Before becoming a mom, I had the most naive view of new motherhood. I saw it this way: you have your baby, take your 12 weeks (well, 12 if you’re lucky), and then get on with your life. Sure, you have a new little person to be responsible for, but that shouldn’t stop you from being the person you were a year ago. Right?
Oh my friend, I definitely didn’t get it. And for so many things, I’m sorry.
For pressuring you to go out.
I expected you to still come to our Friday happy hours and was surprised when you didn’t. I figured your husband was with the baby, so why not do something for yourself? I didn’t understand how much you wanted to stay home with your baby. That you needed to. Those quiet evening hours with her would be the best part of your week. I hadn’t yet felt the agony of leaving my newborn for five mornings a week and then the pure joy of holding her again eight hours later. I get it now, and I’m sorry.
For asking you to work harder.
I didn’t understand how you missed that deadline or forgot about that meeting. Why can’t she get it together? I would think. If only I had understood how your mind was consumed with the love, worry, longing, and complicated mix of emotions that comes with caring for a new life. Not to mention you were surviving on only a few hours of constantly interrupted sleep. You were doing your best at the hardest of times, and I was critical of you. I’m so sorry.
For not asking about you.
I never asked if you were OK or what you needed. Sure, I asked how the baby was doing. I know now the baby was always fine. More than fine, she was absolutely great. You thought about her needs nonstop, ensuring she had everything to thrive. But you? You weren’t thriving. You were just barely surviving. I’m sorry I didn’t ask how you were.
For expecting too much.
I wanted you to be the friend you were before. The friend who talked about my birthday the entire month of March. The friend I could text throughout our favorite reality show and laugh about even more in-person the next day. I missed you, the you who you were. I expected you to be the same person, but of course, you couldn’t be. Motherhood changes all of us. I’m sorry I didn’t understand that then.
For not giving enough.
You needed a meal, some help with chores, free babysitting. Instead of easing your burden, I added to it. Expecting you to answer my meaningless texts, help with our friend’s party, show up to another night out. You needed me to come over and just sit with you. Help you feel less isolated. I could have given you more of me—my time, some empathy. I see now how self-centered I was, and I’m so sorry.
Because of you, I learned how to be the friend a new mom needs. To be there, but not be offended if she doesn’t want me there. To invite her out, but be OK if she doesn’t show. And to keep inviting her out even if she never shows. I know she will never quite be the same because none of us moms will ever be the same.
No, we become stronger. Less selfish, and more compassionate. Motherhood changes everything in the best of ways, including our friendships. Having you in my life made me a better friend—and now, a better mother. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, but thank you for sticking with me now. During these years of early motherhood, we’ve never needed each other more.