How To Lose a Friend in 10 Months

June 26, 2006

**Edited below
As promised, more Heavy and Really Sort Of Morose Blogging. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If morose bores you, scroll back a post and reflect upon roller-skating, Steve Zissou, David Hasselhoff, and the retirement of the It’s Not Easy Being Green Dancers…

I read a lot of books and magazines and websites about parenting and motherhood while I was pregnant with WonderBaby. I read about breastfeeding and sleep schedules and sleep arrangements and Attachment Parenting and baby whispering and swaddling and SIDS and PPD and all variety of issues and ideas related to Having a Baby. I learned a lot, and nothing at all. End of the day, even with all of the relevant information swirling around in my head, I was on my own. The books and magazines and websites gave me tools, but they didn’t tell me how to distinguish between the tools (most of which, as we all know, have competing functions), or how to choose which tools to use. I was on my own.

I expected this. Even as I studied, frenetically and, ultimately, fruitlessly, about how to cope with sleepless nights and endless feedings and the constant anxiety, I knew that nothing could prepare me for the challenge that I would face on my own, and for being alone (even with my phenomenally supportive husband) in that experience. I knew that I would feel isolated.

What I didn’t know was how isolated I would feel. And I didn’t know that new motherhood would bring new forms of isolation. I didn’t know that it would isolate me from old friends. I didn’t know that it would cause me to lose friendships.

I had read about this, of course, losing friends after becoming a mother. I think that it’s an editorial rule at all pregnancy and parenting magazines that a story about losing friends as a consequence of new motherhood must appear at least once every three issues. I’d seen the articles. I’d seen the discussions at parenting websites. I just didn’t think that the issue applied to me.

My friends were good friends. Life friends. The people that I spent time with and shared myself with were – are – people that I enjoy and trust and really, really like. There aren’t a lot of them. Acquaintances come and go, and I assumed that I would have a lot less contact with acquaintances once the mother ship landed. But my friends, I assumed, would understand that I would no longer be able to dash out for coffee or spend long, lazy evenings drinking wine and chatting. Not for a while, anyway.

So I was gobsmacked to read, in a recent e-mail from someone with whom I have been very close friends for over a decade, that I had been neglecting the friendship and that, accordingly, she viewed the friendship as dead. We had been exchanging e-mails and occasional phone calls, but it wasn’t, in her view, enough. So that was it. It was over. “I’ve already mourned the loss,” she said, “don’t e-mail me back.”

There’s much that could be said about this, about the shock and hurt that accompanies the sudden and unexpected death of a friendship. About how and why new motherhood – parenthood – might cause such a death. How new motherhood affects one’s ability to maintain normal levels of social contact. About how I thought that I was doing pretty well, making sure that I stayed in touch, making sure that I explained why it was so difficult to get out of the house anytime other than weekday afternoons (weekends being reserved, largely, for making up lost time with a very busy Husband). There’s much that I would like to say about this, because I know that she’ll read it and I want her to hear it. But it wouldn’t make much of a difference, because, end of the day, she did not end the friendship because my ability to socialize became impaired by new motherhood.

She ended the friendship because I blog.

Not because I have blogged about her or about the friendship. Not because I have violated confidences or said inappropriate things. This friendship was not dooced. What happened was this: she ended the friendship because, despite the constraints that new motherhood imposes upon my time and energies – constraints that limit the time that I spend socializing – I find time and energy to blog.

You make time, she said, for what matters.

True enough. I do make time for blogging. But I make time in 5 or 10 or, maybe, if I’m very, very lucky, 20 minute increments. I blog late at night, or first thing in the morning. Sometimes, I do it with WonderBaby latched to the boob. Often, I am unwashed and in pajamas, munching on an already-partially-teethed teething biscuit. (I know. I have just shattered the widely-shared romantic vision of HBM seated, with her laptop, at a tidy secretaire in an oak-panelled library, clad in stylish loungewear and sipping tea from a china cup). It is not, in other words, time that would otherwise be spent maintaining real life social networks. If any relationship takes a hit from the blogging, it is my marriage: many an evening, after WonderBaby is abed, the Husband gets assigned dinner duty while I finish a post. And so far as I know, Husband is not planning on leaving me because blogging matters more than helping him make dinner. (Um, Husband… right?)

But ‘making time’ is not really the issue here, either. I’m pretty sure that my old friend wouldn’t begrudge me time spent writing, if writing was – and it certainly is this, as she well knows – a sanity-saver. The issue is that I am writing in what amounts to a public forum. I am not only writing, I am communicating. I am sharing my secrets, confiding my fears, telling my stories – to the Internet. To blog-friends. Secrets and fears and stories that I otherwise would be – should be – confiding to real-life friends. To her.

I get this. Sort of. Which is to say, I would get this if I had been the sort of friend who regularly confided secrets and fears. But I wasn’t. Oh, I would, certainly, regularly catch good friends up on what was going on in my life, things that were bugging me, that kind of thing. But I’ve never been the sort of friend who easily shares her anxieties and fears and griefs. Hell, I’m not really that sort of wife: the Husband knows that the surest sign that I’m upset about something is if I stop talking. The more bothered I am by something, the less likely I am to talk about it.

Stop the presses: I do not like to ‘share.’

