I’m nearly 6 months pregnant, and while I’m more excited and physically comfortable now than I was during the first 3 months, there’s still a feeling of loneliness and fear that’s been pervasive the whole time. To feel alone during one of the most universal of life journeys is an odd feeling.
I know this is not many women’s experience. They have close friends with infants and toddlers who live nearby, or they live near a mother, mother-in-law or sister who can offer guidance. Or, they just generally have more friends with children.
I don’t have any family in Los Angeles, and most of my friends here are writers and filmmakers who don’t have children. I mention they are writers/filmmakers only because many of my artist friends have had to make the choice of their art over having a family. Children are expensive and time-consuming. Most of us have day jobs with salaries that leave us living paycheck to paycheck. Also, being a writer demands a lot of you; not only your time, but your mental space and kids take up a ton of mental space.
So, I find myself sometimes dreaming of venting over a mocktail (more on that word later) to a pregnant friend about everything – not just the good, but the fears, anxieties, stress and not to mention, the constipation, heartburn, you name it…
And speaking of mocktails…oh my, how I miss a stiff cocktail. Especially one in an icy glass with something citrusy and vodka. It doesn’t help that I unabashedly love drinking. The whole bar experience is one I love and miss tremendously. Of course, I still often find myself at bars, for events, birthdays, etc., but I get the special pleasure of watching other people drink while I try to trick my brain into thinking my seltzer water with a lime is doing the trick (It’s not doing the trick). One friend who struggled with drinking told me that he drinks tonic water with ice because the flavor somehow fool his brain into thinking it’s alcohol. Well, my brain is not easily fooled, thank you very much. I wish I had one pregnant friend who could come with me to a bar and we could bitterly commiserate over our ‘mocktails.’ Also, the word ‘mocktail’ – ugh. They’re aptly named as they just mock me with their non-alcohol, high calorie nutritional nothingness.
I’ll pause right here to say – I have great friends – and for that, I feel extremely lucky and grateful. But it would be nice to talk about it all at length – to speak about the experience as it’s happening and hear that experience validated and understood.
I have one close friend who has a son who’s closer to 8 years old, and a friend who just gave birth (which I am grateful for!). But the friend who just gave birth lives pretty far from me, so it’s not convenient.
Part of the reason it also feels lonely is not simply that I don’t have other women near me going through a similar experience, but because I’m changing. Me. The person I know best of all and whose consistent, reliable likes and dislikes comfort me. Intellectually, I’m aware that I won’t be the same person in 3.5 months, but I can’t say exactly how I will be different.
People tell me I’ll make “mom friends” and I hope I will. I know there are mommy and me groups, yoga, etc. But we all know how challenging it is to make friends in your 30s and older anyway. People are already so set in their friend groups.
I did try a pre-natal yoga class and awkwardly tried to make conversation with other moms, but it was strained, and most of them already had their ‘groups.’ I could spend more time on online forums, and I keep meaning to do that – so maybe that’s an option.
Once the little dude is here, it will probably be easier to meet new friends. But for now, it sure seems like I’m in a bubble. Maybe I should be easing into the lonely feelings when they come, and know the little guy in there probably feels pretty lonely and scared too…