Most of us have one- our group of BFF’s, our people, our “tribe”. We share wine (and often times we do“whine”), we talk about things like menstrual cramps and muffin tops. We have nurtured one another through break ups and career changes. Eventually one or more of the tribe marries and then it happens- someone gets pregnant.
In our group, that someone was me. When I shared the news, we all jumped up and down in unison, squealing with joy. They were going to become “aunties” and they all seemed equally thrilled. I was getting to share the ultimate emotional high with my bff’s. I foolishly assumed (You know what they say happens when one assumes) that we would all remain this happy about my pregnancy and it would be all we would talk about for the next six months.
But just a few short months later, I began to notice that the excitement of my tribe had begun to wane a bit. I think I may have glimpsed an eye roll here and there, then I realized some of the tribe was getting together sans pregnant tribe member, because as it was later shared, “Not everyone wants to shop for baby monitors, onesies and nursing bras”.
And that was the beginning of the demise of some of the friendships. So the question remains “Does pregnancy really destroy friendships”? The short answer is yes, sometimes it does.
There are a few concrete reasons this seems to happen among girlfriends:
11 Pregnancy Consumes Her
When a woman is pregnant for the first time, the experience and the excitement totally consume her brain and her life from that moment forward. The first timer, especially, wants to constantly discuss and think aloud about what is happening to her body, what preparations she is making and what she imagines her life with new baby will be.
There is a euphoria that takes her over and seemingly prevents her from thinking about anything other than her pregnancy. That state of euphoria along with each of our inner attention seeking monsters and well, that makes for one potentially annoying BFF.
You're Psyched About Your Pregnancy, but Others Might Not Be
Not only is she talking incessantly about the new life growing inside her, she is likely also flooding every avenue of social media possible. So you may have a front row seat to everything from the weekly growth of her baby from the time it is the size of a poppy seed to what nursery theme they are trying to choose on Pinterest.
The simple fact is not all in the tribe will be able to maintain a constant level of interest in their friend’s excitement and anticipation.
10 Not Everyone “Cares”
Just because the life of the pregnant friend is changing doesn’t mean those changes will be embraced by all tribe members. While everything is changing for one, it is likely business as usual for the others.
They will continue to hit the clubs or maybe catch a late night concert, they will continue to attend wine tastings and maintain the status quo. Honestly, some are just not moved by yet another discussion about hemorrhoids, nor are they interested in seeing your latest sonogram picture.
We’re all different. Believe it or not, not everyone goes gaga over the idea of a new baby. While your BFF’s may be quite happy for you, they may just not be all that interested in every single detail of your pregnancy.
9 Work Friends
Not all of our BFF’s are from our childhoods. Many of our friendships are often tied into our jobs. When we become pregnant and have a baby, there is typically a period of maternity leave and, if financially able, many women make their exit from the workplace at this time to transition to full-time parenthood
Sometimes this transition is a permanent one, but at best, it will be for a significant period of time. When we are no longer at work, in the place where these friendships were cultivated, often times this separation leads to the demise of the once close seeming friendship.
Know a Work Friendship From a True Friendship
The majority of us spend forty plus hours a week at our jobs. If we were to do the math, often times we spend more “awake” time with our co-workers than with our people at home, of course we are going to make friends and cultivate connections in the workplace. It makes sense that we would have BFF’s at work- whatever that environment might be.
8 Too Much Relationship Talk
During pregnancy often we become closer with our mates. This might be something else that the pregnant tribe member shares, or over shares. The constant talk about how wonderful life with her mate is at this point and how incredibly close and in love they are with one another can isolate her from the crowd.
This can also be a source of strain on the friendship with the tribe, often the single tribe members resent relationship talk, feeling like you’re rubbing it in their faces.
So we have covered the reasons we might have tumult within the tribe when faced with a pregnant BFF. Now let’s take a look at what we can do to nurture the friendships worthy of investment at this sweet time of metamorphosis in our lives:
7 Change Is Inevitable
Recognize that all friendships change during the course of our lives. Change to a friendship doesn’t always have to mean the end. Being aware that sometimes we are on different paths at different times can hold great value. The fact is that some friendships will last several years, and you may even be lifelong BFF’s, but sometimes friendships are only for a season for one reason or another.