To be more clear, I do not like to talk about things that bother me or hurt me or grieve me or move me beyond my comfort zone. I do not like hearing the sound of my own voice drone on about something that pains me. It’s like fingernails down a blackboard. And I do not like to cry – hurt cry, pain cry – with other people. I do not like being held by anyone – other than my mother, my father or my husband – while I cry. I hate it. It unnerves me. Makes me feel exposed.

I don’t know why this is. There’s probably a good long post about why I am emotionally reserved. My psychiatrist thought that it was cause for concern: someone who hates talking about her worries and fears is, she said, going to struggle more desperately with the worries and fears that new motherhood can bring. She was right. But I still never talked about it.

I hate talking about ‘it’ – about fear or pain or sadness. When my nephew was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I withdrew from everybody but my husband. When we had to go through genetic testing and counselling to address the very likely possibility that I carried the same gene that will kill my nephew – the gene that I would almost certainly pass on any son I might bear, that would certainly kill any son that inherited it from me – I clammed up entirely. Didn’t speak of it, unless pressed to. Because I couldn’t bear to.

And this – this emotional reservedness, this clamming up – has never been more true for me than it has been during this first half-year of motherhood. It has been hard. Real hard. And I have not wanted to talk about how hard it is. Nor have I wanted to talk about how those challenges, those sometimes painful challenges, are well-steeped in joy. Motherhood has not only challenged me, it has pained me and confused me and amazed me and filled me with such joy that I sometimes cannot breath. And I have found it hard to talk about this, because the sound of my own voice seems to take the feelings away from me, make them not my own, disassociate them from me. It breaks the intimacy of my own experience of those feelings, it removes them from me in a way that is, to me, strange-making.

But writing doesn’t do that. Writing about my fears and anxieties and sadnesses and joys – some of them, anyway – brings me closer to those feelings. Somehow, seeing them on the page makes them real in a way that is not strange-making. I don’t know why that is.

And sharing those feelings, through writing, with family and friends and other parents, makes them even more real and accessible. It brings them alive for me, to share them in this way, to know that others are reading and nodding their heads or shaking their heads or engaging in any way with those ideas, those feelings. I don’t share all of those feelings, and I don’t share many details when the feelings are rooted in very personal stories. I remain circumspect on many fronts. But I am saying more – much, much more – out loud, in writing, than I ever have using my own voice.

It would not be the same, exactly, if I reserved all of these stories for utterance in my own voice, in the privacy of a friend’s living room, or the intimacy of a coffee-shop huddle. I don’t know why. I do know, however, that this is why I blog. This, and the desire to find community with other parents, other people who are going through the same, or similar, experiences as I am, and who are grappling with the same, or similar, fears and anxieties and joys that I am. Who find shit – real shit, in a diaper – funny. Gross, and frustrating, but also fascinating, and funny. Who understand that one can feel profound anxiety and frustration and joy all at once. Who understand that these experiences are sometimes difficult to talk about.

I’m not saying that I can only share myself through writing. I’d be in real trouble if that were true. I would not be able to sustain relationships if that were true. And, so far, I have been able to sustain relationships, while I have struggled through the challenges of new motherhood and while I have sought solace and release in writing. I think, actually, that writing openly has done much to enrich and enliven my relationships. I’m sharing so much more of myself with friends and family, near and far. Getting the shit that bugs me or causes me stress out of my head and onto the page leaves more room for talking about things that matter: I have more space in my mind and heart for chattering about the immense joy that WonderBaby brings once I’ve gotten the kickin’ my ass kickin’ my ass kickin’ my ass complaints out of the way. And it has reignited my love of storytelling, and my desire to tell stories, stories and more stories. With my keyboard and with my voice.

But this friend does not want to hear them, not now. Not under these circumstances. She does not, she said, want to be “a window-licker,” reading about my life alongside other readers. Reading, rather than participating.

I can understand that feeling, and I would be fully sympathetic, and apologetic, if I had shut the doors on her, or on anybody in my life. But I haven’t; I really, really haven’t. The doors that she begrudges me were never fully open, or were only ever opened after some well-intentioned, loving prying. What’s changed is, a new set of doors have been opened, doors that I feel comfortable opening, doors that I enjoy opening. And they open, it seems, onto a public square, rather than a private, exclusive courtyard.

I can’t change that. I don’t want to change that. I am very, very sorry that this makes my friend unhappy. I didn’t want the friendship to end; any perceived neglect was unintentional, the result of the circumstances of a new, strange life, a life that is no longer fully my own. But that friendship could only live in these new circumstances under the terms of these new circumstances. Circumstances that put new loves – WonderBaby – first. Circumstances that draw me toward new friends, friends that share and understand these circumstances. Circumstances that have drawn me out into the world in a different way. Circumstances that have changed me, and my stories.

I didn’t want those circumstances – as if a baby, a new life, a new love, the greatest love, is only a circumstance – to undermine our friendship. I didn’t expect them too. I’m sorry that they did. But I am not sorry for those circumstances. I can’t be; I won’t be.

Am I wrong? Have I violated the terms of a friendship? Is it unfair to expect to old friends to adapt as my life changes? Do the changes that parenthood brings necessarily sound the death knell for pre-parental relationships? (And – I have to ask this, I’m sorry – is this a girl thing?) Is blogging – blogging baby, or blogging anything – bad for real-world friendships? Must it be?

