About four years before I had my son, I moved from New York to Los Angeles with my husband. We were both excited about the move, but we left a lot of friends and family on the East Coast when we moved west. The transition was harder than I thought and when I found out I was having my first baby, I still hadn’t made the kind of close friendships I had left behind in New York.
Somewhat serendipitously, about a year before I found out I was pregnant, my husband met someone at a work event who turned out to be from our old neighborhood in Brooklyn. He and his wife had just moved to Los Angeles, so we invited them over to talk about New York and welcome them to L.A. I hit it off with his wife, Deb, and we ended up having dinner. We didn’t see each other very often, but it was nice to have a local girlfriend who could relate to my East Coast upbringing. Fast forward eight months and we were both expecting. While pregnant, our relationship stayed much the same. We would see each other occasionally, but we were both so busy with work that it was hard to find the time to get together, let alone chat on the phone.
That changed when we had our babies. Deb was my go-to for all things newborn. Her daughter was born two months earlier than my son, so it was easy to call and say, “Is this normal?” And because our working mom status didn’t allow us to join a traditional weekday Mommy & Me group, we formed an informal group of two and would meet at our local park or each other’s homes on the weekend. Having a friend who was a new mom at the same time as me was absolutely essential during that first year of my son’s life. I have no idea who else would have discussed the merits of sleep training or puréed sweet potatoes or breastfeeding for (seemingly) hours on end if not Deb.
Our “babies” are now 3 years old (and budding BFFs themselves) and our focus has shifted from nursing to preschool, but we still make an effort to see each other as often as we can. In fact, we recently had a ladies night out with another new mom we bonded with in those first months of motherhood. Sure, I could have called my mom or a friend who already had kids that first year, but being in the trenches with a fellow newbie was exactly what I needed to get me through that time intact. And, I’m counting on the fact that our friendship will help keep me sane going forward, too.