I feel like an impostor.
I sat down to breakfast with two friends today so we could plan a baby shower. My baby shower.
Baby showers aren’t for people like me. They’re for the fertiles, those women who take for granted, even while their baby is still in the womb, that their child will be born, complication-free, healthy and safe into their arms. Just like they took for granted that they could “try” to become pregnant with said child anytime they wanted, on their own schedule, and with no more effort than enticing their husbands into bed a few times during what they, most likely, guessed was the right time of the month.
It was…weird. First of all, it feels a bit strange to ask people to spend money on me/us/baby. I had a hard time with this when coming up with a wedding registry, too. At the same time, we need all the help we can get, given our current (and future) financial situation of getting by on one income. It also feels weird to have people so excited about the fact that I’m pregnant. One of my friends had her baby with her, and it was non-stop attention from other people in the restaurant. It makes me uncomfortable to be the center of attention, most of the time, and I know it’s only going to get worse.
Second of all, I’m totally blown away that these particular friends are the ones who offered to throw me a shower in the first place. I’ve written about them before. I’m not much of a social butterfly anyway, and even though we live in the same city, I rarely see them. G was the last person I would have expected to offer such a gesture, and I’m so grateful and humbled that she did.
I’m glad neither of them made a big deal out of staring at or trying to touch my belly. I had considered this possibility before meeting them at the restaurant, and it occurred to me that, had I been sitting there, pre-pregnancy, watching that kind of scene, I would have been incredibly hurt and jealous. And I wouldn’t want to inflict that on anyone else.
Then there were the conversations that ensued. I have no idea how to plan a baby shower, but I felt sort of taken out of the whole process. They both had plenty of ideas of their own, and I tried to be as easy-going as possible, since, on most of the details, I really don’t care one way or the other. On the other hand, it’s supposed to be my shower. And when it comes to details like receiving gifts I’ve registered for versus gift cards I may or may not be able to use once we get to Canada, I do have an opinion. There were a lot of “If I were you…” comments, coming from the two experienced mothers sitting at the table with me. And it just made me feel like an outsider all over again. I’ve never done this before. I don’t have children (yet). How could I possibly be expected to have an opinion. Or the right opinion.
Yesterday, I went shopping for maternity clothes. I was disappointed because Ot.her Mot.hers, contrary to the image the name elicits, had very little selection of maternity clothes available. And they all seemed to be made for short women. I’m 5′ 10″. Most things I tried on would, no doubt, look like crop tops in a matter of weeks. I did find a few things, but again, felt like a total poser when I was asked at the register whether or not I had store credit. Um, I don’t have kids, and this is my first pregnancy. What could I have possibly brought in that would have been of any value in this place?
I don’t belong here.
It was a fleeting moment. My simple “no” was sufficient to continue the check-out process. But just being in the store, surrounded by women with their babies and children in tow, made me feel out of place.
Does this ever get better? Am I ever going to feel like a normal pregnant woman? A normal mother? When people ask if I’m pregnant, I become self-conscious. I feel myself blushing, as if this secret I’ve been keeping was stolen from someone more deserving.
I wish I could turn that part of my brain off. I wish I could tie a sign around my neck that clearly states, after all we’ve been through, that I deserve to be here. I want more than anything, when someone asks if I’m pregnant, to just smile and say, “yes.”