How Friendships Change After Having a Baby

Now that you’re a parent, Friday nights out on the town just don’t have the same appeal that they used to. And you may not even realize you’ve drifted apart until their invitations have stopped coming. Like it or not, for better or for worse, your friendships will change after you have a baby, and our panel of parent guests today are here to share their experiences to help you navigate what that might look like. Plus, you’ll also get some advice from an expert counselor who has been there before you and can offer tips for nurturing friendships worth holding on to.

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Episode Transcript

Natalie Gross 0:06
Now that your apparent Friday nights out on the town just don't have the same appeal that they used to I mean, who wants to go out when you could be in your PJs by nine o'clock. But your friends may not understand the new you, especially if they're not parents themselves. And you may not even realize you've drifted apart until their invitations have stopped coming. Like it or not, for better or for worse, your friendships will change after you have a baby. And our panel of parent guests today are here to share their experiences to help you navigate what that might look like. Plus you also get some advice from an expert counselor who has been there before you and can offer tips for nurturing friendships worth holding on to This is Newbies!

Natalie Gross 1:03
Welcome to Newbies! Newbies is your online on the go support group guiding new mothers through their baby's first year. I'm Natalie Gross mom to a three year old boy and a girl on the way. We've got a great show today talking about how friendships change after baby. Now if you haven't already, be sure to visit our website at And subscribe to our weekly newsletter, which keeps you updated on all the episodes we release each week. Another great way to stay updated is to hit that subscribe button in your podcast app. And if you're looking for a way to get even more involved with our show, then check out our membership club. It's called Mighty Moms. That's where we chat about the topics discussed here on our show. And it's also an easy way to learn about our recording so you can join us live. Now let's meet the parents joining our conversation today. Tell us your name location in a little bit about your family to start with.

Jessica Hicks 2:06
Hi, I'm Jessica. I am live in Crofton, Maryland with my husband and my two daughters. One is five and one is four.

CJ Monroe 2:15
And I'm CJ and I live in Illinois. And I have a 14 month daughter and a we actually just found out that we are pregnant with number two.

Natalie Gross 2:28
Congratulations. Well, guys, when it comes specifically to friendships, what is one thing you didn't expect to happen after you became a new parent either positive or negative? And I guess I'll start I you know, I'll be honest, I didn't expect to stop getting invited to things because people just assumed we couldn't come. I didn't know if that's happened to anyone else. But that's something I'm mentally preparing for with my second baby. Any thoughts there? Jessica?

Jessica Hicks 2:53
Yes, definitely the invites, I do recall coming. But I think what I didn't really expect was how quickly like the excitement of my new baby kind of wore off once I had the baby. Like it was all fun during the shower period. And then after the baby, I didn't really hear much from those friends. So yeah, didn't expect that.

CJ Monroe 3:17
Yeah, yeah. And I guess mine was, it's kind of interesting, because it's both a positive and a negative on the, on the positive side of things, I guess I really wasn't expecting the kind of community and unspoken understanding that you get with other parents, like you don't have to explain every little thing that happens with timing or with kids or with messes or things because other parents get it. And then conversely, like the negative with the friends that I have that don't have kids, it's like they're almost it's almost like you're speaking a different language to them. And they have almost zero understanding of the difficulties or the reality of being a parent and caring for for a student and it's there for for a child. And it's it was I was not prepared for the vast lack of understanding from friends that I've called friends for years, all of a sudden, it's it's almost like how dare you bring your child into this space that used to be just for us.

Jessica Hicks 4:29
But Cesar is said kind of remind me it's kind of like a little bit of crickets. Like once you have the baby, especially the single friends. And you wonder like, is this going to be a baby friendly event and not friendly events? And when it's your first one, you're like, I don't want to pay for a babysitter just yet. So definitely hard for those long friendships that you've had for a while and then they just, it just changes.

Natalie Gross 4:52
Yes. All right, we're gonna take a quick break and continue this conversation when we come back.

Natalie Gross 5:02
Today on Newbies, we're talking about how friendships change after you become a parent both the good and the bad. So how do you keep friends or make new ones when your life revolves around a tiny human who can't even talk back to you yet? Our expert today is Dr. Latoya Gilmore, she's a therapist, educator, consultant, writer and owner of LSG counseling services. She's based in Houston, Texas. Dr. Gilmore, thanks for joining us, and welcome to Newbies!

LaToya Gilmore 5:27
Thank you for having me.

Natalie Gross 5:29
Well, we go through so much change as new parents. How does this affect our friendships?

