As news of my pregnancy spreads across my social circle, things are different. Being married for four years with no kids often left me feeling like I was missing out. Many of my friends who were the same age as me, or even a year or two younger were socializing and becoming close friends with other, older women. They'd meet together at MOPS, set play dates, talk preschools--and their only real connection was that they were all moms. When we were first married and I wasn't trying to get pregnant, I still felt like I was missing out, since none of these women wanted to be my friend. I didn't make much effort to join their groups, as I had no interest in peewee soccer or baby birthday parties, but it stung a little that they saw no value in me because I didn't have any children.
Once we were trying to conceive (and failing), it became worse. I wanted to talk peewee soccer and birthday parties--or at least diapers and nipple cream. But at the same time, I hated being around it. I avoided baby showers and ladies fellowship parties, knowing that it consisted mostly of "mom talk." It was too hard. I was realizing just how exclusive this mom club was, and I was trying to accept the fact that I may never be let in.
And then I got pregnant. Not a single person has suspected that it took us any longer than what we wanted. Everyone is assuming that this pregnancy was planned for this time (Oh a spring baby! How wonderful!). And everyone is excited for us. And you know what? It's fricken weird.
I told my volleyball team last Monday after practice. There were gasps and congratulations. I didn't know how they would respond. None of them are older than 16, and I haven't coached any of them for longer than two years. When I was their age, an adult's pregnancy announcement would have been met with a shrug of my shoulders and a, "That's cool." But they were all sweet. And at our game the next day, all of their parents congratulated me. So the news was passed on fairly quickly.
And here's the thing. Everyone has their own pregnancy story. They ask how I've been feeling, and then they share their experience. I don't mind, I like hearing it. But it's weird--I've instantly been accepted into Mom Club. They ask about my doctor, about my nursery plans, about waiting to find out the gender. Everyone wants to talk about my pregnancy all. the. time. It's not that interesting, I promise.
It looks like this:
Wake up to my alarm
Hit snooze, too tired to move
Hit snooze again
Drag myself out of bed 20 minutes before I need to be at work
Dry heave while brushing my teeth
Attempt to find pants that still button--give up and find a rubberband to hold them closed
Go to work
Try not to throw up
Try to stay awake
Keep shoving food in my face so I don't throw up
Throw up anyway
Go to volleyball practice
Sit on the floor and yell instructions
Lay on the couch while Bobby makes supper
If I'm in a really good mood, walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes
Lay on the couch until I can't keep my eyes open any more (approx. 8:30 p.m.)
Dry heave while brushing my teeth
Go to sleep
But here's the other thing. I've learned so much about so many other women--women at my church, my volleyball players' moms, people at work. I've learned that many of them had miscarriages. Many of them had multiple miscarriages. Or unplanned pregnancies. Or high-risk pregnancies.
But one of my player's mom's stories has stuck with me. We were chatting after a game while the girls changed in the locker room, and she actually mentioned Mom Club. She said, "Once you get pregnant, you realize there was this club that you were never a part of."
I sort of pondered that for a moment, realizing how true it was, but she went on, "Of course, we were infertility patients before we had Mary, so it took us a little longer. Not as long as many people, but it was still a little different for us..."
She may have said more, but my mind got stuck on that. I coached her daughter Mary for three years--she graduated last year. Her two younger sisters are on my current team, and there's one more sister in sixth grade. Obviously their infertility had been resolved. And they would have been infertility patients 20 years ago--there weren't nearly as many options back then, and certainly not as many studies and advancements. I wanted to ask if she was an early IVF patient, but obviously I kept my mouth shut. I thought about sharing my own fertility struggles, but what is there to say?: "We couldn't get pregnant for two years, and then all of sudden we did."
So...I don't think I make a very good Mom Club member. I think I'll be an okay parent, and eventually I'll figure out the mothering thing, but I don't think I'm ever going to be good at what everyone else expects a "Mom" to be. I don't like to carry Kleenex in my purse.
I got a congratulations text from a friend today that made me cringe. It contained one of my least favorite phrases that I hear all the time from moms: "Having kids was the best thing I've done in my life." I disagree wholeheartedly with this. I have a semi-important job that helps a lot of people. I've experienced some life-changing moments while coaching. I've accomplished some things I'm really proud of--both professionally and personally. I got pregnant by dumb luck. Maybe this is a horrible thing to say, but I don't think having kids is going to be the best or most important thing I'll ever do in my life.
I think my Mom Club membership is about to be revoked.