Being the first of your friends to become pregnant can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, your baby will be totally spoilt for attention, and will get loads of awesome presents from all of the ‘aunties’ in his life. But, on the other hand, your friends won’t know what you’re going through. Therefore they won’t be able to offer (useful) advice, and you might find it isolating at times. There could even be envy or even jealousy sparked if you’ve all been ‘trying’ and you got ‘lucky’ first.
The changing dynamics will totally depend on your group of friends. If your friends are all settling down, you might not feel all too different from them. But if your friends are still partying all weekend, you might find yourself feeling like a baby bore when you meet up.
10 Tips For When You're The First To Get Pregnant
Being the first to get pregnant isn’t easy, but it can be wonderful. Here are some tips to help you through:
#1: Explain Things
If your friends are clueless when it comes to babies, then there’s a good chance they will have no idea what you’re banging on about when you talk about delayed cord clamping, active birth and your emotional turmoil because there's nothing in the fridge that you feel like eating. They definitely wont get the hormones.
Don’t assume they know what you’re talking about, and don’t shy away from explaining things. If your friends love you, they’ll be interested in what you’re going through. Most people are fascinated with pregnancy, birth and babies, so your friends will probably quite enjoy finding out what it’s really like (without actually having to get stretch marks themselves).
#2: Keep In Touch
Some friendships do fall apart under the strain of a pregnancy, but that’s usually down to bad communication. If you don’t talk regularly, then of course your friendship will suffer. If you’re keeping the pregnancy secret for the first trimester, then this will be the trickiest time for your friendships. You won’t be drinking and may feel like this is a barrier to socialising (though it isn’t, you just need a good excuse as to why you’re not downing vodka shots). You're probably too tired to meet up in the evenings too, and your friends may see this as a lack of interest in your part. Do your best to keep in touch during these weeks, and make sure you make up for lost time when the secret is out.
#3: Show An Interest
Your brain might be fully engaged in baby mode, but no matter how excited your friends are for you, they’re unlikely to have the same level of interest in the pregnancy as you do. Make sure you show an interest in their lives, even if they seem a million miles away from where you are right now. Friendship isn’t about doing the same thing at the same time, it’s about support and love no matter what.
In the same way your friends need to understand that you probably won’t be spending every Saturday night in cocktail bars for the foreseeable future, you need to be sensitive to the fact that they might not want to spend every Saturday shopping for baby items. Find new ways of socialising that fit into both your lives. Pamper nights on the weekends are a great way to catch up with friends, and workday lunches allow you to meet up when time is limited, but make sure you’re doing a mixture of things to keep everyone happy.
#5: Be Honest
A strong friendship is built on trust, and this means you should be able to be honest with each other. If your friends haven’t been through pregnancy, they probably have no idea how upsetting it can be when people exclaim how ridiculously massive you are, or tell you about horrible births, or even tell you off for enjoying a coffee.
If your friends keep upsetting you to the point that you’re avoiding them, it’s time to be honest. Sensitively explain what they’re doing that’s upsetting you and why, you can blame your sensitivity on the hormones if you like.
#6: Keep Them Involved
If your friend has always been your personal stylist, get her involved in picking out cute outfits for the baby. If she’s great at home design, ask for her help with picking out items for the nursery. Whatever it is that your friend does well, make sure you utilise this for the baby. Getting your friend involved with your pregnancy is a great way to secure your friendship. Your friend may feel worried that you’re going to ditch her for your new mamma friends, so make sure she knows this isn’t going to happen by letting her know just how important she is to you and the baby.
#7: Find Pregnant Friends
Having friends who know what you’re going through is important during pregnancy and parenthood. These new friendships don’t have to replace existing ones, but they can be invaluable for helping you to feel normal as you become a parent. There are so many things that you simply can’t imagine before you become a parent, and having other friends who are going through those 3am feeds, nappy rashes and teething hell with you is really important. Reach out to other women in your prenatal class, or attend a pregnancy fitness class to meet other pregnant women. Joining communities like BellyBelly's forum can help, as you can join groups of people who are pregnant at the same time you are.
#8: Expect A Little Loneliness
No matter how hard you work to keep your friendships alive, there will still be times when you feel isolated. You’ll see photos cropping up on social media of all your friends having a boozy girls night out, and, even though that’s the last place you want to be right now, you’ll feel jealous. There will be times when your friends don’t react in quite the way you wanted them to, because your baby latching on for the first time just isn’t quite so exciting to people who haven’t been through it.
Some people might tell you that you're having a baby and you should get over it, but friends are important too. They are part of you and that makes them like family. You can miss the relationship you had, even if you're grateful and glad to be pregnant.
Sadly, a little loneliness is unavoidable, but what you can do is minimise it by reaching out to others for support too. And remind yourself of how much your friends love you, and how strong your friendships are.
#9: Go Elsewhere For Advice
Nothing is more infuriating than baby advice from a person with no baby. Nothing kills a friendship faster than unwanted sleep advice from a person who doesn’t know what tired means. Knowing this in advance can save you some heartache: just don’t go to your child-free friends for parenting advice. And when they offer it anyway, which they will, be kind, because they don’t yet know how annoying that is. But they will, one day.
#10: Store Up Your Expertise
Your friends may not be all that interested in the finer details of weaning right now, but the day will come when your friendship groups expands with the pitter-patter of tiny feet, and then you will be the resident expert. Enjoy your new position as the wisest member of the group, at least where babies are concerned.