LaToya Gilmore 5:34
there is so much change that we experience when we become parents for the first time, or we add to a pre existing family, friendships like any other relationships, they have the capacity to evolve over time. And it isn't uncommon for them to experience these changes after the arrival of a new baby. You know, becoming a parent for either the first time or adding to your family is a transformational experience in so many different ways. And so that change should be expected, you know, and a part of that change can be very overwhelming. There's a shift in our priorities. There are new time constraints, there's sleep deprivation, you know, there's a shift in mood, a depletion of energy, there's all of these things that transpire within our lives when we become parents, to infants and young children. And that can impact our availability that can impact our ability to just remember certain things, whether it is to respond to an invitation, if you do receive one, like the other parents have mentioned, sometimes those invitations, they stop, because there may be an assumption that you won't have time to attend. Whatever that particular event might be, you're too busy. You're not interested, because maybe there aren't any other parents attending that particular event. And so there's all of these different changes that can transpire. You know, once you become a new parent,

Natalie Gross 7:10
What's your own experience with making or maintaining friendships after becoming a mom. Did you struggle at all?

LaToya Gilmore 7:16
So I would say amongst my group of friends, I had a couple that started creating an expanding their families before I became a parent myself. And so I've been on both sides of the continuum, with having those friends, and I, you know, I just made a decision to remain involved in their lives. And so I either attended baby showers, or I hosted, you know, baby showers. And you know, I was available to babysit after the baby came, you know, when the parents were ready to venture out or have a date night. And so those friendships were important to me. And so I remain invested in them. And my effort showed that investment and so when it was my turn to become a parent, you know, those same types of gestures were reciprocated back towards me, right. So they now became either the host of the baby shower, or they came over to help me, you know, get the nursery together. And so it wasn't necessarily a struggle. In my experience, it was an adjustment. But having friends that did become parents before I did was was a valuable experience to have because I was able to glean a lot from them.

Natalie Gross 8:36
Well, I think you've kind of already started to answer my next question, which is going to be like, how do you nurture existing friendships? And how do you know when it's just time to let one go? Because I know, for me, as a new mom, I was kind of in a phase of life I needed to be pursued, I didn't have time to be coming up with, with plans to meet up. So basically, anyone that didn't pursue spending time with me, or my baby just kind of fell off the map. And looking back, I really don't know if I should feel bad about that or not.

LaToya Gilmore 9:05
Yeah, you're right, you'll you'll definitely know if it's time to just allow that friendship to naturally dissolve because the effort will not be there, there will not be that reciprocation in investment. And so because you are busy, and again, because your priorities have changed, there needs to be, you know, that initiative on the side of your friend and to make sure that you know, they have an interest in integrating themselves into your new world. It's not as though that you know, you don't have the desire to remain integrated within their world. It's just that you know, it may be a little more cumbersome for you versus for them to you know, say hey, you know, I'm in your area, or I can be in your area I'd like to drop by, and I'd like to visit you and the baby. Is there anything that you need, you know, to be able to take that initiative and show that firt is really, really important. And like you said, you know, those friendships where the dynamics have changed, it just could be a seasonal thing. It could be, you know, while your children are still young, then it may seem as though they're not, there may not be as much engagement within that particular friendship. But as the kids maybe get older, and you know, you are comfortable with sitters and those types of things, then maybe you can, you know, re integrate yourself into those social networks that were already pre established prior to you having your baby. But like I said, friendships, relationships, you know, they, they all change over time, there will be, you know, those periods where there may be a high level of engagement and interaction, and then there may be some periods where you just really don't have the time or the energy for it, because you would much rather, you know, catch up on a nap, you know, while the baby is asleep, or while their children are occupied with something else that might be your alone time or your self care time. And maybe that self care doesn't really involve social interaction at that particular time. And that's okay to

Natalie Gross 11:13
Any tips for navigating what may be some tricky conversations with your friends about kind of how your lifestyle has evolved, and what you're open to doing, and maybe not doing any more what you just don't have time for?

LaToya Gilmore 11:28
Yeah, effective communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. And so to keep those conversations, going, even when it may feel as though they don't necessarily understand at least you have had an opportunity to assertively communicate like these are my needs. This is how my life is now a little different than it was before. And if you don't understand, you know, you can open the door for questions if there are questions, but to make sure that your communication is is effective, and you're able to give them a glimpse into what your world now looks like, and hopefully, again, if that's a friendship, that they to value, that that would help their level of understanding increase, and then maybe they can begin to make some adjustments as well or be open to those adjustments.

