The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning these days is to press my hand against my belly and ask the little one whether she’s awake, too.
Usually she noticeably moves then, and I smile because how could you not? There is another human growing inside of me! It’s still a mind-blowing concept to me that she’s actually in there. My body holds two now, I am less alone than I have ever been.
But in truth pregnancy has been isolating as well.
I had assumed the opposite, I was so sure this would bring me closer to everyone around me, but maybe I was naïve. Other than my mother and grandparents not a single relative of mine has congratulated us or even acknowledged that there is a baby coming. The same is true for some of my more distant friends. No calls, no emails, no texts, not even a Facebook like. So many people who matter to me have been notable in their absence of saying anything. And their silence sounds deafening.
Even with the people who are close, (and there are still those luckily!), it has been more complicated than I thought. Jo has never been pregnant nor does she want to be, so I am left with trying to describe to her what it feels like, but I’m not always sure I do it justice.
It’s like everyone is on one side of a mountain top, looking at a normal, average sort of sunset. The kind that’s nice enough, but there are hundreds of them. Only I suddenly find myself on the other side of the mountain, and it’s storming there, strong winds are nearly blowing me over, dark heavy clouds, the ground rumbles, and the sky, oh it’s brilliant orange and violet beyond anything I’ve ever seen, it’s overwhelming and terrifying and gorgeous!
But when I walk back to the other side and I try to explain to the others watching the normal sunset what just happened to me, some of them say ‘well it was your choice to go out there, what did you expect?’ Others nod when I tell them about it, but their eyes glaze over after a few sentences. Even with the ones who try to listen, I can’t fully explain what it was like. I desperately want to but I can’t seem to find the right words to make them feel it, too.
The only other times I have felt like this was when I have travelled through some far-away culture for months, come back and the whole world feels a bit off here. Everyone is talking about jobs and money, while my head is still full of volcanoes and ancient monuments and the Amazon river. It’s like that, it’s culture shock in reverse, only I didn’t go anywhere, now the adventure is happening inside my body and mind. Everything is changing at breakneck speed and I’m playing catch-up, I’m trying to find meaning and reality in it all and it’s overshadowing and underlying and surrounding anything else.
Someone asks me whether I will be at an event in November, and I say ‘well, I’m giving birth around then so…’
They ask about the month after then, and I am completely unsure what to say. It’s like in the notebook of my life there is a full stop there, and after that only blank pages. I will grow bigger and bigger, until… In my head I grow cartoonishly huge and then pop like a balloon. Pieces of me float through the sky while a red-faced baby cries and. Full stop.
I don’t know what comes after.
I don’t know who comes after. I am unsure about who will be left to hold this baby along with Jo and I, and I have no idea who I myself will be when it’s all said and done.
It’s a step in the dark doing this, a three-two-one hold your breath and jump!
We have time to figure it out, I know. So I tell the baby good morning, so I smile at feeling her kicks, so I write this. One way or another, I will tumble into motherhood. Mountains and all. :)
I’ll never know what it feels like either, but I have had some experiences like what you describe, where something thunderously cataclysmic is happening in my life (and even in my body), and the fact that things are marching mundanely on for everyone else feels surreal and confusing.
I’m sorry there are people who are not showing up for you as you’d like them to. It’s hard to make sense of it when people do that. *hugs*
It’s a very odd sensation when you’re suddenly out of step with the rest of the world, I never considered that that would happen! There must be all sorts of experiences that people go through that feel so intense that it’s impossible to relay. I wish it was talked about more.
Thank you so much for reading <3
Yes, I know this feeling. It’s strange, because most adults end up having children yet pregnancy and early parenthood can feel so alien and isolating, a lonley traveler on a well worn path. And when we do meet we have such similar stories to tell.
You have a fellow traveler in London. Feel free to contact me when you’re this way. Or email when you’re not :)
Thank you, I was hoping by posting this some people would react with ‘me too!’ This is another thing they don’t tell you about in the baby books. I also don’t have anyone close to me who has had children recently so there’s no one to ask whether it’s normal or whether I’m perhaps losing my mind just a tad *laughs* I’m sure we will be in London again at one point, even with baby perhaps later, it’s an easy train ride away so that seems kind of doable at one point in the future – depending on baby I’m sure. I hope you are well! <3
I’m a bit slow to reply, sorry! I sucks you’ve been feeling isolated. I’ve been researching about having a baby solo and my one closest friend seems to always just not hear me when I talk about it and in text she just flat out ignored it. I don’t mean to talk about me when we’re talking about you but I guess I’m saying that people sometimes surprise you in a bad way. It really sucks though the least people can do is say congrats and ask you how you are once in a while. People can be so strange and disappointing. I hope it turns around. I hope they deserve a place in your life by being supportive and happy for you when baby is here. If not, then at least you know where you stand and the people that love you, are behind you. I’m so excited for you. :) hang in there.
Oh it’s awesome that you’re looking into having a baby solo! <3 If you ever want to chat about it I would be very happy to, I did tons of research about donors, hospital policies, known donor contracts and so on at the beginning for us, that would all be similar things you are dealing with I imagine. It's so odd right, people being strange like that? Some people I never ever would have expected it from too. I guess it's one of those 'you know who your real friends are' sort of things, but it can feel deeply sad to suddenly be ignored. Thank you for saying that! And I am super excited for you too, seriously, if you want a baby-positive friend I'm here! ;)
Thanks so much! Your writings have helped me already but it’s nice to know I can ask you questions if needs be. It’s exciting, and luckily my mum and sisters are very positive. Someone told me that sometimes friends react this way because it changes your relationships with people and sometimes that’s hard to accept. That said I still think people can do better. Thank you, it’s early stages but I’m positive about the decision. Now it’s just finding the right clinics and so on. There’s a lot to consider. Thanks so much for being in my corner. ;) I hope everything is going well and don’t worry about other people too much. Focus on the ones that show up. <3
I think you’re right with saying that people’s reactions have to do with the sudden realisation that things will be different. But then life is always changing in one way or other, I think real friends roll with the punches! It’s great that you have the support of your mother and sisters, it will mean an awful lot when it gets hard. In terms of sperm donors, we considered a known gay donor who would have a connection with the child (through Meerdangewenst), mail-ordering sperm and doing it ourselves at home (Cryos, some other sperm banks), going through a hospital in Belgium (only anonymous donors), and then finally going through a hospital in the UK (open donors). It’s so difficult making that choice! I hope you can find your way through it all, the best of luck!!!