There’s someone new hanging in the Basement, sharing her feelings and anxieties. Go visit with her, and give her some support.

**And – NOW PLAYING at MamaBlogsToronto – When WonderBaby Met Bumper (Baby). It’s a mommy-blogger/blogger-baby love story, and it’s nice. Check it.

Mama loves. Better than ever. And, for fun, sets babies adrift on random bits of styrofoam…

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    MetroDad June 27, 2006 at 12:18 am

    Wow, HBM. This is an amazing post on so many levels and I empathize with so much of what you’re saying. I too struggle with unleashing my darkest fears and worries on the internet. Not because I’m holding back or trying to project a certain persona but because I’ve found that writing about them doesn’t do much to help me when I’m dealing with personal shit. However, I do have good “offline” friends who I can talk to.

    I’m sorry about the loss of your friendship. From what I know, situations like this aren’t that unusual when you become a parent. It’s hard to explain to childless friends what your life is like now. At this point? Your friend doesn’t “get” it. Maybe she will someday. Maybe she won’t. It’s been interesting for me to discover which friends understand my life as a parent now and which don’t. But you know what? Life is short and I’m not going to lose sleep about it. If a few former friends don’t “get” how important my daughter is to me and the effect that parenthood has had on my life? Maybe we weren’t friends to begin with.

    As always…excellent post.

    kittenpie June 27, 2006 at 12:38 am

    I think there are friends who can adapt and grow with you and friends who were particular to a certain time or situation. I have friends who have been around for a long time, and former friends who were only part of a segment of my life. I’m sorry she seems destined to be the latter, though there may be some ebb and flow and it may come back around later, as some friendships do. (I’m not a hugger either – husband and baby are the only ones I’m really comfy with hugging.)

    something blue June 27, 2006 at 1:23 am

    I started writing to keep far away friends and family up to date but it quickly developed a life of its own. Making connections with other people who understand life as I currently know it, is important. It makes everything easier even without deep confessions that I’d reserve for my close friends.

    You are right that blogging is always at times that are not socially feasible. It’s too bad that your friend couldn’t find the joy in your writing, understand where you are coming from and more importantly value your friendship. (How derogatory is the term window-licker? Too germ infested for me.)

    GIRL'S GONE CHILD June 27, 2006 at 1:38 am

    I love you. I do. You always know how to write it so I’m nodding, shaking my head and wanting to hug on you hard. I have no idea who reads my blog. I always had the “if you write it they will come” mentality, hoping that if I write publicly I will attract other writers and I have and I am happy. As for the flesh and blood true-blue people in life, it’s pretty humbling to consider that when you peel away the flesh, there isn’t much in the bones for which to relate, or appreciate, or understand, respect, want to.

    Blogging is what it is. It’s a way to reach out and tell stories. If that goes against the ethics of friendship then I’m not sure I understand.

    Keep your head up, sister. You’re good peeps.

    Granny June 27, 2006 at 1:46 am

    I didn’t have the circle of friends after I retired and moved here.

    Now I do.

    Mommy off the Record June 27, 2006 at 2:37 am

    First let me say that that comment by Granny was really sweet. I think that blogging brings people together who happen to be sharing similar experiences at one moment in time. You shouldn’t have to choose between writing/blogging/sharing your life with blogger friends and maintaining your other “real life” friendships. A true friend wouldn’t ask you to do that. I hope she has a change of heart and realizes that you can blog about your feelings and still maintain your friendship with her. I hope she also realizes that a true friend wants good things for their friends. And blogging has been good for you.

    ((hugs to you, HBM))

    sunshine scribe June 27, 2006 at 4:33 am

    I really felt this post HBM. Sincerely. It was honest, real and raw.

    I am so sorry to hear that your friend felt betrayed or, rather, misunderstood your blog. Because like you mention, blogging usually happens in times not fit for social consumption anyway … not instead of it.

    My real life friends read my blog and are learning more about me than if I never blogged. For those that are far away, they appreciate that and can see what writing has done for me and my sanity. For those who are close sometimes what I write opens a dialogue and is cause for a call or a visit or an email where we talk about whatever I have blogged about in a more intimate way.

    I don’t think that blogging and your other friendships have to be mutually exclusive. It sounds like she is using this as an excuse. When a new baby arrives and priorities shift there are alot of changes in relationships – more than any other “circumstance”. Blogging is just one of those changes for you. Friendships either adapt or fade. Maybe in time she’ll see that and return to be part of your life.

    You are a good woman HBM and anyone would be lucky to count you as a friend. Real life or not.

    bubandpie June 27, 2006 at 7:32 am

    You are a good friend. Because you managed to blog about this issue in a way that made me sympathize with how awful it must have been to open an email from a friend that says, “don’t email back.” (I can’t even imagine how hurt and blindsided you must feel, actually.) But you also made me sympathize with how your friend must have felt, feeling as if she knew you and was important to you, only to find that the very things you coudn’t bring yourself to share with her, you could splatter all over the Internet. A lot of what I feel when I put myself in her place is wounded pride – along with a kernel of rejection, as if it were my shortcomings as a friend that meant you couldn’t come to me with this stuff in the first place (putting myself in her place here).

    As you explain, you really haven’t changed your behaviour with this friend, started holding back or shutting her out. The problem is that now she feels as if she has been shut out all this time and didn’t even fully realize it.