Natalie Gross 12:21
We're gonna take a quick break. And when we come back, we're gonna keep hearing from Dr. Gilmore and our parents, Jessica and CJ about friendships after baby.

Natalie Gross 12:36
We're continuing our discussion with therapist Dr. LaToya Gilmore and our panel of parents today. So parents, you just heard me talk with Dr. Gilmore about how we change as new moms and dads, and how that can affect our existing friendships. So what did that look like in your lives? CJ, do you want to start?

CJ Monroe 12:54
Yeah, so I had a couple of ways that this affected us. I'm a pretty big video game player. And that's the way that I've kind of stayed connected with groups of friends from all around the country, is by playing online games with with them. And I was kind of shocked at how often my my friends once that we had our child and I could make our regular gaming sessions or things those, those invites or things kind of stopped happening. And then and then when I was able to play some of the comments that would be made by some of these friends were kind of appalling. Like, you know, it wasn't our fault that you decided to get your wife pregnant, or, you know, hey, can you go put the fetus outside the outside the house, so you can play games, again, are just really toxic behavior that I found from some of these friends that I've had for years. And I really wasn't expecting that kind of violent conversations to happen with those. And so those quickly became toxic kind of friendships. And I'm like, I'm not having you speak about my child like that. And so that got cut off and unfriended or we just stopped playing games together. And and then my wife actually had a very close friend that she'd been friends with since college and these friends that started out dating and then got married. And so then she remained friends with them through her single years when they were married and still hung out with them. And so then, when I came out here, moved out here and then we got married. It was amazing, because she had these, this couple of friends that she was already friends with. And I got on really well with the husband and and it was just a really great time of just being able to hang out and have a close group of couple friends. And so when we got pregnant, we of course, tried to share that joy with them and they were excited for us and couldn't wait to meet our child and all these different kinds of conversations were happening and we knew that they had been struggling with infertility for quite some time and we were sensitive to that. And we didn't try to overshare or just make it all about Karstens pregnancy or anything like that. And, and so my wife is very much involved on Snapchat and likes to share lots of stuff throughout her day with her friends and share stuff to her story, but then also shares things with the individual friends that she really wants to keep in contact with. And so when ever Lila was born, she would just share really cute pictures of a sleeping baby, or the bright eyed smiles and things like that. And this friend of hers that had been a friend for such a long time actually asked my wife to stop sending her snaps because they were so painful of our child. And it just felt like you can you can be friends with us, but your child can't really be part of that friendship. And so then it would just became this thing where we weren't really sure how to even have a conversation about anything, because we didn't know what was going to be stepping on toes. And we've tried to remain sensitive to the fact that they're still struggling with infertility. And, and I can't even imagine the kind of pain and heartache that that, that that brings. But at the same time, it's it's kind of like our life changed. And our focus kind of changed. And our life is all about our daughter. And that's she's part of who we are now. And that's not going to change no matter what we do, or filter anything. And so really, my wife has been mourning the loss of that friendship for basically the whole time to our daughters been born.

Natalie Gross 16:33
Hmm, that is tricky. And maybe Dr. Gilmore, I don't know if you can speak to that. But, you know, sometimes maybe there are reasons on these friends told you, you know, what was going on? And I'm not saying you should have done anything differently. But I wonder if there's, you know, friends that have to pull away for reasons like that, and they don't share that how do you navigate those conversations? Yeah,

LaToya Gilmore 16:53
Yeah, that's it's very difficult for all parties involved, you know, to, to have the disappointment of not being able to conceive or have children, you know, is something that, you know, it sounds like that particular couple in other couples, they're, they're grieving, they're grieving. And so I'm hearing, you know, CJ, I'm hearing you say, you know, your wife is mourning the loss of that significant relationship. And, and it's because it was, it was so difficult for, for her friend to see, you know, something that she wasn't able to obtain. And it when there's willing a willingness, excuse me to have the conversation and to keep those lines of communication open, then yes, you're able to maintain that friendship. But if there isn't that willingness, then you really don't have another option, right? When it comes to communication or effective and efficient communication, you need to have two parties, you know, or multiple people involved in that particular process. And if it's too painful for them, right now, then, you know, there isn't really anything that she she can do, she can possibly leave that door open, maybe that friend will, will come around. But you're absolutely right, like your daughter is is your world. Now, you know, she's an amazing part of your life. And yes, you want to share that with others. And it's not to, you know, display it in a way to cars cause harm to anyone else. But that's just your joy. And there isn't anything wrong with that. And so yes, it can be difficult to navigate, but tough conversations can be had, if everyone involved is willing to have these conversations. If not, then, you know, that's the that's the only option that you're you're left with because you certainly can't force someone to have a conversation that they may not have the capacity to have at this particular time.

