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If you’re not great at remembering names or linking them with faces (and possibly even if you are!), it won’t do to simply plug your new acquaintances’ names and contact details into your iPhone or address book. Pregnancy and early motherhood is going to, in a short time, throw you into many new experiences and places with a lot of people you’ve never met before—and may never meet again, unless you put forth some effort. In your previous experiences making friends at work or school, you probably worked with or near the same people for months or years and had ample opportunity to develop friendships based on proximity. This is different. Pregnancy is short, new moms are busy and often overwhelmed, and your exposure to these potential new friends could be limited.

To make matters more complicated, “mommy brain” is not just a stereotype—it’s a scientifically studied phenomenon. Pregnancy and early motherhood have a funny way of turning even the sharpest brain as fuzzy as a Monet painting. You’ll find yourself thinking of that wonderful, funny woman you met in your childbirth class and wondering if she had her baby yet. Wouldn’t it be great to get together one of these days? And then you’ll realize you have no recollection of her name. It’s simply leaked out of one of the holes that the demands of motherhood has punched in your memory. And where did you put that scrap of paper where you scribbled down her phone number again?

Don’t let that happen! Instead of mixing all these potential new friends in with your business contacts, old friends, and family in your existing address book, try keeping a small notebook in your purse where you can jot down their names and pertinent information . . . as much information as possible, as it will help you keep them straight later and will also give you some fodder for conversation. Your notebook might look like this:

Name: Paige Johnson
Contact Information: 555-3334 [email protected]
Work Info: Freelance graphic designer
Children? 2 year old, Thomas Pregnant with baby girl, due in June
Identifying information: Lives in Uptown neighborhood, long brown hair, very sarcastic

Months from the day you meet Paige, when you read her entry in the notebook, you’ll immediately remember her brown hair and biting wit. You’ll know her older son’s name, when she was due, what sex baby she had, and her name. Best yet, you’ll be able to get in touch with her because all this information is at your fingertips and easy to find. Maybe it seems a little silly now to keep these kinds of detailed notes, but you won’t regret it later. However, you may want to wait until Paige has walked away before you start documenting her personal details!

If you do elect to use your usual Rolodex system or PDA to keep track of new friends’ information, make sure to include some identifying bits of information you can use later in the “notes” area, for example, “Met during prenatal yoga. She wore pink top and had red hair. Is a nurse at Memorial Hospital. Likes wine.” Include any notes that will jog your memory later. It may help to group your new acquaintances together in one place, wherever it is you keep track of them. For instance, in your address book, you could alphabetize them all under “M” and give them each a title, for example, “Mom Friend: Kristy,” “Mom Friend: Wendy,” and so on. That way, when you’re struggling to remember the name of that potential soul mate you chatted with in your Hypnobirthing class, you can pull up “M” for “Mom Friends” and flip through the entries until you find the right one. Much easier than searching your entire address book!


When you have a new baby in the house, it’s easy for time to take on a whole new meaning. Your baby will be waking up to eat ’round the clock, you’ll probably be napping during the day to catch up on lost sleep, and it’s easy to lose track of what time it is . . . okay, what day it is, too. Those early weeks of motherhood are not the time to be filling out registration forms or trying to juggle scheduling. Plan ahead now by looking at the calendars of different groups and other classes in the area and try to form a basic plan for which ones you’ll attend, and when. Flip your calendar or PDA to a month or two after your due date and pencil (or punch) in classes and activities that interest you, along with times, locations, cost, Web sites, and any other necessary information. That way when you’re starting to feel like it’s time to get out of the house with your new baby, you won’t have to go looking for all that information again.

Don’t over-commit yourself... in fact, don’t commit in stone to anything just yet. Getting used to life with a baby may be more challenging than you expect, and if your little angel decides she’s going to take a nice solid nap from noon until three every day, I strongly encourage you to enjoy the peace and time to yourself rather than interrupting the nap just because you feel like you’re “supposed” to go to Baby Yoga classes at 1:30! If you have to sign up for something in advance to hold your spot, go ahead, but never be afraid to change your mind . . . particularly if your sanity is on the line.


Now is the time to give your dear old friends their own special place in your calendar. If you have a friendship that’s always been freewheeling and unscheduled in the past, have a talk with your friend. Explain that from now on you’re going to need a little extra planning time to go out so you can coordinate your schedule with your babysitter, spouse, or partner. And let her know that for the first few outings you may want or need to include the baby. Sit down with your friend and schedule out regular “dates” for the first six months or so of the baby’s life . . . long enough to make your new arrangement a habit. Be sure to share your calendar with your spouse or sitter so everyone knows the plan. You may not see your old friend as much as you did pre-baby, but as long as you both make a regular effort to spend time together, your friendship can weather the changes.

It seems to me there are two kinds of mothers in the world: those who socialize exclusively with other mothers and those who maintain contact with their old friends while making new ones in the mommy world. I hope you’ll toss your hat firmly into the latter ring. Over the years my friends who made no distinction between the friends who had children and those who did not have told me it was refreshing to spend time with someone who didn’t want to discuss diapers, school grades, or the SATs. Remember that the next time you think to yourself: “Oh! I can’t call Mary Jane. She doesn’t have children; she wouldn’t understand.” Mary Jane may not know the best brand of diaper to buy but she just might keep you connected to the latest news from your favorite baseball team or television show. Even if the days when you could return calls right away or go out at a moment’s notice are over, you can still keep the lines of communication open. E-mail, IMs, text messages, snail mail, voice mail, and carrier pigeons give you a lot of options. Give them all a chance to love you. In the end that’s what friendship and communication are all about.

When your baby is here, we’ll revisit your social life to help give it a nudge in the right direction. Right now, it’s hard to know just how you’ll be feeling when you’ve got an infant to care for. Many women find themselves turning inward, feeling more introverted and introspective, when they have new babies. That’s normal. But it’s still a good idea to set yourself up now for a rich social life. That way, when you’re ready, you can jump right in . . . instead of wasting time searching the bottom of your purse for that lost phone number.
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