This may be when you discover those who are truly your friends within the tribe. Fair weather friends have been given that title for a reason. When you were the fun-loving, single BFF with whom they could go out for drinks on a Friday night, you were nearly inseparable, but now that you might be too tired or nauseated to be the life of the party- well, suddenly they are “too busy” to remember to give you a call.
6 All Good Relationships Require Effort
Remember that any relationship (that includes friendships with our tribe mates) worth having is worth working to maintain. Great friendships don’t just happen. It takes some nurturing and work on the part of each individual.
Make sure that during this time, you are making the extra effort to let your BFF’s know that you value their friendship. Don’t sit at home with your feet propped up, throwing a tantrum because no one has come to see you. Make the effort, call your BFF’s, invite them over or plan a day out to go shoe shopping or have brunch.
You making the effort to keep in touch with them during this time is vital to nurturing your friendships and reminding your friends that you genuinely care about spending time with them and you don’t want your pregnancy to cause a rift in an otherwise great friendship. So, exhausted or not, make the effort and consider the feelings of your BFF's. You will be glad that you did.
5 Not Everyone Is In Baby Mode
All strong healthy friendships require compromise and meeting one another halfway. Just because your life (or mine at the time) has become immersed into the land of all things baby, you must respect that your bff may not be there yet, and that is okay. Make sure you express to your tribe mate that you miss them and that you value your friendship.
If you aren’t up to getting out for an afternoon, invite your bff over for afternoon coffee and make a point to talk about things not related to your pregnancy and impending motherhood. Talk about clothes, work, movies…anything but baby. This might breathe a breath of fresh air into the friendship and be just what you both needed.
4 There’s More To Life Than Being Pregnant
If you notice that eyes are rolling or that perhaps your BFF’s have begun to grow a bit distant in the wake of your baby obsession it may be time to take a step back and evaluate the kind of friend you are at this juncture in your journey.
Are you constantly (and I do mean constantly, obsessively and incessantly) discussing some aspect of your pregnancy? One can only hear so many times about how often you have vomited in the course of the last week or whether or not you are doing a chevron pattern on the nursery wall.
Ok. Enough is enough- for now anyway. Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life, however, you must remember as the pregnant BFF, that there is more to life than being pregnant! Save the self-absorption for when you are with your family or significant other. When you’re with the tribe, do everyone a favor and focus on others and talk about something other than you.
3 Don’t Speak, Just Listen
This point is likely an extension of #4…as the pregnant member of the tribe you need to remember that your friends all have lives that they are living every day as well.
They may want a chance to talk at lunch but just can’t get a word in over yet another baby related tirade. They may need you-as their BFF- to listen to what a lousy week it’s been at the office or to lend a listening ear or a crying shoulder for their break-up they have been trying to tell you about for days.
Don’t be so preoccupied with your own life, you forget about the lives of your friends. You need to find a balance in this area of the friendship. No friendship can remain strong if it is one person only worried about their world.
2 Your Happy Might Be Their Sad
Consider this for a moment. Your announcement that you are becoming a mother, while joyous and completely exciting for you, it can be a bit difficult for others in your tribe. Perhaps they are ready for this stage in life but have been plagued with relationship woes with their significant other, or have yet to find their significant other and are worried about the ticking of their biological clock.
Be careful when you share and realize that your pregnancy might be a tender spot for a member of the tribe.
1 But How Is This Going To Affect Me?
Lastly, although it might sound incredibly selfish, your BFF’s are worried about how your pregnancy and impending motherhood is going to change their lives. How selfish can someone be, right?
You must remember that you have been an important part of their lives, an important part of the function of the tribe. You and the tribe may do Sunday brunches, impromptu drinks after work or the occasional girls getaway weekend and all of that is about to change.
Your life is going to change significantly and they are already seeing those changes come to pass and let’s face it- change is scary to most of us.
Everyone Is Going Through the Chang with You
There may even be periods of loneliness, especially within your tribe of BFF’s as everyone adjusts to the changes your pregnancy will not only bring to the tribe but to them as an individual, as your friend.
Take this time in your life to not only prepare for the biggest and most significant change you will likely ever experience, with the exception of getting married, and soak up every joyous moment. However, also take this time to shore up the friendships that are most important to you.
Let your friends know that although your priorities will shift and your life as you know it is about to become completely different, you care about them, about what is going on in their lives and that their friendship is valuable to you.
There will come a day when you will be able to have a glass or two of wine, and you will need someone to listen as you weep with exhaustion and reminisce about days gone by and you’re going to need your tribe.