watching from the sidelines.

atticus: 6 weeks

Adjusting to this new way of life is a bit like pulling on clothes that don’t fit. Hand-me-downs with room to grow. I know a thing or two about clothes that don’t fit these days, as my maternity clothes are far too big and the rest of my clothes are too small. Perhaps one day this new garment will be hemmed into a reasonable shape. But for now, it hangs loosely, and I do not wear it well.

I hesitate to call this new life motherhood, because more than one aspect seems different. My questions are focused on the ways that these changes have affected my life outside this house. What will it be like when I go back to work? Who are Mike and I now? Are my friends going to remember me when I can go and have fun again?

That last one has been weighing on me pretty heavily for a while now. The cold weather and giant diaper bag don’t make it very easy for this homebody to get out of the house. My boy is sleeping like a champ, and though I don’t have him on a schedule, our lives have fallen into a pattern that I am hesitant to mess with. So we stay home. Meanwhile, everyone else’s lives are moving on without us, and I fear that soon I will be standing on the sidelines of the playground of life, having not been chosen for any team. I did not know how isolated I would feel, nor did I know how the isolation would prey on my fears of being left out.

I thought about these things somewhat back in November when I was writing letters to Atticus. When I wrote to him about losing and finding, I was thinking about the things I was losing, the freedoms that are not available to me any more, the way of life that I enjoyed. As the rhythms of this new way of life make themselves known, I believe we will find joy and freedom in different ways than we are used to. I feel more certain of that every day, with every chubby smile. For now, though, I feel more like the girl in the too-big hand-me-downs who is watching everything from the sidelines, not knowing how to join in the games.

What suggestions do you have for a new mom fighting loneliness? Besides calling people up and saying, “Do you still like me? Can we still be friends?” Because that seems . . . problematic.

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