When I first became pregnant, I remember reading a lot of blog posts from new Mums about how their friends had abandoned them once they had their children and how shocked and saddened they were by it.
I remember hoping that wouldn't happen to me, and also feeling quite confident that I knew which of my friends would be most likely to lose interest once a baby was on the scene and which would stick around for the duration.
Unfortunately - I didn't get quite get my guesses right, it seems.
Now to give a little background to this story, I should explain that I am not one of those people who has an enormous circle of friends. I never have been.
I have always had a lot of acquaintances - people I know from school, people I know from work, etc. People that I might occasionally go on a group night out with or pass the time of day with if I see them on the street, but would never call for a chat, invite around for a movie, or go to for advice etc.
So considering that I can count the number of "proper" friends I have probably on just one hand I thought I would do a good job of guessing which of them would fade out once Baby had arrived and which would still be there....
A couple of my friends are a bit younger than me, they're not at the stage in their lives yet where they are ready to settle down and think about having kids - they're still in the "partying" phase and enjoying themselves...
A couple of my friends are closer to my age or older, and are in relationships and closer to the point in their lives where they're starting to think about having children themselves....
And a few of my friends are simply the kind of people who I just wouldn't expect to have much of an interest in children in general.
And so, while I was pregnant, I imagined that once the baby was born I would find myself slowly losing touch with the younger, partying friends and the ones without much of a love for kiddies - I was prepared for that and I wouldn't have been too offended as I would understand that its natural for us to drift apart since my life and theirs are now so different.
However - what has surprised me is that I was wrong in which friends would tail off...
(now bare in mind when reading this that I moved to Liverpool during my pregnancy temporarily, so these friends I'm talking about all live back in Devon....)
These people - the young party girls & the ones without much of an interest in kids - have been lovely since I had Tyne.
One of them surprised me with an absolutely beautiful gift sent to me when I arrived home from the hospital, despite the fact that she lives in Devon and me in Liverpool - she spent a small fortune ordering a gift online for me, to let me know she was thinking of us.
And whats more - since the gift, she has sent a fair few Facebook messages and texts asking how we are, commented on photos of Tyne on Facebook, etc etc.
Another of them - one of the ones I would have thought completely uninterested in babies - has commented regularly on photos of Tyne on Facebook. I realise that things such as comments on Facebook photos don't sound like much, but actually in my opinion they are a big deal - they show that somebody has an interest. That they are acknowledging the fact that you have just had a child, and are bonding with you over that by looking at the child and discussing it with you.
So yes some of my friends have surprised me in a good way - in fact one friend even traveled all the way from Devon to Liverpool to be Tyne's Godmother at his Christening, she sent a lovely gift for his birth along with a lovely card, she texts often to ask how we both are...she shows an interest in Tyne and in how I'm coping as a new Mum etc.
However - unfortunately, other friends have left a lot to be desired.
Some of them have done next to nothing to show any interest or acknowledgement of the fact that I have just gone through one of the most life altering experiences that any person can ever go through.
If a friend of mine had just had a baby, I would be sure to send a card and a gift to welcome the new arrival. Now obviously money can be an issue for some people - but rest assured money is certainly not an issue for the friends in question in this particular situation.
I don't mean to sound greedy here because the gift is NOT the point - infact its the card really that matters the most, because its the card that shows the sentiment.
Just a simple greeting card to congratulate you on becoming a parent and welcome the new baby - which can be purchased from any number of stores that people pass everyday on their way home from work, and posted for a mere matter of pence - can mean a lot to somebody.
But ok - no card, no present. That's fine - maybe you were busy, maybe you just didn't think.
But at the very, VERY least I would expect a text every now and then.
Not a text in response to one that I have sent to you - but a text sent off your own bat.
To ask "Hey, you gave birth a few weeks ago...how are you feeling?!" or better still "That little human being you created, how is he doing?!". ANYTHING along those lines would be acceptable - they would show that its possible for you to take a few short minutes out of your day to think about your friend and bother to concern yourself with them.
But no - no texts or phonecalls. Thats fine - obviously you have far too much going on in your own life to bother yourself with the single most important event of your friends life so far.
But a very small saving grace could just be as simple as you bothering to occasionally comment on some photos of the baby on Facebook ... come on now, how long does that take?! You're on Facebook....you clearly log on and talk to people every now and then, you post your own photos ... surely you can muster up at least a few short sentences to acknowledge the existence of your friends newborn son? All you have to say is "Aww isn't he cute" or "He's getting big now"....it really can be that simple! Four short words. Approximately 45 seconds out of your day and then you can get back to your ever so important life, full of far more interesting and important things....
But no....SEVEN weeks on, and not even a simple Facebook photo comment.
No matter what way you look at it, having a child - particularly your first child - is one of the biggest events in a persons life.
And in my opinion - if you don't bother to show any interest whatsoever in your friend when they become a Mum, and don't bother to show any interest in the newborn child of your friend - then you are nothing short of selfish.
I'm sure you're thinking "These people are not really your friends. They're not worth bothering with".
Well that may be true...but don't I wish I'd known that when I was wasting my time spending hours listening to all of their ridiculous problems, giving them advice time after time, putting myself out for them....
Oh well, you live & learn.
One thing I have certainly learnt since becoming a Mum is that my time now is precious, and I do not have the time or inclination to bother with selfish, fair weather friends who are only out for themselves and have no interest in anything that doesn't relate to THEM anymore....I could spend that time with the people who DO make an effort, and that's exactly what I'll be doing from now on.
But for future reference, for myself and for anybody else out there who may wondering if they've offended any of their friends once they become parents for the first time, here is my list of how to keep your New Mum friends happy! It REALLY isn't all that much to ask, is it?!
Hayley's Guide To Not Pissing Off Your New Mum Friend!
*When your friend is pregnant - her hormones are all over the place, and she's having a hard time waddling around and dealing with countless pregnancy unpleasantries. Send her a text every now & then to ask how she is. Maybe even call her for a chat or ask if there's anything she'd like you to pick up from the shops for her on the way home - every little helps!
*When your friend has just given birth - send a card!!!! Get yourself to Card Factory - you can buy one for 29p. Don't tell me you're too busy - no matter where you work I can guarantee you that you will pass SOMEWHERE at least once during your day that you can pop into and pick up a card. If not, sodding well make one! Or send an e-card...they're FREE!!!
*In the weeks following the birth, send a text every now and then. Ask how she is. And - this is very important - include a mention of the baby! There is a very important second person in your friends life now who is kind of like an extension of herself - if you don't ask how the baby is, you're just as likely to piss her off as if you hadn't bothered to text at all. It just makes it seem like you're deliberately trying not to acknowledge the creature.
*Now that your friend is a mum, her Facebook feed WILL be filled with endless photos of her little darling. Fact. There is nothing you can do about this, and its most likely going to stay this way for the next 18 years or so - possibly forever. If you would like to stay friends with this person, not only do you need to accept this fact - you need to occasionally make a little comment on those photos.
Its just what good friends do. Suck it up. I'm sure you've bored her to tears plenty of times over the years chewing her ear off with your incessant, self-obsessed rambling about your self-inflicted love life problems.....
If you can't be bothered doing these few simple little things, then accept that your friendship with this person is over.
Perhaps you're fine with that - then good for you. But I hope that when your turn comes to give birth, you find yourself surrounded by friends who are as poorly behaved toward you as you were toward your pregnant friend - then perhaps you'll know how it feels......