Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One is the loneliest number

Other Best Friend (the one who made the tiny cardigan with elbow patches) visited this weekend, and surprised me with a sort of proxy baby shower. She'd collected gifts from several people and agreed to deliver them. It was very sweet. It was also very pathetic. This is stupid and selfish and ungrateful, but indulge me for a moment, because I can't say this to anyone else, but feel like I've got to say it.

I've always been someone who wasn't interested in fitting in, and anyway, it wasn't gonna happen even if I'd given it my very best shot. If you're a weirdo, you mainly think of it something you've chosen, but the truth is, it typically involves a certain amount of exclusion by others, too. Certainly in my case, my introversion is partly a product of being shunned by my peers during my childhood. That part is less charming, and it's a sore spot that sometimes leads me to yearn to be just a regular girly girl. The kind who likes shopping and knows about makeup. The kind who would make a seamless girly-girl transition into pregnancy and motherhood. The experience of infertility was an isolating, ostracizing one, like I really needed more of those in my life. But now that I'm great with child, it's not like I suddenly belong somewhere. I don't belong with my weirdo friends, most of whom don't want kids and so don't really enter into this experience with much enthusiasm. I'm still not a girly girl with lots of girly girl friends who love talking about babies. I'm just a pregnant werido.

When the surprise was revealed, I burst into tears, and it took me a moment to realize they weren't all tears of joy. I had to leave the room to sob convulsively, and that's not what happiness does. Maybe I was secretly hoping my friends would find a way to surmount the obstacles of difficult schedules and travel and do something real, but for whatever reason, this pathetic excuse for a baby shower made me feel...pathetically pathetic. I really think nothing at all was working better for me.

Of course, I'm also very grateful to OBF for making this effort, and the logical part of my mind understands, and like I've said before, I don't have a very baby-shower appropriate group of friends, and I should just shut up and be thankful for my Bun Bun, which, dear God, I am. And if I wanted to have loads of girlfriends, maybe I shouldn't have been such an anti-social bitch all the time.

Anyway, here's one of the gifts I received. I joked to BFB that Mr. Bunny and I were going to refuse to find out Bun Bun's sex even after he was born, and do all diaper changes and baths with our eyes closed, and dress Bun Bun only in grey. It's the only way to avoid gender socialization, I said. So she sent a little grey-striped onesie, which just happened to match Mama's striped shirt. My friends may not love me enough to come to Ohio, but at least they're funny.


  1. I think you might have to come and live in Ireland. We glory in unconventional personalities here, you'd be a celebrity, AND, we don't do those baby shower torture sessions at all! What could be better?

  2. I feel like I could have written this post myself. I'm a weirdo. I don't have close girl friends. I mean, my closest one is an infertile who can barely stand to talk to me right now, due to my pregnancy. And even before that, I only saw her once a month.
    My best friends are guys, and almost all of my peripheral friends don't want kids or have older kids. There's no one in my position. No one to be happy for me in my group of peers.

    I'm fairly positive my shower will consist of my sisters-in-law, my mom, and a co-worker or two.

    I'm shy, pretty anti-social, and basically have very few people to confide in.

    I feel like we're damn soulmates right now.

    Anyway, all of this blah blah blah is to say that I completely and totally relate.

    I also think you're fucking awesome. So everyone else is stupid.

  3. Dear Bunny and BunBun
    I wish I was there with you to celebrate this time in your lives in person. You are an amazing person and friend. BunBun you have no idea how lucky you are to have such an amazing mommy and I think if you ever feel left out or like you do not fit in, your mommy will be the best person to lean on.
    Thinking of you and celebrating across all these miles.....

  4. I love weirdos. I always tried to be different or more outside the box but it never worked. So instead, I embraced my normalcy but always wanted to be a little bit unique.

    I hope that the shower-thing passed/passes quickly and you're able to find other really important things to think about...although I'm not really sure what those would be. Time off? Swollen legs? I dunno.

  5. boy do i identify with this. the not-looking-during-diaper-changes part, i mean.

    we are having a shower, but we only invited a few people for the reasons you stated. and only my bff is traveling (and not from terribly far). we didn't even ask anyone else from out for town, because why invite the bad feelings? that any of them might have wanted to come or even to send gifts seems outlandish.

    it's also true that we don't have "baby shower"-type friends, for the most part, and our families are far away. almost none of our friends have kids, and of the two close sets of friends who do, one is not an american. if a surprisingly normative friend whom i don't even feel very close to hadn't insisted on our having a shower, i doubt we'd have one at all.

    and to tell you the truth, i more than halfway don't want to go. i'm sure it will be weird and impositional (word?) all around. bah. not thinking about these things does have its appeal.

