It's a life changing moment: Your best friend in the whole wide world just told you she's going to have a baby! You've been together every step of the bumpy road to adulthood, sharing in both the joys and the hardships. You've been each other's shoulder to cry on after bad breakups, and have been partners in crime when it comes to having fun and cutting loose. Change is inevitable, you always knew that, so why does it all feel so sudden? You love her unconditionally, and there's nothing you wouldn't do for her — so why is your happiness tinged with something else? After the initial glow of excitement has faded, worry sets in: will your bestie's pregnancy change your friendship?
If you've had these thoughts you are definitely not alone. Pregnancy affects a woman not only physically, but psychologically and emotionally as well. Your bestie will change drastically over the next nine months, and in order to keep a friendship close, it may take serious work on both sides. When your friend is preparing for motherhood (especially first-time motherhood), your lives will become so different that she might as well have moved to Canada. Things can become even more prickly when you are not sure where you stand on the whole "marriage and children" thing. However, that doesn't mean your friendship can't come out better for this experience. Being prepared for the changes (less wine/more Lamaze) and being open to meeting them head on, will ease the transition. So here is what to expect when your friend is expecting.
1. Your Priorities Will Fundamentally Change
A quick glance at any new parent's Facebook page, and it's pretty clear what occupies their thoughts almost 100 percent of the time. If you are not baby obsessed you and your friend will have changing priorities. But that doesn't mean you can't still find mutual ground. Sharing this experience with her may be tough at times, but it will also be full of special moments you both remember for years to come.
2. You May Feel A Little Abandoned
When your bestie embarks on the journey to motherhood, it's natural to feel like you're growing apart. "When a baby disrupts the friendship as you know it, it can feel like the pregnant friend compromised everything without your consent. Feelings of abandonment, anger, rejection, and betrayal are normal in this situation," Lisa Brateman, a relationship therapist, told Cosmopolitan in 2014. It's hard to have all these negative feelings for a close friend, so don't suppress them. Instead, go deep, examine these emotions, and what they might say about you. Brateman suggests, "Use this as an opportunity for a personal awakening."
3. They Won't Be Down For The All Night Rager
Now that your friend is pregnant, your first instinct might be to toast to the excellent news! But, wait — she can't drink champagne anymore. That right there is the epitome of the frowny face emoji.
If you guys unwound with after-work cocktails, or loved to go dancing on weekends, be prepared for some major changes to your hangouts. Drinking alone is not fun, and you may even feel judged if you choose to "tie one on" while she is not. Even that weekly coffee date might turn into a Chamomile tea date, since according to the American Pregnancy Organization caffeine should be kept to a minimum during those nine important months.
All these changes may make you may feel like she is leaving your fun life behind without permission. And it's natural to be sad that you can no longer depend on her for a wine-therapy sesh. These changes are a bummer, but just think how she feels! A year without coffee and wine is enough to make anyone cranky and strain a friendship. However, as with most issues, a health dose of patience and understanding will help bridge the gap.
4. The Topics Of Conversation Will Change
Yes, your friend is going through one of the biggest changes in her life, but at some point you might want to take a break from talking about her sore feet, problematic bladder, and her prenatal yoga class. It might feel like you get less time in the spotlight now that she is preoccupied with all things baby, but wanting to talk about yourself isn't selfish. It's normal. Just because you are not cooking up a bun in that oven doesn't mean that there isn't important stuff to chat about in your life too. Missing the days when you could gab for hours about nothing is natural. Both parties need to make an effort so that each person feels like they got a chance to talk and a chance to listen. That will keep resentments from bubbling up big time!
5. It Makes You Reflect On Your Own Life And Choices
When close friends make major commitments it can leave you feeling left behind. When those around you start pairing off, getting married, and having kids it's only natural to examine your own choices. Whether you feel happy with where you are, or envious of her situation, comparing yourself is inevitable. Dwelling on insecurities or feeling left out won't help, so try to not give those any space in your head. Having a front row seat to her experiences will teach you a lot about how you see your future. Every one has their own path to follow, comparing is silly.
6. She Will Be Less Available To You
With all the intense preparations for parenthood, you may feel like they just don't have time for you anymore. Before the pregnancy she would drop everything for an impromptu hangout, and now you have to plan things weeks in advance. This doesn't mean she loves you any less, but all the doctors appointments and arrangements can be overwhelming. The best way to deal is to try not to take it personally. Realize if you want to hang, it may be on her terms for a while.
7. Her Hormones Will Go Crazy
People chalk a lot of stuff up to a pregnant woman's hormones, and for good reason. Progesterone and Estrogen levels sky rocket dramatically when pregnant. In fact, a woman creates more estrogen over her pregnancy than her entire non-pregnant life. Hormones aren't a old tired joke, the changes in their levels affect your friend at all times. They tax the body physically, and will frustrate your friend. She may frequently feel tired, and sad that she can't do the same things she did before.
As if being pregnant isn't stressful enough, the hormones affect neurotransmitters that regulate mood. The first and third trimesters can be quite a rollercoaster of emotions. Try not to take anything too personally during flareups. Comforting your friend, doing fun things with her, or just asking how she is can help relieve her symptoms. Remind her that she will be a wonderful mother. Who knows her better than you?
8. You Will Become Close Again
Good friendships are resilient. If you drift apart during the pregnancy, it is not necessarily the end for you two. Whether you bounce back will ultimately depend on how strong your friendship was before the pregnancy. Though things certainly won't return to normal once they have the baby, their availability will change again. And you will have your own important role to play in their baby's life. You're basically an aunt now! And it's kind of nice that there is another piece of your friend out there, right?
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