Am I Becoming a Social Recluse?

Am I Becoming a Social Recluse?A few years ago Hubby and I used to be quite the socialites.  Most weekends and a few evenings a week we would have plans with friends.

Skip forward a few years and our social calendar is so empty that it makes a plain white sheet of A4 paper look exciting.  What’s happened?  Well, I’ll tell you.

In the last two or three years there has been a sudden fluctuation of friends’ pregnancies and births.  It was inevitable.  We all know the rhyme “First comes love, then comes marriage…” so what’s next?  The baby! (And that’s without even mentioning all those who got pregnant before the marriage).  The problem with this isn’t the fact that they are having children, it’s the fact that we’re not.

You already know that I have started avoiding people and places.  But it has started to worry me massively that Hubby and I are simply becoming social recluses.

I used to jump at the chance to go out with friends – you name the place, I’d be there.  But now, it takes a lot of decision making before I will commit to a social event.  I will umm and aah over it for days, trying to predict what it will be like and who will be there; if I will enjoy it or if it will make me depressed.  And most of all do I even want to go or am I just trying to trick my brain into thinking I’ve got a social life?

I have been through phases when I have managed to keep the calendar a little bit busier than normal.  But it’s usually resulted in a mix of good and bad outcomes.  Sometimes I’d come home crying and other times be really pleased that we went out.  I can honestly say I do love my friends, but they are parents now!  One of the big questions which arises more often than not is “Do I really want to go out with them if they bring their baby along?” (Everyone seems to do that these days, what happened to babysitters?)  Alternatively, “Do I want to talk about your baby all night?”  The answer to both questions is “No, I don’t!”

I feel like I can’t win.  When I talk to people about our problems I don’t seem to get anywhere because, more often than not, they don’t understand or I’m worried that I’m talking about my problems too much.  When I don’t tell them I find it very hard to hide my emotions and pretend we’re ok, usually whilst watching them hold their bundle of joy (Do I want a hold?  No thanks!)  Not to mention that without even realising it, so many people can be insensitive, but that’s another story.

Once again, it’s another confusing time that I never thought I’d be going through.  I know that something needs to change.  I’m going to lose good friends if this carries on, but I also want to build a little bubble around Hubby and see no-one… Well ok, until our baby arrives anyway.  But by that time, there might not be anyone left to share our joy with!

How do you cope with the social scene?  Have you become less sociable since TTC or having fertility problems?

photo by: thompsonwood

Comments

  1. I totally relate to this. Our couple friends without kids is pretty well nonexistent now. Most of the time we are not invited to the events with kids, and when I do go out with friends when they don’t bring their kids, then I listen for hours as they talk about their kids, lol. It can be very lonely. I suppose this is the magic of the Internet — connecting with others in the same boat. Thank you for sharing what I’ve been feeling and fretting about :)

  2. I am hugely blessed to have one child, but before I had her I would be the only one without kids and felt the sameas you.
    Since ttc number 2 and my mc, I find myself again weighing up ssocial situations before deciding whether I will go. I feel like I can’t predict how I will react…and I don’t want to open myself up to potential heartache. I have already decided that family gatherings are a no no for the next however long as dh’s cousin is pregnant and I can’t face the cooing and waving it in my face.
    I don’t know what the answer is but just wanted to let you know you’re not alone x

  3. I feel exactly the same way. Luckily (or not*) all of my friends live thousands of miles away. Then again, my SIL is pregnant and she’s the one person I can’t avoid for long. And if I lived closer to my friends, maybe I would have a better support system. Then again, maybe not. Whichever way you slice it, it sucks. Thank god for the online community I’ve found!

