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Now That I'm a Mommy, Can I Keep My Women Friends?

I didn't anticipate losing friends when I became a mom. Perhaps I was naive, perhaps I was too focused on achieving a dream. Years of infertility treatments followed by years waiting for our adopted daughter took their toll. Being around young families then was painful, so I built close relationships with women who had chosen not to have children. Some had fertility issues, some not. All felt judged by society for not "achieving motherhood." They stood by me during the hardest period of my life. I love them dearly. Transitioning our friendship now that I am a parent has not been easy. More than once I mourned what I thought was the end of the friendship.

There was the holiday meal our toddler did not sit still for two minutes in a row. Our hosts, a lovely intelligent couple with no plans to become parents, seemed to have a fantasy that an 18 month old could be left to quietly play by herself during dinner if we brought a playpen. I had to gently explain the reality of a toddler who wants explore the world (no playpen). It was stressful to say the least—poignantly completed with a diaper leak on their beautiful leather sofa.

My relationship with another friend was built around long walks together. We walked and talked about our pain with infertility, our frustration, our hurt, our spirits and souls. As my husband and I came to a decision about adopting a child, she and her spouse chose a different way of life. They adopted two enormous dogs, perfect for walking. I soon found my daughter, Eliyana, had no patience for riding in a stroller while I took long walks, so our walks became few and far between. I worried that my friend would not want me in her life now that our paths had diverged.

New families have come into my life with whom I enjoy play dates and stolen minutes of adult conversation while the children run and scream. Miraculously, my female friends without children are still here too. Their continued presence in my life can be challenging: I can't drop everything and go out for coffee like I used to. I sometimes feel guilty that I can't be present enough for them. Yet, we have found ways to remain connected, tweaking our plans to make the relationship work. It takes a great deal of patience and effort.  The friend with the leather couch is now invited to my home to visit (and recently also got to see my cat throw up on the carpet). We get sitters occasionally and enjoy going out with them on the town. My friend of long walks recently  revealed that she enjoys  it  when I called to chat by phone. (Who knew?)

I was afraid that a friend who had faced infertility for so many years would find it too painful to be around my new daughter. After some time and some soul-searching, I finally came to understand that we were each happy on our own paths: I overheard her tell her puppies the other day that they would soon be seeing their non-furry cousin, Eliyana. 

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More on: Children, Mothers, Friends
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Tziona Szajman with her daughter Eliyana
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Tziona Szajman with her daughter Eliyana.
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How to cite this page

Szajman , Tziona. "Now That I'm a Mommy, Can I Keep My Women Friends?." 29 May 2015. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 23, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog/now-that-im-mommy-can-i-keep-my-women-friends>.

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