  6. I'm a weirdo too, Bunny. And a shower like that would have made me feel the exact same way it made you feel...

    I know you're beyond thrilled about being "with bun bun" so you never have to clarify that...

    Pregnancy aside, you're still entitled to feel hurt by the fact that your friends didn't/can't rally around you right now ... girly girl or not.

    And just for the record, I think you totally rock!

  7. My baby shower consisted of me getting to open presents from all my friends & family while another woman sat beside me 'great with (my) child'. The smile that was on my face in every picture was one that was completely forced. Even though I was/am extremely grateful that she wanted to have a baby to give to us, I was green with envy that she was the one getting to feel my baby kick. She was the one getting the belly rubs...while I just got to sit there and open gifts. I wouldn't trade an ounce of it now, looking back, because my son is an amazing little guy whom I love with every ounce of my being. Sometimes, however, I just feel robbed.

  8. I think we're all weirdos. If I didn't have a sister, I don't think I would have any super close girlfriends. As it is, I have some pseudo close gfs I see a few times a year, and my sis, the only one I talk to and see on a regular basis. And that's pretty much it, I don't feel really close to anyone else and I've always been a bit jealous of the relationships/friendships I read about.

    I'm sorry that the friends you have couldn't be there for you in the way you want them to. I hope they all plan to make up for a it a bit once bun bun arrives.

  9. I always worked really hard to fit in, and probably lost a bit of myself in the process, so never feel bad for being yourself. However, I do understand how the pseudo-shower could be upsetting. Despite my large group of girlfriends, at work I'm totally different. I'm the girl in my office that doesn't socialize with anyone - I eat lunch alone and never talk to anyone about anything other than work (and I'm in PR!!!). Which was fine until I realized that no one would throw me a baby shower like everyone else gets. It definitely made me a little sad, even though I don't like any of those people! I was actually relieved to be on bed rest so I wouldn't feel awkward about not having one. Anyway, your friends although not in baby-mode, sound extremely thoughtful and I know they are doing the very best they know how for their dear Bunny and Bun-Bun.

  10. I could identify with this post too. Like I say, "I don't have to do anything special for my birthday," but then I'm really bummed out if people don't overrule me and do something. I'm SUCH a dork.

    I'm glad you can tell us how you really feel. We hear ya!

  11. Bunny, I think you are all that and a bag of chips. And then some. I read this post and started thinking about when I could drive to Ohio. The weekend of the 20th is possible.

    Thank you for telling us about this. I feel pretty honoured for the trust you put in us by sharing this very vulnerable part. I feel very sad that this has been such a sore spot for you in your life, and that it was all brought back to the surface by this nonevent of a shower.

    It seems that in this community, you are a focal point, a centrifugal force that brings people together. Your readers ADORE you. I know your mind is saying that IRL they wouldn't, but let me politely encourage that great mind of yours to take this opportunity to shut up.

    Bunny, I think we would be friends IRL. I would irritate the crap out of you with my earnestness, but you'd deal. I think of you as my friend, even if I only know your animal name.

  12. From one weirdo loner freak to another -- I get it.

    I never articulated it very well, what with the bubbling hormones and rage, but my issues surrounding my baby shower (that was dominated and manhandled by my mother-in-law) were really rooted in my discomfort with the whole scene. I cried a lot in the days leading up to it because I was dreading it. I didn't want to be surrounded by people who thought I was a normal pregnant person who was actually going to have a real live take-home baby. It was too scary and too intense. But I survived. I think I would have preferred no shower, but then I bet I would have felt unloved. So, yeah, lose-lose situation in an ungrateful-seeming but totally legit way.

    And for the record (are you getting all this? underline this part), I heart you and some day hope I am cruising through your town so we can meet up to have a nice cup of coffee, introduce our behbehs, and quietly make fun of people walking by our cafe table. I would say, or if you are ever traveling through my town, but I live outside of Detroit and no one comes here on purpose.

