I can remember the first person who offered me a seat on the subway when I was nine months pregnant. Although I never would have had the courage to ask her for the seat, her act of kindness and her words—“I know how you feel”—made me want to carve our names in a tree.
She was my BFF—at least for that train ride.
We all know those angels of mercy who become our closest friends when we are most in need—struggling to lug our stroller up flights of stairs, trying to hold a single door open while pushing a double stroller—these are people we never would have met otherwise. But now? They are a lifeline.
“I think it’s only natural that the friendships you have change after you become a mother. I had friends at work before I had children, but once I left work to stay at home, I fell out of that day-to-day loop,” says Teresa Bitler, a mom from Phoenix. “It also becomes difficult to get together with people that either don’t have kids or who have kids in a different period of life. For example, going out to dinner with toddlers is obviously much different than going out with 10 year olds. It helps to have someone that is going through the same phases and stages that you are.”
“As a ‘new mom’ you are now a part of a club,” says Jessica Shapley, LMSW, founder of momsupport.org. “This means, when walking on the street, baby in tow (in carriage or sling), you make eye contact with the mom you pass (who also has baby in tow) and the shirt with spit up, or the rings under the eyes, or the look of sheer bliss is a relatable and comforting site.”
Strike up a conversation, give a struggling mom a smile, and soon you may have a new bosom buddy, so to speak. “As a mom, isolation is the enemy and friendship is the key,” Shapley says. “Especially with a diaspora of families, the village we create is often the friendships we build during this new time in our lives.”