It takes a baby to find out who your real friends are
You never really know who your friends are until you have a baby. Sure, at first it's all "congratulations" and "I'm so happy for you" and maybe even a slew of "Can't wait to babysit!" And then comes the excitement of the gender reveal and the baby shower. But soon after that umbilical cord is cut, all the buzz dies down and you're probably left wondering, Wait, Where are all my friends?
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For me, like for many millennial Latinas who recently became moms, balancing my uphill career and my hectic social life was the norm. My weekly schedule was a mix of career development activities--going to conferences, taking workshops and attending networking events--and social outings with my friends. But once I gave birth, I quickly realized my only notices of friendly outings were photos posted on Instagram … after the fact. My event invites on Facebook dwindled. Barely any texts. No calls.
And in the category of "Can't wait to babysit," only two friends really meant it. But I have to say that learning who those two friends were was more of a "duh" moment than a refreshing eye-opener: They were my best friend since elementary school (My ride or die, Hey, Nelly!) and my cousin, because of course, family always has your back. For the most part, my social circle slimmed down to one--the baby--and sometimes two, with a special guest of either one of my two sisters or my husband interchangeably.
I know I'm not alone in the sense of suddenly "feeling so alone" after baby. And despite feeling that way at the time, I now know that most of my friends weren't purposely trying to alienate me. I have to admit I probably did the same thing to other friends, who had become new moms, in the past. Because who wants to take a baby to an all-you-can-drink mimosa brunch right? But part of growing up is learning that real friendships take more effort.
I reached out to a few friends who I hadn't seen in a while. Of course, some simply retorted reasons as to why they didn't have time to hang out with me--excuses, all ones I had already thought of myself. Some genuinely cared about what I was feeling and made it a point to continue our friendship uninterrupted as it was b.c.--before child --understanding if I couldn't make it to an invitation, but still extending it to me instead of assuming that because I have a baby, I can't possibly continue participating in society. Yes, throwing a baby into the mix, does make it harder. A lot harder. But just because I'm a mom now doesn't mean you have to break up with me. I'm still cool, I promise. In many ways, I'm actually cooler now.
But then again, maybe some friendships aren't meant to last forever. Maybe some serve their special purpose during one stage of our lives and then just fall away. Maybe this an opportunity for me to start taking on play dates with other new moms and building my own what is that they call it? Mom Tribe? Maybe Drake's "No New Friends" Doesn't apply here. Anyone?
Image via Daysi Calavia-Robertson