CJ Monroe 18:52
Yeah, and, and I definitely thought that and I've told my wife that the sometimes the friends that we have are there for for a season and a time and, and that we need to cherish those seasons. And that just because it didn't end the way that you wanted it to or you weren't ready to say goodbye to that relationship that as we move forward, we can look back on all the fond memories that we have with them during that time. And if something happens, where it changes and they they are able to get pregnant and they want to reestablish a relationship or they try to reach out again, I think it falls on on us to work through forgiveness on our part towards that and to just so grace and mercy towards what they were going through and what they were experiencing in that moment and allow that to be real and just understanding in that moment. And that's something that we have to work on on our side. Right?

Natalie Gross 19:51
Yeah. Jessica, what did friendships in new motherhood look like for you?

Jessica Hicks 19:56
Man? I have quite a few examples. Unfortunately, but mate one in particular, there was a group of friends that single female friends and a few male friends, I mean, focusing on the female friends that I had prior to getting married, and then after getting married, and then during pregnancy, and you know, we were messaging each other on, you know, Facebook Messenger all the time, just in a group, group chat and setting and so much excitement about like, oh, like, thinking this is kind of my like, built in little tribe, even though they are single and had no kids. And then afterwards, having the baby it, it felt like, they didn't know what to say, almost like, it was like now that I have this new human in my life, like, everything revolves around that human can understand, you know, everything that you used to think about before no longer really matters, you're thinking about feedings, and diaper changes, and all these new things are happening. And I felt that I couldn't really talk about it with them, because they didn't really understand and so time would just go on and I like wouldn't get invites. And then I got to the point where I was like, I didn't really feel that they wanted to really know my child and know this new part of my life and my husband's life. And so out of that group, there was like one standout friend she actually moved down the area. And she was really kind of Dr. Gilmore St. Was really intentional. When she would communicate with me I'm like asking me how my oldest was like, she would come into town and she would definitely like, say, hey, let's meet up and like bring the kids like she was always so really appreciative of incorporating my kids into getting together and seeing her and I completely appreciate that because I felt it was a valued our friendship. And you know, now that we've been the pandemic haven't been able to see her but that was one standout friend. And another that really that made a difference.

Natalie Gross 22:13
Dr. Gilmore, what advice would you give to new parents about or maybe expecting parents about how to manage expectations when it comes to their friendships after baby,

LaToya Gilmore 22:25
when it comes to I would say, you know, expectations, be be mindful of those expectations, have some flexibility there and just know that change is inevitable. And sometimes we can see it coming. And sometimes it blindsides us, and we don't anticipate it coming but to be flexible with those expectations, there is going to be a difference, there's going to be a difference within the new parents, there's going to be a difference within those that are connected to the new parents, when the baby comes, it's going to be an adjustment of you know, what are the sleep schedules and feeding routines, and all of the things that comes with this beautiful little person that did not arrive with an instructional manual, right, and so the differences will come, right. And so just to allow life to happen, right? communicating what those needs are, what those desires are, hey, you know, it would be great if this is again, when the new parents are, you know, open to having you know, visitors or if they you know, need assistance, and they welcome assistance to be able to reach out and to communicate, what those particular needs are some of your friends, if not all of your friends that don't have kids themselves, they're not going to know, you know, what to expect what those needs are. And so to be able to communicate what that looks like for you to be able to communicate how your life is different, because sometimes because we're experiencing the change, we can project that change off onto others, as as far as assuming that they they may have like insight into how our lives have changed without us communicating what that change actually looks like for us. Right? So to be able to explain what that looks like to be able to keep those text messages going on, you're in as you have time. If you're scrolling through social media or if you are, you know, sending those messages during your you know, alert hours when you are awake and you just have time to just kind of zone out to be able to reach out to those people again that are intentional, that are inquisitive, that do have questions that do check in with you that send those text messages Hey, how you doing? How's the baby? How's it going to be able to respond? You know, to them as you can and when their gaps are laughs says in responses, it's okay to start back up again. And to just explain, hey, it's been busy. There's a lot going on over here. Yes, it's overwhelming. Yes, it's stressful, like all of the things that it actually is. And I also, you know, take into account how it can be very, or provide a lot of relief, excuse me, when you do have those individuals that do just get it because they have kids as well. And so to remember to nurture those relationships, as well.

