Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"When friends become parents"

I found a recent Wall Street Journal blog entry asking the question, "Readers, have you had friends or colleagues who felt left behind when you had kids? How have you dealt with that?"

The blogger is a parent, as are most of the respondents (although there are a few brave voices in the mix offering the childless/free viewpoint). It's interesting to see the range of opinions expressed. Infertility is mentioned -- some parents are aware that being around children might be difficult for some of us.

Do I feel "left behind" sometimes? Absolutely. Even among the friends we've made through our pg loss support group, dh & I are among the few who remain childless. When we get together, our conversations naturally revolve around the kids. So even in the one group of parents where I feel most comfortable & actually do have something in common, I still feel left out at times.

I belong to a scrapbooking board with a small but loyal group of posters (mostly moms). Every morning, there's a "check in" post where everyone posts "good morning" & what their plans are for the day. All the moms, whether they work or not, post about their kids, their activities & their accomplishments. Most of the time, I don't have much to say except "Have a good day," because I really don't have much exciting happening in my life. I get up, I go to work, come home, have dinner, go for a walk, & get ready to do it all over again the next day. (Which, I suppose, is better than the alternative...!)

How about you?


  1. It was excruciatingly hard when our friends became parents. We were the odd ones out. Oh, you'll understand, when you have children of your own, they said.

    Those have to be the cruelest and most patronizing words in the universe.

    We have lost contact with the friends who brought their children to our hospital room, right after Gabriel died. Can't say I regret it.

  2. A bunch of folks I know have just had babies. I didn't know some were pregnant (we no longer live in same place). I guess they aren't telling me.

    I guess as long as friends keep convos balanced, it's ok.

    I know a few childless folks that live rather child-centered lives, whether its children within their family or its their job focus.

    I think parents do need help (it takes a village...), so those who can lend a hand a true necessities and are appreciated. I find joy, and sadness, in the children of others.

  3. We have really good friends with three kids who are all under the age of four and all incredibly well mannered. It is sort of the opposite of the norm - we don't avoid them, they avoid us. They are always afraid their kids will bother us or (now that we have been trying for so long) upset me.

    The mom (my friend) told me a story about the four year old the other day that just shocked me. The mom said something about talking to me and the little girl overhead and asked her mom if I was sad. The mom was surprised and asked why I would be say and her daughter said, "Because she wants to have a baby but she can't."

    My jaw hit the floor. It is AMAZING how intuitive little ones can be.

  4. Funny I was thinking about how many of the couples that came to our wedding we've lost contact with. If I'm honest, I know it's me. I haven't pursued the relationships because they've become parents and we haven't.

  5. I definitely feel left behind...I'm one of the few of my friends (other than the ones who are not married) who doesn't have children, and it's hard...this year a large number of friends became pregnant, and that means next year...everything will change. I don't know what to expect from our friendships anymore, but I'm afraid of what might happen - when my best friend had her baby, her life revolved around that child, and it still does - she is now 3 and 1/2...we can't even have a decent conversation on the phone, let alone consider going out. I don't mean to sound like the insensitive infertile, but it's hard to lose a friendship that you once valued so much.

  6. Yes among friends. I have one (male) friend who is single (and childless). Literally every single other friend I have has at least one child.

    The one place I don't feel left out is when I'm on the road marketing. There I'm among mostly male work-a-holics and outside of what seems to me to be a rote ice breaker of "Do you have any kids" there is no more mention of the topic. We talk about business, politics, hobbies, ourselves, our spouces, vacations, cars, houses, everything under the sun EXCEPT children. It's so delightful.

    (You know I actually had a guy the other day tell me that his wife had raised a nice family and now that his kids are older he "actually" enjoys their company!)

    For much of my life most of my friends were men. It wasn't until my twenties that I actually began having more than one or two female friendships and began to really value the companionship and empathy of women. And now, ironically, my heart is safest when I'm in the company of men. Life sure is crazy!