    I can’t imagine that I would ever cope with those kind of feelings by writing a Dear Jane letter to a friend. Maybe it seemed like the only way to communicate those feelings of hurt without issuing a corresponding demand: “Talk to me and tell me stuff that you would never reveal on your blog in order to prove that you like me best.” It’s all very grade-seven, but I think many, many women measure their friendships this way – I know you’re my friend if you tell me things you wouldn’t tell anyone else.

    I don’t think you’ve done anything, ANYTHING wrong. But I can see how those hurt feelings could be created anyway. I’m so sorry that your friend has chosen this way to handle them.

    krista June 27, 2006 at 7:58 am

    Wow- this is so interesting to me because I had this experience as well. My friend did not end the relationship, she is hanging on, but she surely feels frustrated being a “wiondow licker” and has told me that she feels like she has lost me to my internet friends.

    I have heard the argument that I make time for blogging so I must have time for (Insert however it is someone else wants me to spend my time).

    My boss/friend reads my blog and I know she feels frustrated that I haven’t done some of the things I said I would, and then she see’s an updated post.

    Just because you make time to post doesn’t mean that the time you used to post would have been good to do something else. Like you said, it is inbetween moments, when blogging happens. 2am sometimes. Inbetween bathtime and bedtime when the hus is reading the bedtime stories. Blogging happens in moments where I am totally “on call” and can be interuprrted at any given second. Not ideal for real time socializing. Or heavy concentration work.

    Anyway, as usual HBM, I feel I’m on a parallel journey to you. I look forward to meeting you and sharing stories in real time together soon. (Not at this gathering, but the next no doubt)

    motherhooduncensored June 27, 2006 at 8:13 am

    The loss of a friendship sucks, and while I have to say my friends (who are far away so it’s sort of easier to stay connected with them via email/phone) my friends all stuck it out with me (except one), it’s one of those things that I think “man, what kind of person are you if you break up a friendship over blogging?”

    It’s one thing if you were blasting her all over the internet, however, to offer a mother (depressed mother) some type of outlet, some moments to her self, etc… you would think a friend would be supportive of such things.

    And I imagine, she doesn’t have kids. And if she does, double POOP on her.

    Mother Bumper June 27, 2006 at 9:08 am

    HBM, I’ve read this post a few times (while Bumper naps on my lap and I type with one hand) and it makes me wonder: what if you had “opened up” to just her, what if you had “unloaded” just to her, do you think she would have been there in the capacity she implied she would be? I think not. She would have probably run for the hills, chalked it up to mommy insanity or something more trite. Or maybe I’m thinking that because it makes me angry/sad that someone did such a hurtful thing to someone I like, and I’m thinking they weren’t a great friend. Being someone who also was dumped via email for other reasons, I’ve often reflected on friendships and their evolutions. And how you really learn more about them during the lean times.

    I’ve got to run…Bumper is stirring and typing withone hand is getting difficult. But I’m so looking forward to the Smackdown story – we had a blast yesterday!

    Laural Dawn June 27, 2006 at 9:27 am

    I’m sorry about your “friend.” How awful.
    But, I’m with you on losing friendships. My story is different, but similar. It hurts no matter how it is done.
    I, too, got a nasty e-mail. Who breaks a friendship over e-mail? It’s so mean. (Though said friend also then e-mailed me to sell me candles – and invest in a business …)
    As far as the blogging friends and sharing your life online and stuff. It’s so completely different. To me it’s different because no one has to read it. I can say what I need to and if you don’t want to go and read what is going on in my life, if you don’t care that I got a new stroller or I am dealing with biting or that my daycare made me cry, that’s fine.
    Some people don’t get it. But, I applaud you for keeping on. And, I’m sorry for that awful e-mail because even if she wasn’t a friend worth having words like that haunt you, and aren’t easily forgotten. (I think I could still quote you my horrible e-mail).

    soleclaw June 27, 2006 at 9:31 am

    I am hoping that when my real life best friend of 10+ years finally visits me for the first time since my wedding 2 years ago, (as motherhooduncensored mentioned, the distance helps) that she will not suddenly morph into this thing you just described. It is hard to hang on to those friends you left behind when the “mother ship” arrived, but not impossible.

    I think it helps that my above-mentioned friend is child-obsessed and took tons of child development courses in college.

    Michele June 27, 2006 at 9:38 am

    I am going through a friend break-up right now so I really feel your pain. But could never have expressed it so well.

    I am not losing her to blogging because no one knows about my blog. Ironically, I am losing her to her recent marriage. The ironic part is that I spent the the last 6 married years and 1.5 mothering years of my life making sure she never felt left out by my new life and new obligations when she was still single. Now she is married and suddenly there is no time for anything but her new husband. It is so maddening that what I spent the last 6 years trying to avoid for her benefit has suddenly turned on me and bit me in my ass. Geez, I am bitter. Sorry to have rained on your blog.
    Blogging is therapy. I do understand her feeling left out by reading things that you write that she wishes you had told her in person, but it is so much easier to write than talk. She is hurting but you aren’t wrong in anything that you have been doing. And please, for the love of all that is chocolate, dont stop blogging!

    PS – I am addicted to The Basement. Is that wrong?

    Binkytown June 27, 2006 at 9:46 am

    I hope your friend is reading what you wrote and really thinking about her choices, because if she is ready to write you off (so harsh, by the way, what she wrote to you!)because you do something you enjoy and that helps you feel better as a person, then she is not a very good friend. Full stop.

