Anyone who thinks that having a baby will only have a tiny impact on their life is actually almost right. The baby will be tiny; the impact will be anything but. And if it’s your friend who is expecting, don’t expect your life to get off scot free either.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when it feels as if the whole world is having a baby. Gone are the days of the impromptu ‘quick drink after work’ that turns into the best night out of your life. Instead, that first year will be more about brunch in baby-friendly cafes while your exhausted friend tells you stories about poop. Your friend’s priorities are duty bound to shift from your friendship to their new baby and that can be hard to take. But we’re here to guide you through the minefield of baby showers, christenings and first Christmas presents and come out as a shining example of a best friend.
This is when your friend is likely to be struggling with nausea, exhaustion and the sudden disapperance of their social life, not that many pregnant women even feel like having the glasses of wine that are now off limits. The best thing a friend can do is prepare to be understanding if plans are cancelled abruptly. And absolutely no reminiscing along the lines of, “Oh remember how much fun it was when you were able to get drunk with me.”
First of all, respect any decision not to discuss potential names and don’t press if your friend knows the gender but doesn’t want to tell anyone. More importantly though is what to buy. We spoke to bloggers who were new mums or friends of new mums for some tips here and the general consensus was that it’s pretty difficult.
Practicality can be key, but as Becky from beckybedbug.com says, “I want to keep some gifts a surprise. Asking ‘What do you need?’ spoils that.” A handy way around that is to ask the dad-to-be for suggestions. He’ll not only know what they need, but also be able to steer you as to what they like.
And don’t try to be too personal with your gift. The intention is appreciated, but it’s dangerous ground. “Keepsakes are lovely and we should all have some for sentimental purposes,” Steph of mentalparentals.com suggests, “but they should be left to immediate family to choose and gift.” Depending on how close your friend is to delivering, you may also want to steer clear of pedicures or massages as certain pressure points around the feet and ankles are rumoured to induce labour and that’s not how you want the baby shower to end.
What’s important here is helping your friend to feel like more than just a mum. Buy her something for herself, something that reminds her that she’s a person too. After what she’s been through, she deserves to be spoiled. Really, though, just turn up with food and offer to do the dishes and she’ll remember why you’re her best friend in the first place.
Alexandra of sweetdreamsbeauty.co.uk mentions that she’s due to be godmother. “I want to find a special gift,” she says, “but I think it’s hard to find a unique present rather than a generic one that other family members may give.” A nice idea we’ve heard is to buy mum a bottle of port or wine to hold onto for her little one as it matures over the next 18 years. This can subsequently be gifted to them, when they reach the requisite age of course, as something really special from their godparent.
A baby’s first Christmas is much more of an event for the parents than the baby, who won’t have any clue what’s going on and won’t remember one single thing about it later. It’s Christmas so toys are the order of the day. Start as you mean to continue and nobody wants to be the unpopular relative or godparent that shows up with clothes. “Jenny Lord from midwifeandlife.com has a slightly evil suggestion for those whose friendship may have soured: “If you don’t like them much, buy a musical toy that you can’t turn off or loads of pom poms and glue. Oh, and glitter.”
Congratulations, your friendship has survived not only a pregnancy but also a whole year with a bundle of joy who is more important than either of you. By all means, treat the baby to a gift, but we think it’s you and your best friend who deserve the party.