When you’re younger, it’s so easy to make friends, right? You are in school with people who are around the same age as you and you find who you bond with and those are your people throughout your teenage years. Some of those friendships turn out to be lifelong friends and some are just for a short span of time. But after you become a mom, in my opinion, you become a new person. So that is one of the most isolating times of a woman’s life for so many reasons, but I think it’s so tough because you are just finding your footing in this new life that you have just embarked upon, and trying to find people who you can relate with during that time is so complicated.
For me, my anxiety and depression made it so hard to connect with anyone else because I was so disconnected from myself. I was barely keeping my head above water for so many years but I was trying to pretend like I wasn’t drowning. I was worried about discussing my struggles with my loved ones because I knew that what I was feeling was not how all mothers feel, but I just thought it would pass. It is so hard to maintain friendships when your life is falling apart. So it definitely took a toll on my relationships with me not feeling 100% myself.
I am so lucky that I always had my family to fall back on, but even those relationships took a hit during my postpartum period. I would lash out at people and take my frustrations out in the wrong way, and sometimes it ended up hurting the people I loved. When I say that my postpartum period was my darkest time, not only do I mean that for myself, but also for the way my personal relationships suffered.
Coming out on the other side, I am a good friend and genuinely care about all of the relationships that I currently have. I firmly believe that all of the friendships I have in my life right now will be lifelong and I am blessed to be able to say that. One of the things I learned was that in opening up about my struggles in motherhood, it actually allowed me to bond more with some of my friends. I wasn’t putting on a show for anybody and I was just being real about what was going on in my life, and I think that is something people appreciate.
Friendships after you become a mom definitely go on the back burner for a while, and take a new level of commitment. You have so many other responsibilities that you have to juggle and it’s tough to prioritize friendships. The good news is, though, as your kids get older, it does get easier to carve out time for yourself and your friends.
I have some friends that are moms and some friends that are not moms. Both play an important role in my life, because I am not only a mom, I am also a woman and I do like to do things for fun without the kids sometimes. I think it is all about balance and as long as I am doing the best I can in making time for everybody in my life that I care about, then that is all that matters to me.