    Not knowing her, maybe I am totally wrong about this, but it sounds like she has some serious insecurity issues and is putting them on you when they are really about her. It’s hard enough not to feel bad because you don’t have time for friends like you used to without having someone act this way.

    I’d be soooooo sad if you weren’t blogging. By making yourself feel a little better during times of ass-kicking, you are making all of us feel better too. If you lose that one friend, so be it- just remember that you have many many more in the computer who are available inbetween dog hair pullings, tantrum throwings and naps.

    metro mama June 27, 2006 at 9:51 am

    I have friends that became moms years ago, before I even met my husband. Things changed–we weren’t able to do the same things we used to. Sometimes we didn’t even see eachother for months.

    I didn’t have a problem with that. I met new people to do those things with and kept in touch with the old friends as much as possible by phone and email (still do).

    Your friend should be more understanding. You’ve done nothing wrong.

    It’s her loss.

    Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah June 27, 2006 at 10:12 am

    I’m blown away by this post.

    I have friends that have drifted away after my kids were born, but never anything like this. While I sort of understand what she is saying I find it incredibly selfish. I do have friends that feel affronted when they find out news about my family on the blog, but it is a lot cheaper and faster than calling everybody I know long distance.

    Maybe this is something you guys can resolve later when she realizes what really happened. It is so difficult to understand what being a mother is like unless you have children, and how some things are simple to fit into your schedule and some aren’t. Blogging is something you can do at naptime – going out to lunch with a firends isn’t.

    Susan June 27, 2006 at 10:18 am

    Wow! Wow, wow! What a piece of writing! I hate to sound harsh, but any “friend” who would wish to deny you this outlet doesn’t seem like a friend to me.

    I am sorry for your loss. I think she should be even more sorry for hers.

    Mrs. Chicky June 27, 2006 at 10:39 am

    I don’t even want to read the comments before mine because I don’t want my words influenced by others…

    If I could I would hug you, quickly, and look upon a kindred spirit. Or, perhaps, a sister or twin seperated at birth. I will not share pain willingly, but I will be the strong shoulder for anyone who wants to vent or spill. That is what keeps me strong. Sharing my own pain makes me feel weak. I have a small number of people whom I keep close that I will allow myself to break down with, but that’s it. I even have a hard time sharing with my blog friends, but I’m better in this forum at it for the reasons you described. Thank you for puttin it in words.

    Before I complete hijack your comments I want to tell you that I hope your friendship can be ressurected, somehow someway. Once cannot erase history with an email.

    mothergoosemouse June 27, 2006 at 10:50 am

    God yes. All of it. The friendship (and loss). The reservedness. The ability to write comfortably on topics that I wouldn’t speak of aloud.

    How I look forward to meeting you.

    Kel June 27, 2006 at 10:55 am

    You are not wrong, so if you can put that thought out of your mind.

    All friendships much change or die. Some will survive children and some won’t. It’s an unfortunate part of Motherhood, but it happens.

    I find it easier to blog about things as it’s easier for me to get thoughts together on paper than try to explain myself to someone.

    I hope in time she wants to be friends again, but realize that the real loss is her’s.


    julia June 27, 2006 at 10:57 am

    Wow. That was a great post. It’s something I’ve gone thru, and am kind of going thru, at the moment, although not with the nasty email, more with avoidance (so mature, yeah?).

    I can’t help but think your friend is being immature about it all. First of all, why didn’t she bring any of her concerns to your attention earlier? Second, to just say “It’s over, don’t write back” smacks of cowardice. It’s over because it’s on her terms. It’s not been a mutual decision, it’s not something you both had out and realized that the friendship had run its course, she just took it upon herself to get all in a snit over your blog (and what? people really do that??). She took her ball and stomped off home.

    I can’t imagine how hurtful that was. I’m also hoping she reads this and at least hears what you have to say, because you said it well, without getting at all accusatory or angry.

    macboudica June 27, 2006 at 11:28 am

    I just broke up with my sister (yes, my actual sister)for similar reasons–because I blog and because I communicate more fully blogging than in person. I, too clam up, can’t stand the sound of my voice, can’t portray the depth of feeling.

    It does seem quite selfish and inconsiderate for your friend to end it just like that though. I am sorry for the pain that must have caused.

    Rock the Cradle June 27, 2006 at 11:29 am

    “…the sound of my own voice seems to take the feelings away from me, make them not my own, disassociate them from me. It breaks the intimacy of my own experience of those feelings,”

    Oh yes yes yes. I know this. I feel this way.

    It doesn’t sound to me like you violated the terms of your friendship. What it does sound like is that you both had a different conception of the relationship, and she has needs that you can no longer fulfill. Which leads me to think that she on some level must be kind of self-involved.

    Life is change. We marry knowing that we will not be the same people in the future. We hope that how and what we(and those we love) become will allow us to love more instead of less. I don’t think friendship is any different.

    No, I don’t think blogging is bad for real world relationships. If anything, it can let us appreciate them more.

    mamatulip June 27, 2006 at 11:57 am

    You and I are very similar, in that it is very easy for me to communicate through writing. In person, via spoken word? Not so much. When you said that your husband knows something is up with you when you *stop* talking? That’s me.

