This is day 15 of my 30 day writing challenge. For my new readers, this was a challenge I took on to push the boundaries for ME (previously I’d write one post sometimes after two weeks, partly laziness, and a good chunk of this due to self-doubt). So far, it has been amazing, though there were days I must admit, I stared at the blinking cursor, and my mind ran off to think about the vanilla chocolate I ate at L’s baby shower last weekend… Focus Samoina!
One of the misconceptions I had pre-partum was certainly about friendships as they would pan out once I became a mom. Anyone who knows me well enough will know that I am the bubbly kind, the one who talks volubly when reminiscing fun times, the one who laughs heartily in good company, the one who is jumping around at the get together… and so, before my pregnancy I had all these friends around me, many of whom I appreciated for influencing my life in one way or the other at the time.
I was accustomed to been the life of the party, at the party, whiskey shots at hand, and loud reggae hits by Gyptian cranked up to the max. The exuberance that surrounded me at the time was almost palpable. I figured, been a mom would not alter this; or maybe it would, a little. At some point, my friendships would cohere and we would go back to the good ol’ times, or so I thought.
Enter baby Jayden, and motherhood changed my life’s trajectory. It was somewhat the chasm that separated my fading memories from the stark reality that faced me. In the first few weeks, save for the congratulatory messages, there was little communication between my ol’ crew and I. I didn’t get it at first and kept wondering what I was doing wrong, or not doing. We drifted further and further… and my Postpartum Depression didn’t help.
For reasons I mentioned in this post, I just couldn’t come forward and explain to my friends, most of them not parents themselves, what depression was like, and why I suffered PPD when I looked ‘all together’. How can you not love your baby? OR, why are you so damn angry? Without concise answers to these, I kept to myself, only giving glimpses into my angst on whatsapp chats that were far and in between.
In retrospect, this is a weird kind of loneliness new moms face, especially when most of their friends are yet to be moms. Suddenly, your talk changes; it revolves around diapers, poop color, burps, vaccines, breastfeeding, teething, potty training… depending on the stage one is in. When your friends start to feel out of place (understandably), there’s a tendency to back off.
Looking back, I realized only those strong friendships stood the changes that had taken place in my life, PPD and all. Even then, I’d still feel lonely quite often. Some of my pals kept telling me, “But you got Jayden for company, how are you lonely?” At which point I’d roll my eyes so far back I’d feel my spine tingle. A baby who’s up for the better part of the 24 hours each day, who can’t talk and will cry with no notice is not exactly the company I meant when I pointed out my loneliness, a loneliness that creeps up so subtly it shocks you when you realize its vice-like grip has made you all queasy.
It was adult company I missed. Someone to talk to, not necessarily about baby stuff but to converse, about the weather, about work, about new joints in the ‘diaspora’, about current reads. Anything for the semblance of normalcy that my depression-riddled life sorely lacked. Which is why last weekend’s baby shower was welcome relief. Just to get away and hang with the girls, and laugh, and eat, and marvel at mom-to-be’s girth (:D), and share life stories, and see how far we have come. To new moms out there wondering just what the hell happened to some of your friendships, I hope this heartfelt post puts things in perspective.
PS: Still learning to lean on Him when I feel lonely. To whisper a prayer because He hears. And teaching my son to call on Jesus when he is having a bad day, or feels like no one understands what he is going through. There is some amazing peace, peace Paul defines as tranquil, the peace that transcends understanding, that comes through prayer and trusting in Him. This peace and contentment, I want even in my loneliness.
Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
Any of you moms relate to this loneliness? That feeling of been with family and baby, yet still lonely? What have your experiences been like? Moms who have survived PPD, how did you deal with this? I’d like to hear from you too!
Featured Image Photo credits: Sunshine Spoils Milk