Thursday, January 8, 2009

In the club?

I've always been a person who is most comfortable at the edge of an established group. For example, in many ways, I was much happier as a Jew before I actually converted last spring. Prior to converting I was pretty much the most deluxe non-Jew you could ask for. I'd been participating in Jewish holidays and rituals, learning a lot and enjoying them, for about 5 years. I was 100% on board with our family raising Jewish kids. I took a Hebrew class. I was fine giving up Christmas. What more could you ask for? I was outside the center of our community, but I was still an active participant. Anything I did was great. Now that I'm really a Jew, all I notice are the things that aren't up to snuff. I can barely keep up with services. I'm still dreadfully embarrassed whenever being called to the bimah, and I can't even muster the gumption to say the simplest blessing by myself, in front of anyone other than my immediate family. Now that I'm official, all I notice is what I do wrong. But this post wasn't supposed to be about that actually (as delightful an insight as that might be into my social hang-ups).

These ruminations started on Tues night, when I attended my first prenatal yoga class that contained other real life pregnant women (I did go once before, but I was the only one there). The class was lovely. I slept wonderfully afterwards. I'll absolutely be going back. But I didn't get the expected buzz from hanging out with other pregnant ladies. I've finally got the golden ticket. I have met pretty much the only requirement to be in this club (that being the pregnant club), and I still felt so out of place. Now, part of it might have been that the class was very much full of straight women. Part of it might have been that in my situation, it is just awkward to answer the question "is this your first?" (and for the record, my current answer is "It's our second child, but my first pregnancy. My wife gave birth to our toddler."-- which sometimes feels like too much information, but if I only give partial information my subsequent comments about either keeping up with a toddler or birth preparations don't make any sense). When we were going around the room, I identified so much more with the other women's husbands (especially the husband who can't sleep because his wife has a giant nest of pillows and can't get comfortable. I remember that well). All but one of my classmates are expecting their first. They seemed so starry eyed and innocent.

But this seems to be coming out wrong. I really wasn't bothered by my classmates. All of them were very pleasant. But I guess I expected to feel like I was in the club. I understood not feeling like I was in the club when we were expecting Leigh, because, well, I just wasn't. Or at least I wasn't before Leigh was born. In many ways, becoming Leigh's mom via Gail's uterus suited me well, since I had to start on the fringes of an established cultural group. Once Leigh was born, I saw working my way into new mom circles as a challenge and I took it on with gusto (I'm not sure if you can tell, but I take on most things with gusto). This time though, I thought I'd just fit in, after all this is my shot at doing this "like normal." And it is lovely, especially now that I feel better and hardly ever throw up, but I actually find myself ever so slightly pining for how it was the last time, which in reality may just be a craving for the familiar, but still, I never expected that to happen.


Anonymous said...

I totally get feeling more part of the dads club. Being the non-gestational parent during the formative first gestation puts a lasting stamp on a person.

I'm so so glad that you're feeling better. That first part seemed just awful.

Lo said...

I hear you. I am always most comfortable when, uncomfortably, at the edge of a group. It's just where I live.