    I’m really sorry about your friendship. In a way I can see where she’s coming from, but from what I read here it doesn’t sound like she gave you much of a chance to salvage the friendship, and I don’t think that’s necessarily fair. I think that as mothers, we do so much for our children and have to inevitably put so much of ourselves on hold, that when we find something that helps — like blogging — we have every right to jump into it wholeheartedly. I think it’s a bit sad on your friend’s part that she can’t be more happy for you, because you’ve found an outlet that is primarily for YOU, that is helping.

    Piece of Work June 27, 2006 at 12:31 pm

    What an awesome post, HBM. The way you describe yourself, your tendency not to talk about the painful things, the not wanting to be hugged etc is so familiar to me, as is the idea that somehow saying all those things is easier on the blog. I am so much more open on my blog than I am in person–it seems safer to me, to express these emotions on “paper” than to another person. And it *has* improved my real-life relationships, just like you say. Anyway, I know that wasn’t the point of your post but I just wanted to say thank you, for writing that, because it makes so much sense to me, and makes me feel less fucked up.
    As for your friend, I’m sorry that it ended. I’m sure it is difficult for both of you, and maybe there will be room in both of your lives for friendship again, some time from now. Maybe when your friend becomes a mother.
    I don’t really think this is a case of anyone at fault. YOu are just in different places & need different things right now. Maybe the only fault is that she is not willing to be patient enough, that she doesn’t value the friendship enough to wait through this period to get to where you are at the same place again. Or maybe she is in such a dire spot that she CANT wait. Maybe she needs too much from you right now.
    Anyway, I’m sorry. Losing a friend sucks, no matter how it happens.

    Andrea June 27, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    I’m very sorry a friendship has ended for you. I don’t really know what to say that hasn’t already been said. It just seems odd to me (and a little selfish) that she isn’t happy knowing MORE about you regardless of whether she got it from your lips or your blog. It still comes from you. Maybe she’s just not into sharing. I know the two or three real life friends who read my blog actually enjoy (they say) the insights I put out there. They’ve said it helps them know me even more.

    Jaelithe June 27, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    I can relate to this and yet I can’t relate to this, because, honestly, most of my pre-baby friends– I am tempted to put “friends,” in quotation marks, here, except, really and truly, many of these people had actually seemed very good friends– took a hike during my pregnancy, or shortly thereafter. They didn’t even stick around long enough for me to alienate them through mommyblogging.

    I guess it has much to do with my age– being that I was just a year out of college and 22 when I unexpectedly got pregnant (23 when I had my child), most of my friends were not only childless, but actually somewhat terrified of the prospect of children. It wasn’t even just that I couldn’t go out with them to smoky bars or coffeehouses and dance /talk/people-watch until midnight anymore– it was like my very presence made some of them (especially the women) uncomfortable.

    Anyway, you describe the process of blogging, how it takes place in the in-between times, when you couldn’t be talking to a friend anyway– absolutely perfectly. I mean, it often takes me an entire day, sometimes two, to complete a single blog post, snatching five minutes here and ten there. How could any friend stand it if you called them repeatedly throughout the course of a day to talk for five minutes and then hung up, promising five more minutes of conversation in another hour or two?

    I don’t think anyone can possibly understand the manner in which a small child absolutely monopolizes every moment of your time, even your supposed “free time,” until they have one themselves, unfortunately . . .

    (Sorry to once more be The Notorious Post Hijacker).

    reluctant housewife June 27, 2006 at 1:22 pm

    So, I’ve had this post brewing in my head about how blogging is so weird because I feel like I’m cheating on the people in my life. But not really, because I never talk about the stuff I do in my blog. But you said it a thousand times better than I did.

    The openness of blogging still freaks me out.

    Jennifer (ponderosa) June 27, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    Hi, I found you through a link at Beanie Baby.

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, it sounds so awful.

    But, can I add: when you say the relationship that suffers when you blog is your relationship with your husband: I can absolutely relate. My husband has been tolerant of the blog, but he’s often, I can tell, mourning the conversations we used to have in the evenings.

    Good luck with this. Maybe your friend will come around after she reads this.

    my3sons June 27, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    This is a friend who has LOVED your blogging. I feel it has kept me more connected to you and your life with so many miles between us now. And those gratuitous wonderbaby photos….I eat them up!

    Your blogging made so much sense to me as a wonderful outlet for you, given your love of writing and story telling. A perfect way to sort through this mess of new motherhood. I look forward to reading it everyday.

    Love one friend who CAN share you with the blogging world.

    lildb June 27, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    “[...] the circumstances of a new, strange life, a life that is no longer fully my own.


    and yes, again.

    why do our friends believe that we are selfish in our choice to become parents? I’ve lately been grappling with that thought as I go through my day. I think you’ve brought down the gavel on my decision to post on the subject.

    p.s. I think it’s groovy that you share yourself the way you do; and I totally get the thing about hearing your complain-y/grate-y voice. it kills the beyond-words feeling of certain, important stuff.

    tom's wife June 27, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    One of the best friends I have ever had has just moved 800 miles away…although that sucks beyond words, I actually find comfort in that she has this blog thing going and I cannot wait to read it sometimes so I can feel like she is still around the corner! Sure nothing beats face to face contact, but I must admit that although I do not have my own blog, I am getting really “sucked in” to reading all the links from my friend’s blog. I think it’s a great forum and especially for people like yourself…there is a certain comfort in saying what is in your head without having to see or feel someone’s possible judgemental response. Look, we all grow and change and with that so do life’s circumstances and the people in our lives that really matter will embrace the changes and accept us without conditions…and if they don’t? Are they really people we want to share ourselves with? I learned a hard lesson awhile back and I can sum it up in 2 words…PEOPLE SUCK! Don’t let it get you down!

