Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Babies and Grown Ups don't always mix

I'm sad to write this post, but I've noticed something about the mixture of friends and babies, and I think maybe if I write about it I can sort it out in my head. Or your comments will help me along.

When I had my miscarriage and got really deep into not-fair-without-a-baby-postpartum-depression afterward, I had a hard time being around people who had babies.

Jealousy bubbled in my throat.

They showed their photos of kids, and I felt like they were jumping up and down after having won the first place trophy, while I didn't even place.

Even with strangers, especially with strangers, I had a hard time watching other people with babies. I remember a mom walking into Starbucks with a brood of kids--seriously, several of them following behind her while she could barely cradle her baby--and I thought, I could take one of those and she wouldn't even notice.

I was seriously off my rocker.

So, I'm trying to keep that lonely, jealous, angry feeling in my mind while I watch friends without babies slip away.

It's hard, though.

I know not to take it personally, a new blogging friend who lost a baby reminded me of that. But I do so miss the people I used to know before we had Ella and they faced loss of their own. One friend says she can stand to be around me and Ella because she knows I can understand her pain, since I had the miscarriage and the depression. I am so grateful for her. Another is busy now, every time our group of friends sets up a girls night.

The thing is, I understand that friend not wanting to talk about Ella or be around her. I am willing to talk about other things--I like to think there is more to me than motherhood alone. But I also understand that my station in life as a mother is never going to fade as part of my identity. Maybe I can't be taken as Olaina-alone, maybe I'll always be Olaina-somebody's-mom. When I think about it, I love that about my life.

Maybe I've written myself through this conundrum--I love my old friends, I miss them, but I have to let them go because I love them and, sadly, that is what they need from me.

I must say, though, that I wish we could communicate with each other about this situation. It's sad to just have to come to this realization alone, to just let the relationship fizzle. I'd much rather be told, "You know, Olaina, I love you, but I can't be around you now because I'm too sad about the baby." Somehow, knowing for sure what went wrong would make it easier.

There are also friends who have chosen not to have children yet, whom I miss. It's maybe harder for me to understand them, though when I try to sit through a meal while constantly picking up Ella's toys from the floor and handing them back to her, I can see why maybe they don't want to be bothered with Olaina-somebody's-mom.

For those friends, would it be fair to say it's their loss?

Maybe, maybe not.

It's my loss, too.

Of course, despite these losses, there are gains. Especially with moving in our near future (two weeks!), I know we will make more friends with people who have children. It will happen because I will join moms' clubs and that is how we will meet people.

I suppose it's a stage of life, this transition in relationships. Maybe it's like college, where some of the high school friends drop away because of distance and different interests, but some of them stay even while you gain new friends in your new experience.

I thought those transitions were over, but I think I was wrong.


Alana said...

I suppose these transitions must follow us through our entire life...

and when we don't transition we moms get to watch our children go through similar experiences and suffer with them as they learn the lessons we relearn and relearn and relearn all the time. ;)

Maybe some relationships are meant to be lovely in a particular place in time and we are to cherish the memories and accept that...

Penny said...

Transitions happen throughout life. There is some truth to the old Girl Scouts Song, "Make new friends, but keep the old". But, sometimes, you have to keep the old in your heart.

OakMonster said...

And then you have us. Those who choose to be childless but we like being aunty and uncle. We love hanging out with you guys and your kids most times.

But once in a while, we need to hang out with just YOU too! :)

So, start putting that 2nd Thursdays of the week in with your parents. Mommy's Sanity Nights aka Girls Night Outs are in your stars!