My best friend had a baby and I feel abandoned but also thrilled for her and my new little friend.
Let’s just say, for the record, that transitions are complex. They can confront us with a weird mix of seemingly competing emotions. It’s challenging to make sense of where we stand—with ourselves and the people in our lives.
When a friend has a baby, there’s the added factor that new parents are frequently overwhelmed, and if we don’t have kids, we don’t totally understand what they’re going through. We also have our own feelings and fears about how this will change the relationship.
I have two thoughts on navigating this situation.
First, sitting with our uncomfortable feelings is always a good idea. I know, I know. It isn’t fun, but the last thing we want is to go to our friend without having processed those feelings. They’re having a lot of feelings, plus they aren’t sleeping much. Having never been through it, I’m guessing that doesn’t leave them with much bandwidth.
That doesn’t mean we need to pretend our feelings aren’t real. When I’m feeling big feelings, I find it helpful to ask myself some questions. What exactly am I feeling? What am I afraid of? How do I think this will change the relationship in good and hard ways? What are those feelings trying to communicate to me? You can start the process off with a brief prayer, then ask God how to respond to these feelings.
After that, if you want to process with a friend, it’s probably best to reach out to a different friend. Not to gossip, just to have them listen and potentially offer advice from their own experience. Maybe you want to make time with a friend who has older kids or a single friend who has gone through this transition with their friends.
Second, your friend probably wants to spend time with you, too. From what I hear, new motherhood can be very lonely. I recently listened to an episode of Where Do We Go From Here? called “Motherhood and Friendship Through Life’s Big Transitions.” It offered a great perspective on how to be there for one another through new kids and other transitions. It’s practical, nuanced, and filled to the brim with wisdom.
Transitions can cause friends to drift apart or make the relationship stronger (even if it’s different). I hope we find ways to choose the latter. And when we can’t, we’ll be able to grow and have compassion for one another and ourselves.
What do you think? How have you navigated this transition with friends? Leave a comment and let me know!
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