The help desk: Motherhood has completely changed my best friend - can I ever get her back?

 

Q. I met my best friend in our first term at university. We've gone travelling together, moved to London together and I was best woman at her wedding. We're in our thirties now and I thought we'd be friends for life. But having a baby earlier this year has completely changed her. I know motherhood is very demanding and I completely understood that things would be very different for her. But her fixation on her son, his routines, his 'personality' and so on borders on the obsessive.

She is (or was) a successful lawyer and I never could have imagined that a woman like her could become such a control-freak parent. She's become the sort of woman we used to privately laugh at before. I desperately miss the smart, funny and kind friend she was. I can't talk to her about it, especially as she has implied my life is incomplete until I have a baby. Can I ever get her back or must I accept that our friendship is over?

A. Becoming obsessed is pretty much necessary when you have a baby to look after, because otherwise no one on Earth could be bothered to do it and the human race would be in danger of fizzling out through lack of interest.

Having said that, from the outside, the almost demeaning level of worship for what might seem to you a rather unprepossessing human can appear to have shades of Titania under the influence of love-in-idleness. I'm not really surprised that your high-powered lawyer friend has turned into a baby bore, because in my experience it's usually the over-achievers who sign up to the OCD school of parenthood. It seems to be the only way they can retain a feeling of control and make sense of all the upheaval. So maybe your friend hasn't changed as much as you think.

The loss of a close friend can be heart-breaking. But do remember that this is her potential loss as well. Even through her baby fog, she can almost certainly sense your contempt and derision. No doubt you were all ears during the previous milestones in her life. (In fact, if I know anything about female friendships, I would wager you could probably give a reasonably accurate account of the consummation of her relationship with her husband.)

Now her dearest friend is someone whose eyes glaze over when she discusses her favourite subject and who puts quotation marks around her son's "personality", and she perhaps feels the need to justify it all to herself and to you by making it look more like a science.

So can you get your friend back? You certainly won't do so by waiting for her to snap out of it, though these are tough months for her and she will acclimatise. Accept that she has gone through something huge. Take an interest in her son – babies are great when you get to know them – and offer practical help. Try to get the lifestyle schism out in the open and you will perhaps be able to get her to meet you halfway in forging a new way to be friends. Above all, show respect for her new preoccupations, and you can demand more respect for yours in return.

Your problem shared

Have a dilemma? Email your predicament, no matter how big or small, to Louisa at thehelpdesk@independent.co.uk

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

    £27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

    £19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

    Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor