How to be a pregnant/new parent friend
Previously, I discussed how to be a good friend to a friend who is expecting or just had a kid. But friendship goes both ways, and just because you’re having/had a baby doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. As a new mom myself, I’m also writing this as a reminder to future me.
- Don’t act entitled. Your friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances don’t owe you gifts and worship just because you’re breeding. It’s not that special. Everyone who exists came out of someone like you. I’m not saying don’t enjoy your pregnancy and new baby, just don’t get all Bridezilla about it. And don’t talk crap about someone’s gift to you. Maybe they didn’t spend as much as you think they should, or bought you something you don’t like. Be appreciative that they obviously care about you.
- Don’t overshare. When you’re talking to friends, they may not want to hear the details of your cervix, or about your kid’s diapers, even fellow parents. (Although I did have someone ask me if I pooped weird while pregnant, so you never know). It’s hard to keep perspective when you have just had 8 different medical personnel digging around in your lady parts, but do your best.
- Don’t talk exclusively about your pregnancy or bundle of joy. Ask your friends about their lives also, and show genuine interest. Yes, having a kid is a huge thing that absorbs your whole brain, but you used to be able to have normal conversations. Try not to lose that skill.
- If people ask you personal questions, like “Do you poop weird?”, try to answer candidly. There is so much that no one tells you about pregnancy until you are actually pregnant, that I had a ton of friends who were just plain curious. I always feel that if someone has the guts to ask you an awkward or embarrassing question, it shows that they feel comfortable with you. You should go ahead and answer, rather than being judgmental.
- Be interested in things other than your baby. You had hobbies and interests before the kid. Maybe your model train building gets put on hold, or slows down somewhat, but you don’t have to sacrifice that part of yourself on the altar of parenthood. When that kid is no longer dependent on you, you still need to be a complete person. You also still need interesting things to talk about at dinner parties (or Super Bowl parties, whatever).
- Be grateful. When someone has gone out of their way to get you something or make you food, say thank you. Send out thank you notes for gifts you receive. Send the gifter a text later telling them the food was delicious, or that you’re using the stroller they gave you and you love it (this is in addition to thank you notes, not instead of).
- Try to keep up a social life. It’s so easy to just hide in your house and focus on raising your new little munchkin (especially for me, but I tend to be a hermit). However, you don’t want to lose touch with your friends. Maybe you can’t get to every craft night, movie night, or bar fight, but make an effort to get to the big events, like birthdays and Harry Potter marathons. Friends will be understanding that you aren’t always available, but don’t take them for granted.