    And good call on changing diapers with your eyes closed. That will prevent you from taking a stream of pee to the eyeball if it's a boy (not that you'll know, what with the gender neutrality). Be forewarned -- good-intentioned colleagues and family members will work extra hard to gender stereotype your behbeh FOR you after birth. I have tried to remain gender neutral with clothes, but some people just can't restrain themselves. I am saving a pair of lovely pink shoes to dress the boy in for the next family or neighborhood get-together. Go ahead, peoples, make a comment. I've got some residual postpartum hormones rearing to go.

  13. Well, you're very popular here, Bunny! And I can say that I've always been a combination weirdo/girly-girl who does have a lot of female friends (and pretty much no male ones), but despite that, IF is seriously isolating and lonely. It's not really something you chat about over margaritas, you know? Or at least I can't.

    But I understand why this made you sad and I wish that you had the shower experience you were dreaming of. Even though I know having Bun Bun will make everything worth it.

  14. I think I am going to cry from an exhausting crack up at that photo. Ever true to her Bunny roots, she holds as if she is just ever so slightly *afraid* of it. Ha! You sweetheart, you.

    You are a tough mother fucker. Dont discount the fact that you got load o hormones raging through you as well. Something that is a typical blip is all of a sudden a snake in your ear. I am sorry it felt off. I bet it smarts and then smarts a little more just because it smarts.

    I would like to second Augusta. Thank you for sharing this.

    If you know who the Flyers are, when I come home to see my parents I am knock knock knocking at your Bunny door.

  15. can you come up to ny and we'll throw you a lovely shower up here??? you're very popular in IF bloggy land, though that might not be something you're proud of (but you should be!!). i'm glad your friends did *something* for you to acknowledge bun bun and i wish you were here so i could give you a great big hug!!! xoxo.

  16. The not knowing where you fit/realizing you only sorta-kinda-maybe half-fit in most places? Er, yep. Especially in regards to infertility/pregnancy/parenting experiences? Oh LAWD, yep.

    Baby showers seem, to me in my limited experience, to be one of those things that just doesn't live up to the hype. Not saying that to promote some kind of sour grapes mentality...just to say that though it's a pregnancy milestone, it left me feeling a weird and unexpected sense of longing. The showers I had felt equally extra-terrestrial in different ways.It was strange, all of it-- one was chock full of family dynamic landmines, another was just a formality devoid of any personality or sentiment.

    Hang in there. Your BunBun is so, so very celebrated, Bunny. By you and Mr. Bunny and definitely by all of us.

  17. Maybe we're all weirdos, and that's why we get along so well, and love you so much? I'm sorry that the whole baby shower experience was so difficult.
    But I love the gray Bun Bun clothes, especially if they match yours!

  18. Wouldn't it be cool if all your blog friends could be transported to your real-life home to celebrate with you? Because you clearly have a lot of friends, fans, admirers, and Bunny and BunBun-lovers here on the internet. But I know it's not the same. It must be tough having your friends far away and even harder not to have anyone close by who can share all the day-to-day joy you're sure to experience with your little baby. But who knows? Maybe you'll end up meeting some moms in your community who despite their make-up and girlie girl appearances, feel just the same as you do. Cause if this comment section is any indication, there are a lot of self-described mama and mama-to-be weirdos out there. We love you, Bunny.

  19. The thing with being a lone wolf outsider individualist weirdo (from one lone wolf outsider individualist weirdo to another) is that swimming upstream away from most of the rest of the population can be very tiring. And, as you point out, it's not even like we make the conscious decision to swim upstream. We're just constructed that way.

    It's interesting that there are certain life experiences where things move into a bottleneck. We get shoved through the valve of uniformity. And if we aren't valve-shaped or even roughly valve-shaped...we come out the other side a little bruised. With something like a wedding, it's become easier to make things the way you want them. But pregnancy isn't there yet, and it's so very hard to deal with others' ideas but also our own expectations.

    You're not pathetic. I raise my cup of herbal tea to you and to Bun Bun.

  20. I feel like a weirdo, too, and am also introverted. I happen to have a very extroverted best friend, or I don't think I would have had a shower either. (Actually, I haven't *had* one, but extroverted best friend is throwing me a "meet the baby" party afterwards.)

    I'm sorry it was hard. I'm glad OBF made the effort, but I know what you mean about how it made you feel. (Even though you are not pathetic at all.) And at least the onesie is super cute!