When I was six weeks pregnant, I moved to Denver, Colorado and knew basically no one except my husband. Everything was new: our apartment, our neighborhood, our routine, our restaurants, our routes, etc. It was exciting, but it was also isolating. And, truthfully, one of the things that made it most isolating was that no one knew we were pregnant. And more than that, I felt like I just couldn’t tell anyone we were pregnant.
I was so anxious about finding a new job in this place with a growing baby. I had this guilt about “tricking” a company into hiring me, and this feeling that I would only be a desirable candidate if they thought I was there for the long haul, that I was a career-focused late 20-something with no kids on the horizon. So, I hid. I hid a lot of who I was, afraid to tell other people in town that I was pregnant. I was afraid of being too excited, of letting myself live my reality because I felt that a job was the most important and secure thing I should be focusing on. And truthfully, that sucked.
On top of that, it was hard for me to find ways to meet people without having a job. I found myself struggling to find places to frequent, struggling to strike up conversations with strangers, struggling to not be the weirdo talking to everyone. And that also made me feel very unknown in a city of a lot of people.
Pregnancy is hard regardless of circumstances. Your body, for potentially the first time, is no longer just yours. You’re sharing it, and it moves in crazy ways to make space for the new little pod that’s growing. But if you don’t have a support system around you, or you feel like you’re living it in secret, it can have added complexities. At least, that was my reality.
I realized one day how much I was preventing myself from becoming too excited, and I started to wonder why. There can be so many reasons– fear of loss and miscarriage obviously being a big one, especially early on. But I realized that under all of that, there was also this sense of loneliness and isolation that made me feel detached from what was happening to me.
So I started finding ways to feel more known. I called my close friends from home more often, the ones who already knew I was pregnant. I looked for pregnancy groups to meet other women in similar stages, and I accepted a job & immediately told my boss I was expecting. I even ordered new maternity clothes, as my pre-pregnancy clothes no longer fit like they used to! Each small moment made me more connected to what was happening to my body and added to my sense of self.
I found myself more excited with each day that happened. I read my daily updates on The Bump and looked at fruit differently in grocery stores now. I won’t lie, I was always terrified for reaching the Watermelon stage, but I felt so much more present in my body. I began to feel excited to share our news with others, excited to have a bigger bump, excited for each day and small change.
Being pregnant has been one of the coolest things I’ve experienced, but it’s also hard. Doing it while feeling alone only makes it that much harder.