I’ve realized that I am lonely. On Friday, I wanted to have people we could go and socialize with, but we had no plans, and no one we knew to call who might be around at the last minute. It’s a conundrum really because my anxiety about uncontrolled group settings where we don’t know anyone or know what to expect makes it hard for me to go out and do something in public, like listen to live music and eat dinner outside, etc. I am afraid that people will congratulate me on the birth of my son, will think I am still pregnant because of my stomach fat (Eli has delighted in constantly reminding me that I have jiggly fat all over my body, and playing with it), or that something will trigger an emotional breakdown. All the ways we’d normally engage in conversation with strangers (asking about family/children, or even saying how is your summer going etc) are challenging questions that I don’t know how to answer. So making new friends seems near impossible, and even getting out of the house has its own challenges. But staying inside alone is not good for any of us, and the social isolation, depression and anxiety can build. Of course, it does not help that my husband is introverted by nature, so I am normally the one who makes social plans for us, or rallies us to go do something. But since I am so scared of everything, I am not in a place to do this.
We had friends drive up from DC to spend the day with us on Saturday. They have a daughter the same age as Eli, so it was nice for him to have someone to play with, and us to have people to talk with. Especially as we sat around eating dinner, and the children were a bit more mellow, some of the talking was even fun. Then on Sunday, two of my friends stopped by. The first was a woman who comes in to town every so often since her family lives there, and she just infused the room with positive energy, which was good for all of us . And then the second was a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while, who was also in town visiting other friends and family. She came over with her 16 month old, which was also nice, and was the first time I’d held a baby (granted he’s not too small) and also saw a baby nursing around me, which was manageable. And it was nice to watch Eli have to play with a younger child, and have to learn to negotiate and share, and I realized how much I wished we had a big community and close friends here, so that even if we couldn’t give Eli siblings, life and laughter right now, he’d get it from our fake family. But we don’t have any of this, and that makes this so much harder. I am especially worried about this coming weekend. Three days. We literally have no plans. So do I email a few families we have socialized with before, and see what they are doing? They have to be families that are okay with me staring off into space sometimes, with my crying sometimes, with my pain, who know how to just be with people in grief, but who can laugh with us, live, at the same time. This feels like a lot to expect of people we only know peripherally. And many people are busy anyway, busy with their own lives and plans and don’t feel a need to expand their existing social circles to include one new family, especially a grieving one (most people who we’ve met are from here, married to someone else from here, very established in their lives). But what is the alternative? To be alone in the house for three days? This is also a horrible option. Do we go to the local 4th of July festival, where I will run into people whose name I do not know, but who know we were expecting, where I feel visible and drained, and where my lack of desire to talk to anyone who doesn’t know what happened makes it especially unlikely that even going to these things will help us begin to form a community? I’m not sure what we will end up doing–I suppose it will in large part depend on what Eli wants to do, but it’s hard, and it makes me sad. This whole thing makes me sad.
And I still haven’t started researching/writing/volunteering, or even mosaic-ing. I want to feel proud of something, like I am accomplishing something and not just caught in this horrible limbo of waiting for time to pass. Baby steps, friends say. I took Eli to the dentist this morning, saw a pregnant hygienist and didn’t cry, dentist asked how we were, and i didn’t blurt out, horrible, my second son is dead. So maybe those are good enough baby steps? It sure doesn’t feel ‘good enough’. I need to think of a small goal for the week. I am not sure yet what it will be, since it’s hard to have goals when you are too scared/anxious/broken to know what you are ultimately working towards, but we will see.
I still haven’t been ready to write our whole story in the about us section, but I did add a picture of baby Sidney, for those who would like to see.