Please excuse me for being intrusive, but congratulations!
March 23, 2009 6:23 PM   Subscribe

My friend was expecting in early March, but still didn't call to announce the birth. Should I call or should I wait?

So we're not the best of friends anymore, and I think we call each other once in a blue moon out of loyalty rather than sincere interest - we've grown apart as friends sometimes do - but I value her, and she values me.

The last time we spoke (first week of March), she was days away from the due date of her first child and we agreed that she would call me when the baby was born.

Now I know that they must be busy beyond belief in these first few days, and my friend also suffered from "pregnancy brain" (forgetfulness and memory loss that occurs during pregnancy but sometimes persists a few weeks after delivery) , but I would still like to call to offer our congratulations and support.

Would it be intrusive of me to call? Should I wait for them to call me? Is it still too early? Am I overthinking this?

does this count as 4 questions?
posted by bitteroldman to Society & Culture (20 answers total)
I don't necessarily think calling is a bad idea but if you are worried about being intrusive perhaps sending a card or letter would be better?

Then she has something that let's her know you are thinking of her but leaves the ball in her court if she is really just not able to chat on the phone too much right now.
posted by Weaslegirl at 6:28 PM on March 23, 2009

I see nothing wrong with calling your friend and saying, "I was thinking of you & was wondering how everything is going. How are you?" If your concern is that something has gone awry with her pregnancy, that should avoid any awkwardness that could result from directly asking about the baby or beginning with, "Congratulations." Chances are everything is fine and your friend is just busy, and I can't imagine why she wouldn't want to hear from a friend, even if the two of you have grown a bit apart.
posted by katemcd at 6:34 PM on March 23, 2009 [4 favorites]

I'd be very cautious about this unless you know from 3rd parties that the baby was born safely and all is well. Do you have any mutual friends you could check in with before you call or send a card to offer your effusive congratulations?

Assuming all is well, I'd opt for a card over a phone call and then follow it up a couple of weeks later with a call.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:35 PM on March 23, 2009

Wait, people appreciate the space. Send a card instead.
posted by mattoxic at 6:43 PM on March 23, 2009

Call. It can be a short call just offering support. If there was a problem, even more reason to offer support and an ear.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:49 PM on March 23, 2009

Just on the chance that something has gone wrong with the delivery and your friend is not in a place to talk about it right now (which has happened twice in my own family in recent years), I'd touch base with a mutual friend, if at all possible.
posted by scody at 6:57 PM on March 23, 2009

Oh, and even if you do decide to contact your friend directly, I agree that it would be best to send a card or email (though a card's better!). Even assuming all's well with the baby, she's no doubt completely exhausted, and you won't have a way of knowing if your call is coming at a bad time for her.
posted by scody at 7:01 PM on March 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

I also had a baby in early March. My labor ended up in an emergency c-section, and due to complications with the surgery, I spent longer than expected in the hospital and was totally physically wiped out. It was 4 days before I could muster the energy to let my dearest friends know I was still alive, much less chat with them about the baby and welcome their congratulations. Don't underestimate the combined effect of the physical demands of childbirth and life with a newborn. Heck, it's taken me a good half hour just to write this, since my left hand is mostly occupied with bouncing a cranky baby.

If you can find a lower-pressure way to contact your friend, do that. Email, IM, text message, or letter/card are all great options, and will leave the ball in her court to call/write you back when she feels ready.
posted by tomatofruit at 7:15 PM on March 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

Nothing was worse for us in the days leading up to our baby's birth than receiving the question "So, did you give birth yet?" Especially if your friend is overdue (which is common for first-time moms), she will be fed up of being pregnant. Don't add to her frustration by calling for news, particularly if you wouldn't normally call.

The doctor will induce labour by - at the latest - two weeks after the due date, sometimes earlier. So, suppose she was due on March 12, wait until at least March 28 (2 weeks + 2 days for her to get her bearings) before inquiring.
posted by Simon Barclay at 7:16 PM on March 23, 2009

Give her a call... She's probably too busy to call her yourself
posted by KokuRyu at 7:34 PM on March 23, 2009

Send a card. "I Hope Your Baby Came Out" or the like. That way they'll see that they're in your thoughts, but you're nice enough not to bug them.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:49 PM on March 23, 2009

I'd wait it out just a bit more,maybe another week or two. That first month was a huge blur for me and if she was late, it could very well be that she's only had the baby in the last week, which is still well within the massive blur zone. I'm sure her "I'll call you" was a well-meaning gesture but she had no idea what she was in for then. And if something has gone wrong, a "once-in-a-blue-moon" friend isn't the first person I'd think of to talk to.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:58 PM on March 23, 2009

Eh, call. If they don't want to talk, they won't pick up.
posted by palliser at 8:11 PM on March 23, 2009

Send a card. "I Hope Your Baby Came Out" or the like.

"I Hope Everything Came Out Okay"?
posted by palliser at 8:13 PM on March 23, 2009

Uh, maybe put that "I hope your baby came out" idea lower on the list.

If there are medical complications resulting in no baby, that might not be received in the way it was intended.
posted by metaseeker at 10:00 PM on March 23, 2009

I vote for call and open with "I've been thinking about you and wondering how things are going."

Hopefully there'll be wonderful news, you can chat for a minute, and you can then offer and follow through on bringing food and a small baby gift if you're local.

Possibly the news will still be very good but they'll be too exhausted to pick up. Then they'll call you back when possible, or email, or whatever.

If the news is bad, they'll probably also let it go to voice mail, but eventually you'll hear about it.

It's also formally possible that she's still pregnant and going insane from the "So, have you had that baby yet?" business, not to mention the anxiety and discomfort of being two weeks overdue. If this is the case, the less-specific opening gambit is less likely to end up with her in miserable tears.
posted by Sublimity at 10:09 PM on March 23, 2009

I agree with tomatofruit. I had four children---natural childbirth, no drugs--and all went well, but nonetheless, I was exhausted for weeks afterwards. It's called "labor" for a reason :-)), and the last weeks of pregnancy can be draining, as well. Give your friend a little time and space. Bringing a newborn home from the hospital means chopped up days and nights and sleep deprivation for the parents. It's my guess that your friend will get back in touch with you when things settle down a bit.
posted by ragtimepiano at 11:50 PM on March 23, 2009

My best friend in the world didn't call me for weeks after her first child was born because she was so overwhelmed. I knew that the baby was born safely and all were well, but was still a little hurt that she didn't think to call me right away. Then I realized I just got knocked so far down her priority list I hardly counted, and that was exactly as it should be. Your friend's obligations are to her new child (and her partner, if applicable). Everything else will come back into focus in the next few weeks or months.

If you have reason to fear that things did not go well, check with a third party before sending a cheery congratulatory card. Otherwise, send a card or gift, or give her a call and congratulate her (but don't try to keep her on the phone longer than 5 minutes--if the baby's sleeping, she'd probably rather try to nap or take a shower than chat with you). Don't take it personal; I'm sure it's not.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:25 AM on March 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

Call. An old friend called me a few months ago, and I knew she'd been due in the weeks previous. I cheerily said "so, do you have a new baby?". Sadly, it had been a stillbirth. This meant that I had put my foot in my mouth in the worst possible way. However, the awkward moment was just that -- a moment -- and in the rest of the long conversation I was able to be a friend. I'm glad I was there for her.
posted by wyzewoman at 7:13 AM on March 24, 2009

I would make sure the baby was actually born. Because that would be horrible telephone call. And yes, you should call.
posted by chunking express at 7:22 AM on March 24, 2009

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