When Did I Become So Socially Awkward?

I think I am out of practice in socializing.

It’s become increasingly clear to me how uncomfortable I am with things that I would’ve loved months ago. In my state, we’ve lightened up on some COVID restrictions. Our work office is kind of open, we’ve had groups of people over, we eat out at restaurants occasionally. Life is looking more normal than it did in the height of quarantine.

Usually, I would be ecstatic about this. I am borderline introvert/extrovert, but I love entertaining and connecting. What I’ve seen happen in myself is not what I would usually expect. I think there is a lot of reasons for this.

Quarantine didn’t bring about a lot of time for self reflection that I had hoped for.

I had really wanted to use the time to reflect, become more aware, become enlightened. I instead usually shied away from it and was just in survival mode. Self reflection (especially without community) is really hard. I don’t like to admit how much I need people around to truly know myself, but it’s true. I need others to bounce ideas off, to process with. Quarantine stripped a lot of that away.

Pregnancy is the opposite of a social lubricant.

At nine months pregnant, I pretty much dread going out. It’s not because I’m so physically uncomfortable (most of the time, sharing a body is no joke) it’s usually because I hate how much attention I get. Pregnancy, at this stage in the game, is just about the only thing that I talk about with people. It’s the most obvious thing about me. I get asked my due date at least 3 times a day. I’m asked the name and gender and if I’m excited. I don’t blame anyone for asking those questions, I’m sure I’ve asked a lot of pregnant people the same ones. I am seeing myself shrink away from other because of how uncomfortable it makes me feel to only be seen as a baby vessel.

Connection is a struggle.

I have learned through the years that my extroversion is picky. For me to be filled up by others I need depth. I need to connect in a real way and to talk about real problems, feelings, and laugh real laughs. Sometimes that is a hard thing to come by. So when you are asked to stay and home, only connect to others virtually and you are pregnant, connection and depth is truly a rare luxury. My tank has been running on E for a long time now and I am afraid that having a baby won’t make it any easier.

Where do I turn to now?

The Coronavirus world that we live in isn’t looking to leave any time soon, so where are we supposed to turn to now? I know and trust that God is doing something beyond our imaginings, but where can I be intentional now to find the things that I need? How do I practice social skills again in this new reality?

Hopefully I’m not the only one struggling with people and when we can all meet face to face again, we will all be out of practice together.

Hellos and Goodbyes

Being pregnant is such a hard time of transition. I wasn’t planning on having a baby and I think that adds to the complexity of this time. I’m in my sixth month now and I think I have moved through all of the emotions you possibly could. It’s hard to let go of things when you weren’t planning on having a baby, and it’s an odd thing to say hello to so many new things as well. I had to say goodbye to something I truly loved today and it’s really hard. I wanted to make a list of the hellos and goodbyes to help me chart all that God is doing in this season of transition.

Goodbyes:

  • My timelines. It’s not like Russell and I had planned on traveling the world or really doing anything out of our ordinary lives, but I still wasn’t planning on being a parent yet.
  • My dream of doing foster adoption. I know this isn’t off the table. It’s still my hope, but I was hoping to work towards it and to build our family that way. I know God’s plan is so worthy of me trusting.
  • My ministries. I had honestly been feeling some growing pains in a lot of way in the things I had been doing with youth ministry for a year or so. I knew something new was around the corner. There are pieces I was happy to give up, but there was still one piece in particular that’s hit me hard to give up. I’m still needed in that place, I still love serving in that place, but the timing of the baby just won’t let that be an option for now.
  • The question, “When are you guys wanting to have kids?” Honestly good riddance.
  • My career. I’m still planning to work after the baby comes. (There’s not much choice in it.) When I found out that I was pregnant, I had settled into my dream job. I love my job. I feel like I have to say goodbye to letting it be something that I still love. I’ll be a mom, then a working woman.
  • Friendships. I have good friends that I know will stick through all that life has. I’m not thinking that parenthood will leave us friendless. I do really worry about how it will affect our friendships with our single friends. Marriage already can make things different and hard, a kid will add to that. Pregnancy has felt so isolated at times (COVID aside). I am afraid of what having a baby will mean.
  • My body. My body is a life factory now. I am SO very aware of it all the time. Once my baby is born, my body is still going to be the one-stop-shop for the baby to get what she needs. I am excited to be a source of life, instead of a commodity, but it will definitely come at a price.
  • Body image insecurities. I have always struggled with my self image. I don’t want to be so self obsessed, but I have always succumbed to the pressure of being young and hot and desirable. In a way, pregnancy has freed me of this. I can’t come to terms with my body because where it’s at is so temporary. It won’t make a difference if I hold to this.

Hellos:

  • A sweet little baby. It’s so nuts to me to think I’ll have a little person to hang out with and that will want (at least for a few years) to hang out with me too. I’ve had so much experience in nannying and being a caregiver, but I’ve never been the one that they cry over or want to spend their time with.
  • A new way to look at family. Russell and I have been a “family” since we were married, but this is so much more real. We are planning for our own rules and philosophies and it’s not just us playing house. It’s us doing a ministry in new and unique ways.
  • Seeing Russell as a dad. Oh man. Even before we started officially dating, Russell had always said that he wanted to be a good husband and father. This guy has always been the most baby crazy, fun-loving, goofy guy. He’s always been perfect dad material.
  • A new set of friends. Relationships with the friends I have will change a lot. I also know that because we are entering this new phase, different people who are in similar situations are going to start popping up. I have been and am praying for good families and women and men to connect to in ways I haven’t connected with before.
  • Body insecurities. Female bodies are amazing, but they don’t go back to be exactly like they were after birthing a person. I know that and I’m expecting that. But it is hard to deal with body changes. I know that there will be new things that pop up.
  • A complicated sex life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always been and will be complicated. But now learning how to feel sexy while breastfeeding and being pooped on will definitely be a big learning curve.
  • A better understanding of God’s love for me as a daughter. I’ve heard my whole life that I’m a child of God, but now I will be able to know what it feels like to have a child of my own. I’m looking forward to understanding God’s love for me in a new way.
  • Baby giggles. I mean, who wouldn’t want to say hello to that?

This whole journey has been so hard, and good, and deep. While it’s so tough to say hello and goodbye to so many things, I’m so confident in God’s hand in all of it.