One thing I have noticed during this pregnancy is that I have found it easier to talk to other women, and I think they have found it easier to talk to me. Whereas before I didn't have much in common with some women and the conversation dried up pretty quickly, now we seem to have a bond. I did try to make an effort with conversations before, but it was hard sometimes. Now we just talk about the baby.
This is both annoying and a blessing. Annoying because I would like to be able to talk about different topics with women - not just kids. I don't want to ever slip into being that woman that just talks about kids non-stop around people who aren't parents. I like to discuss theology and how to live out the Bible in day-to-day life (not just in parenting). I like to talk about writing and books and sport...and many other things. But it's a blessing because at least it feels like the ice has been broken. Maybe talking about my baby will open doors to other conversation topics down the track. I really do want to deepen my relationships with other women (particularly at church) and this is a start. I'm trying to make a conscious effort to remember to steer the conversation away from babies and ask them about their lives as well (and really listen to what they're saying).
In some ways I do really feel like I've been welcomed into the 'motherhood fold'. I'm no longer just a helpless spectator on the sidelines. I can participate in conversations.
Sort of. Only sort of. I haven't actually done any parenting yet. My baby is still in utero. I will always be lagging behind some women I see regularly who are several steps ahead. While they are discussing schooling, my child will still be learning to speak. While their kids are at uni, mine will still be choosing high school subjects. There will always be parts of their conversations where I DO feel like a spectator....and sometimes they like to let me know it. I was at a friend's baby shower when everyone started discussing birth stories. Of course I can't participate in them yet, but then someone just HAD to draw attention to the fact that I was the only woman in the room who hadn't given birth. Some women are just so discouraging! They always have to focus on the negatives and make motherhood into some kind of scary initiation ceremony.
So that's how I've felt over the past nine months. Deeply loved, supported and encouraged by some women who never make me feel like a little kid who doesn't know what I'm doing. Others seem to get their jollies out of trying to make me squirm. I know which group I'll be leaning towards once the baby arrives.