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7 Women Share How Motherhood Changed Their Friendships

When my friends started having babies, I'll admit it, I was devastated. It wasn't their fault, but I was right in the middle of my own infertility hell, convinced that I would never be able to raise children alongside these women I considered my family.

On top of being heartbroken over failed IVF cycles and the prospect of never being pregnant, I was sad about being left behind. The feeling was especially strong when my three closest friends all announced they were pregnant within a few weeks of each other.

But then, something miraculous happened. When those babies were just about 9 months old, I received a call that would forever change my life.

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A week later, I was in the delivery room when my daughter was born. Those friends of mine sat out in the waiting room, just as anxious as I had been to meet her.

Today, I am forever bragging about my village. Raising kids together has in many ways brought my friends and I so much closer. Sure, we have the occasional difference of opinion on parenting philosophies, but for the most part? We support each other, and we respect those differences.

Perhaps more importantly, though, we are there for each other. We schedule regular get-togethers with all the kids, we pick up the phone and vent about the latest stage, and we have each other's backs through the ebbs and flows of parenting.

Becoming a mother made my friendships that much stronger.

But I know that isn't always the case. I know that for some women, a difference in parenting styles can rip a friendship apart. And for others, being at different parenting stages can make friendships almost impossible to maintain.

So, I decided to talk to seven women about their varied experiences with friendships and motherhood.

I'm more isolated than ever being a mom.

"My daughter is only 3. But so far I have found that I'm more isolated than ever being a mom. My childless friends rarely make an effort to include me or make time for me. That may be coincidence based on circumstances or just how things evolved, but I've lost some friendships completely and other close friends became very distant.

I can't seem to click with the typical moms whose children do preschool with mine or live nearby. Maybe it's because it's difficult to relate to being a single working mom, a single mother by choice, an adoptive mom, a gay mom … my lifestyle and background doesn't mesh with the families around me, so they are superficial relationships at best.

I've put myself out there, scheduling play dates, asking people to join us when we go somewhere fun (which is all the time), joining play groups and classes. But new friendships fizzle out quickly. I love my daughter and never regret my decision to be a mom, but socially, I've never been more alone." — Edith G.

I met other women in the exact stage of life as me and formed some amazing bonds. ... They have been crucial to my sanity.

"I was so lucky to join a new moms group the hospital hosted, facilitated by a postpartum doula and educator. I met other women in the exact stage of life as me and formed some amazing bonds. Four and a half years later, we have regular family get togethers, girls nights, girls weekends, the guys do guys nights and we support each other through all things life throws our way, good and bad. They are the core of my village and with no family here. They have been crucial to my sanity. The adventure wouldn't be as fun without them!! I have other friends who don't have kids or have different aged kids and they are still part of my life, but the dynamic shifts because this huge part of my life isn't as relatable. It doesn't make them less important to me, it's just different." — Ali N.

Our friends became part of our family!

"Over the course of the last 15 years we have seen ourselves gravitate toward the parents of our kids' friends and teammates. We have the most in common: our kids! We have cheered for each other's kids, planned team meals and traveled to games together. Last spring when our son graduated, I thought those friendships would fall by the wayside, but they haven't. Now we have a common history that's intertwined with our family. Our friends became part of our family!" — Dawn K.

I haven't been able to find real mom friends to spend time with in my area.

"I entered the marriage and kids chapter of my life sooner than a lot of my friends that I had in childhood, so I lost them slowly. Even though most have their own littles now, it's just different and harder with my two older kids in tow (almost 11 and 8). So those friends are gone.

I have lots of friends from the first playgroup I was a part of when my first was a toddler, but unfortunately it was when we were in the military life so they are scattered everywhere now. But we do keep in touch through Facebook as we have kids who are similar ages and many of us are have had more babies around the same ages too.

But I haven't been able to find real mom friends to spend time with in my area. I socialize with some parents that have kids my kids' ages, but many are older than me, which doesn't bother me, but it seems to make it difficult sometimes. I can relate to them most, even if they are 10 years older than me, as they are going through the same thing with raising tweens and dealing with kid's school stuff. But even then, we don't socialize outside of kid stuff." — Anna M.

I got left behind.

"Due to infertility and having my children at an older age, I got left behind. All my friends' kids are at least 12 and older. I have made lots of new friends with others who have children the same age as mine but I no longer have any close friends." — Sian C.

We spend more time with friends who have children.

"We are the oldest usually in our close friend group, but have the youngest baby. The next child in our friend village is 8. There is a HUGE difference between when they raised their kids and what we have today. Also, we're the only ones who adopted.

We have found that we spend more time with friends who have children. They jump right in when it comes to helping with the baby, no questions asked, and it seems like they know when I'm frazzled and a mess. The friends we have who are childless we stay in touch with but don't really hang out with as much anymore. We bring our child EVERYWHERE we go. If it's not appropriate to have her with us, then we probably shouldn't be there. So we definitely have stronger bonds with our friends who have kids of their own, no matter what age." — Loren S.

The close friends of mine that do have children seemed to have drifted away.

"I'm in the opposite boat. Due to infertility, we haven't been able to have children yet. The close friends of mine that do have children seemed to have drifted away after having their own children. It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I don't have children. I think it's more about there's not extra time for phone conversations or get togethers. But when they are able to grab a few free minutes for a phone conversation, we pick up right where we left off. And when we do get together, my husband and I always love having the children be a part of that time with our friends. Sometimes we look forward to seeing the children more than their parents!" — Amber L.

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What does your story look like? How has motherhood affected your friendships? And if you find yourself feeling isolated and without a village of your own these days, what would your ideal mom friend bring to the table?

Photograph by: Twenty20

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