Natalie Gross 25:30
Yeah. So how do we make new friends as new parents, because it can be tough to put yourself out there. But you know, at least for me, I didn't have really any of my close friends who had kids. So I felt like I was really needing that connection with people in my same stage of life. So Dr. Gilmore, do you want to weigh in first with any tips you have? And then CJ and Jessica, please feel free to share as well. Any tips or ideas that have been helpful for you? Okay, yes,

LaToya Gilmore 25:58
I think that there can be, you know, various opportunities to connect in make and establish new friendships. There's so many different communities, online social media, Facebook groups, community groups, where you know, there's there's like minded or similarities that bring these particular groups together, right. And so to be able to participate in those kinds of groups, and you know, if there's someone that you connect with within those groups to invest some more online, and if there's a level of comfort with that particular individual, then maybe extend that to a space offline, possibly it just depends on your comfort level, and how you feel about that. But definitely seeking out like minded people, as your children, babies get older, you know, if there any in childcare or aftercare programs, you know, playdates those kinds of things, library, Parents Day Out church, there's all kinds of different community level groups that you can just start to maybe pay attention, like, Who does your toddler gravitate towards? Or who does your three or four year old gravitate towards? What is that one or two names that you hear them talk about a lot when they get home, you know, from from school, or from their aftercare program, if they're involved in an aftercare program, and maybe, you know, connect with that particular parent, if you have school aged kids, the same thing, there are there opportunities to establish friendships that way through your pre existing, or the developing friendships that your kids are establishing, so befriending the parents of your kids friends could also be, you know, a valuable way to begin to make new friends. So, you know, there's there's ways to put yourself out there, and, you know, be able to connect with people that are in your same stages in life.

Natalie Gross 28:02
Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned social media that's actually been really useful for me and I met, I met my neighbor on Facebook. Wow, we found out we had kids close in age. So isn't that 2022 for you? But uh, yeah, I'm glad you mentioned that I've had, I've had good luck on some Facebook moms groups.

CJ Monroe 28:18
I've told my wife that making new friends, especially a couple friends or even just trying to make new friends as parents is, it's kind of like you're stepping out into the dating world again, yeah. It's kind of like, you got to put yourself out there, you got to add, sometimes you need to be the one that does the pursuing for a little bit, and you pull back and see if they pursue you too. And it's, it's kind of funny how a lot of the things that you learned from the time you were single and dating, can apply to making new new parent friends. And like one of the places that I find has worked really well for us. I'm a youth pastor at a church. And so we're very plugged into our local church, but not just as as an employee there but also as members of that church. If the local church in your area has a really good children's program already built in. And a lot of times they have a lot of extra resources, like mom's groups, or things that aren't even that necessarily spiritual that are just ways for moms to get together and have mom conversations about the different life stages that their kids are in, gives kids a chance to play together and develop those friendships. But then also like a lot of times the the children's pastors at these churches already have a lot of information about additional resources for parents and where moms can meet up and a lot of times even just following churches, social media pages can be a really great way to hear of some events that are fun for the kids and allow you to meet other parents and but also like Dr. Gilmore was saying the Parent Night Out options A lot of times churches are will be very good at putting those on for pay. It's in the area to make use of

Jessica Hicks 30:02
I agree with church. Church for me and my husband has been really helpful. And our church actually had a parents group. So that was really vital. We're all we're in the just in the same stage of having at least one kid or maybe another one on the way. And so it was nice to be able to connect with other parents that are at similar stages. And I was fortunate to also have a few friends at church that got pregnant around the same time. So we all had babies around the same time. So that has always that was, that was really nice. And my girls actually attend a home daycare. And recently, just out of COVID, there was a birthday party and we unfortunately, were able to attend and then was able to actually connect with other parents there. My my youngest, Kayla talks about this other kids so we'll try and plan our playdate, but at least have their contact information. And so hopefully the summer won't be able to get together outside of daycare.

Natalie Gross 31:01
Yeah. Well, those are great tips. Everyone. Thank you so much. Thank you so much to our expert, Dr. LaToya Gilmore, and to our parents, Jessica and CJ who joined us for this episode today. Be sure to check out Dr. Gilmore's website at love support And also check out new mommy where we have all of our podcasts episodes, plus videos and more.

Natalie Gross 31:32
That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Newbies. Don't forget to check out our sister shows Preggie Pals for expecting parents, Parents savers for moms and dads with toddlers, The Boob Group for moms who get breast milk to their babies, and Twin Talks for parents of multiples. Thanks for listening to Newbies your go-to source for new moms and new babies.

Disclaimer 31:57
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes early statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate. It is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health, or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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