Peaches Geldof‘s untimely death is a remarkable tragedy, made even more heartbreaking by her young age and her two infant children that she leaves behind. Her final column in Mother & Baby ran yesterday with the permission of her family, and it’s a devastating testament to how happy motherhood made her. It also speaks to a universal growing pain–losing friends as you go through transitions in life.
Geldof wrote of her life before having kids–a “life of wanton wanderlust…lost in a haze of youth and no responsibilities.” Eventually Geldof grew tired of that life and wanted something more constant (as many people will relate to, or possibly won’t), and becoming a mother provided that stability for her. It completely changed her life, as parenting is wont to do, but also was the catalyst for negative changes as well.
However, this new earth-mother me came with an unexpected consequence – I found myself friendless. My five closest friends were understanding and sweet, albeit less present in my life. But many others revealed themselves to be of the fair-weather variety. Once I couldn’t go out, due to the aforementioned little wailers, they didn’t want to know…And no one seemed to want to ask about my babies, when I wanted to gush endlessly about them…It hurt me. I felt alienated and abandoned.
It doesn’t take motherhood to relate to this–we’ve all gone through big life transitions (graduating from college, landing new jobs, moving, beginning or ending relationships, for example) that suddenly throw us out of sync with our friends and consequently, our biggest support system. It’s a necessary and painful part of life–the shedding of people who no longer fit into your life happens, but it hurts every time. Geldof makes an excellent case for committing to your own life and that if people abandon you for something as insignificant as the fact that you don’t party like you used to, they’re not healthy additions to your life.
After feeling alienated and alone, Geldof found a new community to lean on and mended friendships with the people from her pre-motherhood life who were willing to adapt. It’s hard to read her column without getting emotional given the circumstances, but she concluded by saying that any doubts she had about her new life were dashed by spending time with her sons, Astala and Phaedra. As she put it, “[t]he transition can be hard and scary, but I suddenly felt sorry for the friends who had treated me so badly. I had it all.”
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