THE BABY YEARS
your friends can have interests your partner might not share
You might never have thought you’d bond with someone over sleepless nights, but “when you become a mother, it’s like joining a club”, says psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos.
“We gravitate towards people in similar circumstances, so new mothers find it easier to complain to each other about lack of sleep, whereas singletons are likely to open up to each other about dating difficulties. We feel more comfortable speaking to people who are going through the same things as us – we think they’ll understand, we won’t bore them and
they’ll know what to do.” But this means old friends can drift apart once babies are involved. THE SOLUTION
Busy mums could embrace the social side of motherhood, connecting with other parents through ante-natal classes, websites and apps. But they shouldn’t have to drop their childfree friends entirely. “Part of a lasting friendship is acknowledging there are going to be times when it’s loose or tight,” says Papadopoulos. “Maybe the talks you used to have every day now happen once every three weeks. It doesn’t mean they’re less significant.” The friendship might tighten again in a few years if the child-free friend has their own children or later when the kids start – or even leave – school. Meanwhile, both parties should stay in touch, even if the relationship is at a distance. A mum could invite an old friend over and allow the child to watch a DVD while they catch up. They could even offer godmother duties.