  4. I have had exactly the same experience!

  5. Belle Marsh says:

    Hi, Sociability often goes in peaks and troughs. I am far older than you I suspect. Looking down the years I have been extremely sociable, almost a hermit (a bit of an exaggeration) and social again. Some weeks are filled to the brim and others empty of people. I would suggest you speak to the doctor if you are trying for children so that you get some reassurance. If you are stressed it may be interfering with your body clock. Also, make a note of friends and places that are not overly child obsessed. New parents can be a bit overwhelming even for me and I have two much older children. You are must in a different place. Try not to let depression take hold. Go for walks, take gentle exercise, keep healthy. Perhaps book a course or a nice relaxing exercise regime. Local hotels often offer the use of their pools. I use Marriots and find I meet nice people and can have interaction without it being overwhelming, As you get back in practice, make a date to face your social fears. Don’t feel guilty about finding it overwhelming, it is quite normal, probably lots of people are feeling the same. Try not to over catastrophise the event. leave when you are ready. Seek out people at the event who seem friendly without being insensitive or overly drunk. Smile politely if you get the baby talk and move on to someone else if you feel awkward. Take steps to remain in touch with friends but instead of long dinner parties, try a short lunchtime coffee, or walk in the park, or swim or better still an exhibition or gallery so the conversation diverts to something wider than babies and family life.
    Wish you luck.

    • Baby Hopeful says:

      Thanks for your words of advice and experience. I agree that it comes in waves – I have now accepted that sometimes I don’t want to see people and sometimes I do. All my friends with babies now know that if I don’t want to meet up, it’s not personal. Some have also been very understanding and make sure we mostly go out without baby (which is much better). From talking to others on Twitter and through my blog I know I’m not alone anyway, which helps a lot. xx

  6. 100% feel everything you just described. My husband and I definitely have a bubble around us and I’ve often wondered if I’ll have a friend left when it’s all said and done. Also, I selfishly wonder who will through me a baby shower if we ever make it there. Thank God for Internet friends who let you know that at least you aren’t alone. :)

    • Baby Hopeful says:

      Sometimes I think about that too, might not have any friends left either. But it’s so hard to break out of it. Hubby always says to me that we need to do whatever it takes to get through this as easily and as best we can – if it means hiding away and keeping our sanity then we’ll do it. Good luck on your journey – baby-dust to you. xx

  7. In 30 minutes a timer will go off on my phone telling me I need to call and RSVP for a dinner party hosted by a friend, for a friend who is visiting from out of state. I have known both of them since i was 14 years old. I am calling at a specific time because I just want to leave a message…she should be picking up 2 of her 3 children (or so I am hoping she will be). I really don’t want to chat with her. I really don’t even want to go, either, but I know none of them will understand the real reason why, will take it as a personal insult (history has shown this to be true), and because I am still too concerned with what people think of me I’ll just suck it up and go. And I will sit there, next to my hisband, and we will smile and make our way through a long and painful dinner while 3 other couples dote on or discipline their multiple children and we attempt to spend time together.

    Today, I really appreciate your writing this.

    • Baby Hopeful says:

      You are right in that people often don’t understand. I am trying more now to explain to people (when I can), but it’s a risk. I’ve had it thrown back in my face more than once. But it does feel good when someone accepts and understands. x

  8. Some social encounters can be very painful for us. Even friends can make comments that feel like rubbing salt in a wound.
    And what hurts the most is replaying those situations in our head again and again.
    What helped me a lot is to question my thoughts about similar situations you described. I use the method which is called The Work. What I realized is that those people didn’t want to hurt me. Just as you say they have no idea how it feels like being on this journey. And because they do not know, their remarks are inadequate. I came across only two persons during seven years who really wanted to hurt me. So now I know whom I should avoid.
    Those women who had easily children often take it for granted. I am sure that I take many things for granted that are not so obvious to achieve for other people. When I am hurt by the remarks of others, it gives me an opportunity to look inside and see where my remarks might hurt other persons.
    And yes, sometimes we just need to be alone to have the best company.
    Esther recently posted…Who’s business is it if I get pregnant?My Profile

    • Baby Hopeful says:

      That’s a great idea, using the negative comments from others for self improvement. Thanks for sharing. x

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