One of the tough things about being a mama to a six week old is the isolation. It’s pretty much me and the little booger alone during the day. H is off at work for 14 hours sometimes and I don’t have any new mama friends who are at home right now. Though I’m an introverted person I do crave connection. After a particularly bad day when the baby wouldn’t stop crying (she’d gotten her immunizations, poor babe) I had a melt down. It was more like an emotional tsunami…
The very next day with a slightly calmer heart, I went to a new moms group. I had found the group the week before and although I hate being new at things and I also get really uncomfortable interacting with groups of people my desperation pushed me through the door. The first week I sat back and listened getting the lay of the land. There were a lot of really friendly mamas there who I’d like to get to know. But I struggled to figure out how to make that first connection or take the first step.
Well it turns out the secret is crying, hah. I was so on edge from my emotional melt down the night before that when it came to my turn to talk during the group I lost it. I started crying when I talked about the isolation and the difficulties of navigating the relationship with your partner when your family becomes three. I was tempted to feel embarrassed, but I so desperately needed to talk honestly and have someone hear me that I kept going. I was amazed at the response. All I got from this room full of women that I didn’t know was compassion and understanding, nodding heads and sympathetic eyes. Many validated how I was feeling and had suggestions for finding more connection and support during the day.
By letting my guard down I let these women see the real me and opened myself up for genuine connection. In the past I would’ve made it seem like I had it all together and that I’m doing great, staying on the surface. I’d be disappointed after those interactions because people wouldn’t often remember me or even notice me. Now though, when I run into these moms in the neighborhood or at a mom and baby class, they say hi, they know my name. I let them see some of my struggle so they stepped up and said I see you and I’m here too. It’s a promising start and I’m learning, finally, how to make friends.
Well the first week of pregnancy was all joy and excitement and perfect physical condition. No symptoms I thought to myself my body is totally made for this I got this, no sweat. This week I’m having more of a melt down. The fact that our house is in complete chaos because we’re moving has left my head spinning. I can’t quite catch my breath. That coupled with the fact that morning sickness kicked in today was enough to send me into a small melt down.
The hormones they are raging today. I’m tired. I’m nauseated and I’m scared. I’m scared about being a mom as much as I’m excited about it. Will I be any good at it? What will it look like? What will our life be like? So many questions and no idea what the answers might be.
Part of me feels like I’m going to be all consumed by having a baby and become a parent instead of a person. Another part of me fears that my husband won’t be able to give me the support that I need, or that I’ll need too much. Not to mention, I don’t have a strong support system of friends here. I have friends I can call and keep in touch with, and who knows maybe this experience will bring me closer to other moms.
I felt so good, so light last week on the joy of finding out I had a little soul holding on to me. I convinced myself, alright, this is going to be easy sailing. I got this no worries. Even at the relief I felt knowing that I can do this, the little voice in the back of my head said, “this feeling too shall pass.” Well it’s always a Godsend when I’m going through a tough time, but it’s harder having to remember that the highs are also impermanent.
At some level I’m thankful I touched the joy in a way I haven’t in a really long time. Yes it’s true though. Those feelings passed, but I feel the current anxiety and fear that swept me away this evening dissipating too. I think this is also passing. Accepting where I am – will probably always be one of my greatest challenges.
Sometimes I really wish I had a best friend. Someone whose house I could invite myself over to for a cup of tea and to talk. Maybe after her kids were asleep or in bed. A place to cry and grumble about our husbands and laugh with each other. Another woman to understand and empathize. I’m confident that I’ll find the friendship I’m looking for some day. Though, there’s no magic trick. Finding that sort of friendship won’t make all my anxieties and fears disappear. It might help me wade through it more easily. For now though, it’s up to me to meet my own needs, stay present, and not get too swept up in waves of feelings.
Originally written the week of July 9.