    Christina June 27, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    OK, first off, this friend of yours simply cannot have children, or she would not be acting this way.

    I knew having a baby would change everything (jeez, now I sound like a J&J commercial), but luckily most of my friends have stuck by me. They know my time is even more valuable now, and so far no one has called me out on blogging. In fact, it’s how many of my friends, even those who live nearby, keep up on what’s going on in my life.

    Like you, my blogging is done during my “in-between” times. If it wasn’t blogging, it would be checking my e-mail, or reading, or knitting. But because this friend can tell you’ve had a moment of free time when you blog, she now is angry you’re not using your moments of free time with her. That just sounds selfish to me.

    I do open up about things bothering me, but I tend to distance myself emotionally as I talk about them, so many don’t realize how much something bothers me.

    If your friend can’t share you with others, then maybe it wasn’t meant to be. I’ve lost friends due to distance and life changes, and we mourn the loss but have no blame, and we still try to remain acquaintances if possible. And most of my non-parent friends like children, and so have happily adapted the friendship for my new parental self.

    I’m so sorry your so-called friend did this to you, but I think you’ve done nothing wrong. If that friend can’t handle you having interests and activities that don’t include her, then she needs to get over herself. And dear god, wait until she has kids, someday – hopefully then she’ll realize how wrong she is.

    Kristen June 27, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    To be honest, I think it’s a little unfair of your friend to expect that just because you blog, that you have all the time in the world for her! You deserve your “me” time to blog. If your friend can’t understand what blogging is for you, then I wouldn’t even “mourn the loss” yourself!

    Jezer June 27, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    I’m guessing your friend isn’t a writer. If she is, I’m surprised. I don’t mean that in any negative way–it’s just that for writers, especially in this semi-anonymous forum of the blogosphere, writing is necessary. It’s not a substitute for real-life relationships, but it helps us to work through some of the crap that we just might not want to bring into those RLRs (and our RL friends/family should thank us for that sometimes!) No, I don’t think you broke any rules of friendship, and I’m sorry that your friend thinks you did.

    I can’t wait to hear about the WonderBaby/Bumper meeting. Alex and I are insanely jealous.

    Also, I say “Mama loves” about 147,927 times a day.

    Susan June 27, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    “What’s changed is, a new set of doors have been opened, doors that I feel comfortable opening, doors that I enjoy opening. And they open, it seems, onto a public square, rather than a private, exclusive courtyard.”

    There is a safeness, an annonimity, in the very public act of blogging. Yes, you are putting your thoughts, your feelings, your inner self out there for the world to see. And, perhaps there is a certain “high” that goes along with sharing those innermost pieces with total strangers. But at the end of the day, at the end of the post, you are safe in your privacy, securely tucked away from the eyes, ears, and voices in that public space. The phone doesn’t ring with unsolicited advice. There is no relentless knocking on the door from those who think they know what you need, no demanding that you pull yourself up and do whatever it is they think you must do. Or if there is, it is merely a comment that can be ignored or deleted. You are free to review the advice, the pats on the back, the reality checks at your own pace and discretion. There is no guilt for reading one comment more quickly than another, nor for re-reading the comment again and again and again while neglecting another. (Apparently I have a post building on this topic as I’ve had to read this comment and edit it several times now to get it short enough to be a comment! I’ll stop with the space-hogging now…)

    I’m sorry for the loss of your friendship. It hurts. Selfishly, though, I’m thankful that you’ve opened these doors and that you have those pre-shower, pajama-clad, mushy-teething-biscuit-breakfast moments to share with those of us going through the “same” thing!

    Jenn June 27, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    I’m not gonna say the same thing as everyone else, although I agree with all of them. What I am going to say is that I’m a little taken back at how closely you described my emotional strength (or weakness) and how MANY people feel the same way. WOW. I was never able to put it into words, and you just did.

    I think you should dust off your shelf and make room for a perfect post award. =o)

    MIM June 27, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    I had friendships that ended once I got married, when I went back to school, and when I had each of my children. But I’ve also had friends who have been there through it ALL. Change is difficult for people. And sometimes, people — friends, even spouses — can only see you in relation to THEM. They don’t see you as just YOU.

    It’s painful when friendships end, but I’ve often wondered how deep those friendships really were if they couldn’t stick around through the thick and thin. After all, I’ve had other friends do it.

    But you do have us, HBM. You, your cute wee one, and your fabulous, often humorous, honest, and sincere writing will keep us coming back. See, from this angle, we DON’T see you in relation to us — we just see you (as much as can bee seen in this forum). And we love you.

    Mel June 27, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    You aren’t wrong. She is a Bad Friend.
    A Bad Friend is a person who lays ultimatums on someone – “Pick THAT or pick ME” – or who demands that their friends dedicate as much time as possible to them regardless of the titanic changes parenthood makes in someone’s life, or who doesn’t recognize a wonderful thing (like a friend being able to open up and find release through blogging) for what it is, and be happy for their friend.
    She was, without a single doubt in my mind, a Bad Friend.
    You were not.
    Send her a T-Shirt that says “It’s All About Me.” Cause it obviously is.

