This summer turned me into a reluctant hermit.
I didn’t want to be this way. I might enjoy my alone time more than some, but I never intended on becoming an all-out loner. It’s just one of those things about living in a town like this, and it just sort of happened. The tourists invaded and I eventually ran out of places to be in peace. So I came home after work and stayed inside. It’s only been in the last week or so that things have been calm enough in town that I can go back to my table at Starbucks.
On the bright side, I’ve been able to (by and large) avoid the kinds of people who ask stupid questions about pregnant women. You know, those lists of “things not to say to pregnant women” and things like that? Yeah, been able to avoid that for the most part. About the worst I’ve gotten is “how are you feeling?” and “Wow you’re really small!” And this is due mostly to the fact that I work in a small office (with only guys) where I don’t get a lot of walk-in customers. So that’s nice.
But it’s also gotten me really scared that by this time next year, I’ll have an 8-month old, won’t be working, and will basically be stuck in my house in avoidance of the tourists all day, every day. My hermitude will probably reach new levels and I doubt it’ll be healthy.
This summer has got me thinking about the fact that Cameron and I will pretty much be raising our daughter solo. And I mean that in a couple different ways. One of them is that this community does not have a huge “young” population. Yeah, there are some people our age having kids up here, but mostly, the people we know are enjoying their retirement in mountain paradise. (Because why wouldn’t you?) There isn’t a huge work force up here other than tourism, so naturally there aren’t a lot of young people with young families who settle here for a long time because that’s where the career is. Most of the people our age that we know work odd hours at restaurants or in retail stores and are single or dating. There’s only one other couple in our childbirth classes, and I am really, really hoping that we can hit it off and I will have someone else to talk to about this crazy journey, which brings me to my second point.
I literally do not know anyone (in person, that I am close to) who has young children or who is pregnant. I don’t have sisters, no cousins close by/that I even know, and none of my girlfriends are at this point in their lives. About the only people I can think of who might remotely fall into this category are Cameron’s step-brother, who is expecting his 3rd son in October, but he and his family live all the way in Florida, and one of his cousins who just had a baby a few weeks ago, but she is in the Atlanta area. (I HAD a friend from college who had a baby last month and I was really excited for that because we’d sort of be in it all together, but she basically cut me out of her life after announcing she was pregnant last year and I have no clue why, so, guess not. Womp.) So anyway, all of this leaves me feeling kind of daunted about this whole thing because I have no idea what I’m doing and I have almost nobody to call to ask stupid questions. I have my mom, obviously, but I don’t think I’m way out in left field by thinking it’s totally different to have someone your age who has gone through this recently or is currently going through it to lend an opinion or just let me cry for no good reason because they’ve been there too and know how it feels. (I love my mom, but sometimes she gets a little bit of a “suck it up” attitude that probably won’t be very helpful.) Luckily, I’ve made some connections with a couple other young moms through the blog network that I can hopefully contact in confidence and ask questions, but again, different than being in person, I would imagine.
The other part of all of this that worries me is for the baby’s sake. How will it affect her if I don’t have a network of other moms with babies for her to interact with? What if I can’t find any opportunities for her to socialize? Will this be bad for her? Agh! My first-time mom’s brain is already overloaded with worry that I won’t give her the chance to bond with other people because I just don’t have the resources. I would hate for her to end up socially nervous like me because it kind of sucks being this way. I wouldn’t say I am socially awkward, but I’m definitely no social butterfly. I get nervous meeting new people. I hate it, but I don’t know exactly what to do to fix it–and I’d really like it if my daughter didn’t end up this way either.
I’m probably over-thinking it all anyway. As far as the baby goes, I am sure that the first 2-3 years of her life are not going to define her social capabilities (unless they do and you can cue my freak-out) and by the time we move back down to civilization she’ll be fine. Without wanting to sound like I am looking for a pity-party (because I’m not), I am worried about me in all of this. I feel like having a network or at least a couple friends nearby to help me get through the stupid questions and the hormone overload and the panic and overwhelming changes I’m about to face would be super helpful. Same goes for Cameron as a first-time dad, because I’m sure at some point he’s just going to get tired of my stupidity (if he isn’t already, bless him), but he has several work peers who have recently had kids and he’s already getting a lot of good advice from them about the whole first-time dad thing (i.e. what do I do with my crazy wife who won’t stop crying), so hopefully he won’t feel so daunted. Key word hopefully.
Did any of you run into feelings like this before having your first baby? Were you the first of your group of friends to have babies and basically had no idea what you were doing with no help to fall back on? How did you deal? Or am I just in the throes of hormone-crazed first-baby pregnancy and need to chill the fuck out?