But when shit gets real, she’s the person I count on to have my back, and vice versa.
She moved back to the small town we grew up in which is about an hour away, I live in the nearest big city. So our friendship consists mostly of constant texts about politics, jokes or what’s going on in our lives, and then we try to get together once or twice a month for brunch or something.
Since she got pregnant I have been doing my best to be a good gestation cheerleader, trying to make her laugh (she’s had a rough go of it!) and doing stuff to help her feel normal. And throwing a hell of a baby shower. I’ve enjoyed being there for her, and am looking forward to meeting the little peanut.
The crux of my question is, while I feel there was a lot I could do to support her from afar with occasional visits throughout her pregnancy, I don’t know how to be useful and supportive once baby comes. It’s not like I can pop down on the reg to bring over dinner, or take a quick baby snuggling shift so she can shower. I am also a little anxious that our usual rhythm of texting about the news or funny stuff at work or whatever will become annoying, which I certainly don’t want to do. While I don’t imagine myself writing a Buzzfeed-worthy screed about How My Best Friends Baby Pulled Us Apart…
I am a little selfishly sad about the end of an era for us as friends.
So how do I be the best pal to a new mom given our relative distance? And how do I make sure I don’t accidentally make her life harder trying to keep our friendship going? -Dani
Here was one brilliant response from Homie Kirsten to this question:
I currently stay at home with my four month old. One of the things that makes the biggest difference is a friend who I text with on and off during the day. Not spending much time with adults can get really lonely. But phone calls can be impractical, if I’m holding a sleeping girl baby, and getting out of the house can be overwhelming. But a text that I can respond to right away, or that I can set sit while I take care of a crying baby is absolutely perfect. This friend and I have had long conversations over text about everything from our babies to the election to the Gilmore Girls revival to our marriages. It’s actually really nice to not always talk about the baby — helps me feel like a person.
Also, I’m going to go against what others say… a longer visit after the baby is born would probably be fine. I have a really good friend who lives about an hour away and she’s been over to visit for several multi-hour visits that I have really enjoyed, because I don’t see her in person very often. Your twice-a-month visits may be less brunch, and more sitting-around-on-the-livingroom-floor-playing-with-baby for a while. But that can be fun too! That said, make sure that she knows that she is in charge of the length of your visit, and that you will leave as soon as she needs you to.
And when you’re there, do something tangible for her. Do a load of dishes or fold a load of laundry. Offer to hold the baby while she showers or takes a nap. If you can afford to, order in some takeout and pay for it. Ask what would be actually helpful to her in that moment and then do that for her.
You mentioned feeling sad for the end of an era of your friendship. I can say from experience that I felt the same way while I was pregnant. I was excited for my baby, but some of the changes were sad. There’s definitely a chance that your friend feels the same way. Maybe talk about this with her and have some sort of “last hurrah” get together with just the two of you before the baby gets here?
Finally, love that baby. Your friend is going through a huge change that will inevitably change your friendship. But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a bad change. Be excited with her if she sends you a 90 second video of a new sound her kid is making (that is mostly just watching the baby sit around doing nothing). Ask for a picture, if she hasn’t sent one in a while. Bring the baby awesome and impractical presents.
Basically, expand your friendship with Emily to include her new baby. It will fee different, but different doesn’t mean that this chapter of your life won’t also be awesome.
Your turn: How do you be a good friend to a new parent, when you aren’t close enough to babysit and you don’t want to be a bother?