By Megan Stonelake
I used to have this really close friend. We were roommates for years and best friends for even longer. When I was about seven months pregnant, this friend abruptly ended the relationship. It certainly wasn’t my decision, and the loss was devastating. In retrospect, it was time for the friendship to end, but it was the closing of an important chapter in my life. I was nearing 30, and I was about to become a parent. This period of upheaval made the loss all the more painful.
My husband and I had just moved to the area where this friend lived, and I didn’t know a single soul except her. I began motherhood without a strong community of peers, and it felt really lonely. I was sad to lose this relationship, and I was really sad about feeling so isolated. But what I had to grieve the most was that this friend never got to see me as a parent. I never got the chance to share such a significant part of my life with her, and she never saw me blossom into the person I am now. Yet, I don’t know that this transformation would have happened without losing her. I had to shed who I was in that relationship to become a more self-assured, centered person: qualities that I find central to parenting.
Losing this significant connection motivated me to seek out new friendships, something I seldom do. With time and effort, I began to create a new group of friends. I met some wildly witty, brilliant women who are in the same stage of life. I made friendships with other mothers who exude such wisdom and compassion that I marvel at the richness they bring to my life. I can confidently say these friends have made me a better mother. I’m certain that my old friend wouldn’t have affected my parenting in the same way. We didn’t bring out the best in each other, and she wouldn’t have inspired me the way the community of women I know do now. I don’t blame her for this, but I know it to be true.