    Melissa June 27, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    That was an amazing post. I have just started reading your site last week, but I am highly impressed. I think that blogging is such a part of my life that I couldn’t give it up at this point. There is nothing wrong with finding new friends. And that’s part of what blogging is. My ‘real” friends don’t read my site, not anymore anyways. Yet they are okay with me changing a bit. I think that is what keeps friendships going, people who are ok with you changing and people who change too. People do not stay the same their entire life. There is a quote I heard once about friends being in your life for a reason, a season or a life time. I lost friends after I got married and after I had kids. I also have has some of the best friends in the world for most of my life. The real friends stick around.

    I think the fact that the person wouldn’t even give you a chance means that she had moved on long ago. She is just using blogging as the excuse.

    And no, I don’t think it is just a girl thing. Guys just do it differently.

    Dawn June 27, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    Late to the party – as always. Taking my granola and iced coffee break amidst packing. Of course, I am also reading blogs…

    Friendships are, well, puzzling to me, in a whole variety of ways. The facet of which you describe here, is most puzzling of all. I too, had a post baby breakup with a friend WHO WAS A MOTHER ALREADY.

    And HBM? I SO get the part about expressing yourself better via words than face to face emotions. Crying? HATE IT. Will do anything to NOT cry. Then get mad for crying.

    So, the break is up and I am being whipped back to packing. I will be your friend, HBM. Regardless.

    jennster June 27, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    this pisses me right the hell off, BECAUSE- how dare someone tell you what you should or shouldn’t make time for. and don’t people realize that blog time, is YOU time.. and we ALL NEED ME TIME. you know? and i’m just sorry that the friend was that high maintanence. i can’t deal with friends who require too much of me. or demand my time. i need friends who are easy going and can just be okay that i don’t have the time to give randomly anymore that i used too. but that doesn’t mean i don’t think about them, or wont’ be there for them if they need me. you know?

    wordgirl June 27, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    “I’ve already mourned it. Don’t e-mail me back”.

    Well…if that isn’t the most chickenshit way to duck out of a friendship! She makes an assumption and then without even attempting to tell you she feels a little neglected, she deep-sixes the whole thing. What a Drama Queen. You’re well rid of someone who values her haughty exit line over a ten-year friendship.

    Mom101 June 27, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    Oh, my heart hurts for you. I think you speak for so many writers (and yes, that’s what you are) when you talk about the “need” to write. You don’t need to justify it, certainly not to friends who should know better. But I’ve found that the verb blog doesn’t nearly hold the water of the verb write.

    Sometimes my own sigOth gets mad: “You’re on the computer all the time!” And I have to remind him, I’M WRITING. I think if it were a novel he’d understand it better.

    My sense is that this was a friendship that would have bottomed out eventually. My dearest friends, they understand that priorities change. What makes them friends is that I can see them once a week or once a year and it’s like we never were apart.

    I’m sorry. I just hope that as this door closes, many more open.

    ninepounddictator June 27, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    I feel for you, but I swear, I think it’s hilarious that a friend dumped you because you blog! That’s too funny!

    I’ve lost a lot of single fab friends…but I suppose I’ve met a lot of new good mother friends too….

    It all equals out..even though it may suck to lose a good friend….But it happens, all the time..

    I love that, “Dont’ e-mail back. I’ve already mourned the loss of the friendship.” Too funny….

    Annie, The Evil Queen June 28, 2006 at 12:27 am

    Relationships are supposed to grow and change over time. You can’t control the direction in which they move. If she’s unwilling to participate in your life as you live it, you can’t change her mind. It’s a shame, but there it is.

    MommyWithAttitude June 28, 2006 at 3:13 am

    HBM, I’m speechless (or whatever the blog equivalent would be).

    I’m sorry you had to find out that your friend is a creep. Perhaps she’ll have a baby of her own one day and then she’ll “get it,” and it will be too late. And she’ll get to “mourn the loss of your friendship” all over again.

    Not that I wish her ill, I’m just sayin’…

    tracey June 28, 2006 at 3:38 am

    Heavy duty stuff here HBM. What a post.

    mo-wo June 28, 2006 at 5:42 am

    Hey lady.. I think you say like 10 times in there that you don’t know why x or y is the case.. stop it. Who knows why weirdo crap like this happens. Who wants to know?

    But enough bossiness… I will say I thought blogging would hurt my limited time for ‘real-world-friendships’, no no no. Has actually been a plus for me and the man. I think prior to our blogging we were much more insular. Now we have renewed devotion to the importance of the multitudes, real and ‘imagined’, in our family.

    I agree with MIM that adult relationships entail a number of closures accompanying change. I had a friend break up with me just prior to my pregnancy… I listened to what she said and I guess she might in someways remind me of your case here. In the end, tho’ it grieved me.. tho’ I was not really used to this sort of shutdown I had to say, “Well it does appear we have achieved a level of dysfunction in our relationship that suggests bye-bye.. so bye-bye.” Took me some getting used to… I am sorry, among other things going on with you, this is on your plate, now.

    alreigggght.. ‘nuf from me and my elephant sized comments.

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