Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Moving On...

One of the most surprising things about motherhood, as it turns out, is the loneliness. Like most first-time moms, my pregnancy was filled with many hours of dreaming of what life would be like after giving birth to the precious child God had given to me. I imagined days spent in carefree play, snuggling, feeding, (diaper changing), and living in the best Gerber commercial I had ever seen.

For the most part, I was right. I have to say, life with my baby has been better than I ever could have imagined it being, insofar as our relationship goes. I love my son, he loves me, and we have a great life together.

The one thing I did not anticipate, though, was how lonely motherhood would be, particularly since I am a single mom. Having a baby can be a very isolating event. Friendships change. Some friendships disappear altogether. I experienced both of those events, and neither was easy. Many of my days are spent wishing I had someone to talk to other than my beautiful baby, realizing that the days of carefree socializing are over.

There are times when I feel a lot of sadness over the relationships that have been lost or been changed over the last couple of years, particularly since the birth of my son. I feel so desperately lonely at times, and end up doing ridiculous things like checking Twitter or Facebook endlessly (when I have time to do so), hoping that someone will at least leave a comment for me, helping me feel more connected to the world outside of my apartment.

When I think of where my life is right now, and how I ended up here, it's easy for me to think of my life as an unfortunate derailment of what might have been, if only I had never fallen ill a couple of years ago, then struggled with addiction, then met and married my son's father, and so forth. It is easy for me to look at all of that, then look at where I am now, and think to myself that the current state of my life is just...sad.

It only occurred to me just tonight that perhaps this isn't a sad place to be at all. All of our lives have purpose when we choose for them to have purpose. A person who has been given every advantage in life could still be living a life that is utterly devoid of meaning. Then again, someone who has been kicked around a lot by life, yet still hangs on despite the loneliness and loss, could be living a life of purpose that is far beyond what they can see. We're all left with choices to be made about how we will handle whatever comes to us.

I am not a big believer in the idea that God is in His heaven, connecting all the dots in our lives in order to bring about a predestined outcome. I believe that life happens, and in God's grace, He enables us to infuse those happenings with meaning and purpose. I believe we are faced with the choice of how we will handle what happens to us, what we will do with what we have left after the painful losses we will surely face.

As I think about this, I think about the friendships I have lost over the last couple of years, and realized that many of my friendships were friendships of convenience--both mine and theirs. Those friendships began to change when I became ill and could not go to as many functions as I was once able to, and I saw the impact of those changes after my son was born. Of the friends that remained, a few of them gradually dropped off until only a couple of my friends from my pre-baby days remained.

It's painful, and there are times when I find myself wishing that life had not become so complicated and I could have my social life back. I miss hangin' out with friends, going to movies with them, just sitting around talking about this and that. These days, the only time I get to sit around and talk with an adult is when I'm in the hospital for surgery (which I was a couple of weeks ago), or when Jaden's WIC nurse comes for a home visit. Other than that, adult conversation is sorely lacking in my day to day existence.

I have finally accepted that I will need to develop new relationships that are appropriate for this season of my life. It is going to mean venturing out more, getting to know new people, going in to new places, none of which I am comfortable with. The options, though, are to keep living a lonely life, to have Jaden living a lonely life, since he won't be able to make any friends because we don't "belong" anywhere, and to remain dependent on Facebook and Twitter for social interaction.

Motherhood is lonely, but I'm ready to break out of the lonely. Still liking being a mother, though.

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