Part 1 (probably)
When I fell pregnant we were living in Queenstown NZ. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth and we had great friends there, but my partner is an Aussie, and had been offered a job in Queensland; it made sense for us to move.
Now, before this move, I had genuinely never worried about making friends as a grown up. I’d never even considered it. I’d moved country twice (alone), moved interstate (alone), travelled around Australia and New Zealand (alone), and made friends. Easy.
All of a sudden, I was 22 weeks pregnant, in a new place, unable to get a job and unable to go out drinking. My partner had a grand total of two friends in town (his boss and boss’ wife) and we had a life to build.
It was weird.
I was extremely lonely and extremely confused about how to fix it. The couple we knew went out of their way to introduce us to people and invite us to BBQs, but we were very much amongst childless people, and it showed.
The thing is; I don’t think people feel all that comfortable hearing anecdotes about drunken misbehaviour when they are coming from a pregnant girl. The genres don’t mesh. As everyone else was childless, they hadn’t yet experienced the feeling of loss of your past-self combined with the incredibly exciting anticipation for your new-self, and trying to get to know people while you’re going through such a massive change in your life isn’t easy. I felt as though I was already being treated as a ‘mum’, or at least as a ‘sensible person’.
To be honest, neither label really fit.
I felt as though no one here really knew what to talk to me about. The obvious topic was my pregnancy, and as much as I knew they were trying, I really REALLY wanted to let them know I was still just a chick in her 20s.
You can still swear around me, I’m not your mother.
You don’t have to feel bad when you mention ‘not being anywhere near ready for kids’.
I’m not going to judge you for drunkenly arguing with a DJ over his terrible choice in music; even if it did get you thrown out of the bar you were in.
I’m still one of you.
Almost three years later, we’re far more established. Those friends now speak freely around me, and we have our own anecdotes to share, but I’ve come to realise that the awkward new-friend phase is just a part of my life now. It comes along with the label ‘mother’ and all its connotations. It’s even existent in mothers’ groups, but I’ll waffle on about that another day.
Anyway, I guess my point is: parents are still people! Who knew?