LauraC wrote this week about things she missed from being pregnant and many of us chimed in (naps! time alone! eating tons of food!). It got me thinking. Do you know what I miss most? My friends. When we had our kids—-at 30—-, none (and I do mean NONE) of our high school, college or post-college friends had children yet. Many had just gotten married that summer, creating a marathon of weddings to attend in the first trimester of pregnancy. The idea of having babies was only a vague fantasy for most of them. They were happy for us, they threw us a shower—and then our two screaming, non-sleeping babies bundles of joy arrived. And, our friends had no idea what to do or how to help. I think that the fact we had not one but two babies, and all that comes with it, made it that much more difficult for our (childless) friends to relate, help or understand or for us to be able to maintain any semblence of a social life. Lunches out? Drinks after work? HAHAHA.
And my husband and I—we were in no place to help them figure out how to be friends with people who were also parents. We were sleep deprived. We couldn’t find time to return phone calls. When friends came over, it was a breast-feeding fest–nipples and belly flashing everywhere. I had one friend who wouldn’t stay in the room when I fed them, she was so uncomfortable with me lifting up my shirt. I fed them A LOT. Since I was BFing, I couldn’t be out of the house for more than an hour or so without needing to come home to nurse—or have my breasts explode. (TMI, I”m sure). In fact, the one time I was gone longer—three hours—I got mastitis. If people were over during the witching hour, our house was loud and chaotic and probably a bit scary. I think if we had only had one (non-colicky) baby, we might have eased into parenthood a bit more slowly. Less breastfeeding. Less screaming. More sleep. One parent to deal with a fussy baby while the other chatted with friends. We didn’t go out to dinner—-why would we want to, with two fussy infants? My husband couldn’t do drinks after work, because I was hysterically calling him from 4pm on, asking him when the H** he was getting home. After 4 months or so, we didn’t go out to friends’ houses in the evening, because the kiddos went to bed at 7pm. We had a hard time getting a sitter and meeting friends out, because who wants to watch TWO infants? In fact, at 8 months we had a sitter for the first time in the evening, the teenage daughter of a work friend. We left her with two sleeping babies, and within an hour or two she to call in reinforcements (another co-worker of ours won that lottery) to help her handle the two babies. Needless to say, that sitter’s not interested in coming back. And still, a year later, tells her mom that she’s never having twins. Overnight, we went from a childless couple to a family with two kids. It was a stunning and always sometimes overwhelming transition for us. And, I think, for our friends.
And now, two years later? I realize that I don’t see my childless friends very much. They have made other (also childless) friends they hang out with, have late dinners with and meet for drinks after work. They chat on the phone in the evenings on their commute home (no one’s home when I’d like to chat—at about 4pm–except my dad, who’s retired. He gets a lot of calls from me). When they call me in the evenings, I am putting kids to bed or running out of the house to go to work or try to squeeze in a yoga class. Dont’ get me wrong—I have made plenty of new mom friends. We have early dinners together and lots of fun playdates. But I do miss my old ones.