When I first found out my best friend of 21 years was pregnant, I cried and took the day off. This news was relayed over the phone, because I was in Los Angeles and she was in New York. You see, becoming a mother has been my best friend’s—let’s call her Lola—dream ever since I can remember. She absolutely couldn’t wait to have a baby and start a family with someone she loves.
Months passed and by the time I returned home to New York, Lola had her baby! An entire world in 8 pounds and 6 ounces. Naturally, life for my best friend got very busy, very quickly. Nearly overnight, our lives that had been in sync for decades, one step in front of the other, split apart. Lola took a giant step forward, and I missed the memo—I was still standing here, where we were.
Of course, this reality didn’t hit me until two months after the baby was born, when I was squeezed between a group of our high school friends at a bar in our hometown. Questions floated between glasses of cabernet, like, “Tell Lola congratulations! How is she doing?” and “Lola must be elated—that baby is so cute! Is she breastfeeding? “Do you know if she’s having people at the house yet?” Until one question cut right through, a bullseye towards me: “Sam, how are you doing?” I replied on auto-pilot, “Oh, Lola is wonderful! The baby is healthy and perfect.” To which the guy replied, “I asked how YOU are doing. This must be really hard for you—you both have always done everything together.” My eyes welled up. It was really hard for me, but with societal pressures and norms, I felt ashamed for feeling that way. After all, who was I to feel the landslide of our friendship because one of us had a baby? It wasn’t me that went through the joy and pain and fear and bliss of having your world turned upside down…it was Lola. So I started to question, how do new mamas and their best friends who aren’t moms yet adjust to this new life for everyone?
That's why I consulted with an expert, Dr. Vaneeta Sandhu, a clinical psychologist and the Head of Emotional Fitness at Coa, a gym for mental health, for her tips on maintaining friendships when you find yourselves at totally different points in your life.