Like all people, I am a work in progress. I am going to start a series on my social development, which sounds really boring, but hopefully will be more interesting than it sounds.

One of the biggest challenges in my life has been forming and maintaining friendships. I am horrible at making friends, and not very good at keeping them either. And I’m not being overly critical of myself either. I have been super shy and super quiet my entire life. On my last day of high school, someone actually said they’d never heard me talk before. That’s not to say that I was unpopular. The strange thing is I was in the “popular” crowd in high school, but kind of as this strange appendage that was part of the body, yet not quite. Those friends didn’t mean much to me, nor I to them.

At numerous points in my life, I have yearned to have more friends. Time and time again, I have hoped to have a fresh start, to be more sociable and friendly, but things never pan out the way I hope. When I was 23, for various reasons that I may discuss at another time, I became depressed and suicidal. I was able to recognize my problems very quickly, and started taking antidepressants and going to therapy. Among other things, my therapist diagnosed me with social anxiety disorder, which made my whole life make much more sense.

After awhile, social interaction no longer terrified me, but it was still really hard for me. Then I became a mom, and suddenly, I wanted some close friends ever more. I know a lot of moms feel isolated when their kids are born because they no longer see their friends. I felt isolated because it became all the more clear that I had only 1 or 2 real friends. One was not a mom, and the other lived in the Arctic Circle. Literally, in the northernmost point of the United States.

I joined Gymboree, which was great for my daughter, but left me as lonely as ever. This went on and on for years, until I had my second daughter. One day, in the cry room at my church, I met a couple who invited me to the church playgroup. I went, and I started making some friends. People who shared my faith and my lifestyle, who I could complain about my family to. We went on play dates, and participated in some church events, and even a mom’s night out.

As I got to know these women better, it became clear to me why moms need mom friends. We get each other. We are going through the same trials. We experience the same joys. A few months ago, I started a new Instagram account in order to connect with other moms. I have found a wonderful community so far. As in everything else, I feel I have made friends slower than most people, but I am okay with that. I have made several solid friends, and I am so grateful for that.  {To be continued}