A pregnant pause

There I was in early December, clipping along like lightning with my second draft. I had a detailed outline and 1000 words per session came easily. Sure, we had started to try to have another baby, but my OB herself had just told me that “at my age”, it would take six to twelve months to conceive naturally.

So there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to crunch the numbers in which I wasn’t going be finished with the next draft in a matter of mere months!

Hahahahahahahaha, laughed the universe. Hahahahahahahahaha.

I was pregnant literally three days after she told me that. According to the way they calculate pregnancy, mine actually began the very same day I went off birth control. (So let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief for me that The Handmaid’s Tale is a work of fiction).

Then I was really sick for three months straight–the first two due to first trimester symptoms, and the third with two back-to-back colds that hit me like death because when you’re pregnant, your body basically turns off your immune system so you don’t accidentally reject your fetus as an infection (oh and you also can’t take any cold medicine!).

I was finally feeling better and writing again just when my babysitter gave her two weeks notice. Then it took all of those two weeks to find a new babysitter, who despite committing through the end of the summer, quit three weeks after she started (one of which she spent in Spain–a trip she didn’t tell me about until after I hired her–but I digress.)

Add to that, my soon-to-be-oldest daughter needs to be potty-trained for pre-school this Fall. And since at least for insurance/billing purposes, I’m an “old mother”, I have shlepped to a doctor’s appointment all the way uptown at least twice a month since December, and as the due date approaches, that’s just going to ramp up.

Each time I’ve been taken out of my draft for more than a few days, it has taken as long just to get back into it. I haven’t given up on it by a long shot–I’ve still managed to write about 20ish new pages, here and there, over these months. I am still making progress even when it is frustratingly slow. But realistically, this draft is not going to get done until after this baby is born and we are out of the newborn phase.

But in the meantime, we’re going to have another baby girl. ❤

(And then I’ll have the rest of my life in which to become an “old writer”, which seems to be the preferable order of operations, anyway.)

the sensitive curmudgeon’s guide to one-off friendships

mom-friendsI’ve always felt like I was born without a certain social chip. Let’s call it the “Steel Magnolias” chip. I mean, sure, my eyes have been known to glaze over when looking at a $700 pair of shoes, but what you didn’t see was the girl-power chant I was incanting in my head and the deep slumber I fell into for weeks afterwards from having exhausted my limited powers.

Pregnancy, for a time, buoyed me into an orbit that I had previously only gazed at longingly as though through a department store window. I could finally communicate with women! I cried for no reason! I even started up-talking. 

Five months post-partum, I still have a few new “mom” hormones, but I’m mostly back to being my old self, with all my old problems and also a new one–

Being a stay-at-home mom can even be isolating for me. So, I subscribed to the local mom’s listserv that is quite active and another stay-at-home mom sent around an invitation to meet up. Our daughters are two months apart and she seemed friendly and open. We played text tag for a week or two trying to sync up.

During that time, I Facebooked her.

The first thing I noticed were her Crazy Eyes™–but crazy in itself is hardly a deal breaker for me (glass houses, etc.). Then I noticed that she disabled adding her as a friend–red flag. But again, not a deal breaker. There are plausible explanations (I imagine). Then I scrolled down further.

“Baby,” I whispered hoarsely to my husband. “Her husband is wearing a cape.” I closed my laptop and sulked at him, wearily. “I can’t do this.”

“Baby, you’re setting your bar too high.” He countered.

“No I’m not! I can’t do it. How can I do it?”

“So what…you’re just not going to do it?”

(long beat)

“Fine. I’ll do it. I’ll do it.”

So we met up for a walk one afternoon, and talked for forty-five minutes or an hour. She watches Girls and I didn’t get her Girls reference. (I actually hate Girls.) But so what? We both voted for Bernie this primary but for Hillary in ’08. She said she would cut off her little finger to make Hillary president. I agreed pending the conditions I was heavily anesthetized and it would be reattached immediately, and she allowed me those conditions. There were some things really stressing me out that day and I likely over-shared for a first encounter, but I don’t really worry about that kind of thing because it tends to sort itself out.

It seemed like she got a bit weird towards the end, though. I was just a few blocks from my house when she announced she had to get home because it was about to rain. I offered to walk a few blocks in the other direction with her to the edge of my neighborhood, and once we got there, I was waiting to cross the street to go home and she suddenly announced she had to go grocery shopping in a totally different direction from her house–weird, but again, no biggy. Maybe she had just remembered something she had to get.

I got home, put my daughter down for her nap and texted her that it was great meeting her and I’d love to go for another walk next week or so. She texted back, “Yes, let’s definitely go for a walk soon!” Wait, wait, record scratch–I once blogged during my dating days about how “definitely” means “never” (which I stand by).

I never saw her again. In the old days, when I was used to losing the few friends I had when we moved to place to place as a kid, or as I then moved place to place as an adult, I would have been devastated. My world was either kept small for me or I kept it small, and I struggled to make the people right in front of me work out. Perhaps since I felt disconnected from everyone, anyone would do. Or perhaps the fear of rejection and the exhaustion of new social encounters simply kept me with people I didn’t connect with to the point I began to believe that I couldn’t connect with anyone.

Then, the next week, I met a woman I genuinely liked. And I realized I did things differently. I made sure not to overshare this time. Not because of any lesson learned from the previous encounter, but because I actually wanted to be friends with her so I was thinking about it.

Which made me realize–maybe the other woman was being really weird at the end. But maybe I had also over-shared on purpose. And maybe, when you’re a stay-at-home writer who mostly talks to her husband, going for a walk and letting off some steam with someone you’ll never see again is perfectly okay.