The Mom-to-Be Identity Shift

At 13 Weeks I’m not really showing, and we aren’t going to make a public announcement of our future babies for another week or so, after we send out these cutesy postcards to our families and close friends. So only our immediate families and the people we see in everyday life know about the babies. But I know. I know I am a different person already. Now that I’m pregnant, I have a new identity whether I like it or not.

In L.A. I have friends for all occasions and purposes thanks to the many interesting and inspiring people here. But with my new priorities, not all my former friends are going to make the cut for being friends with “Mom” me. And for some friends, I’m not going to make their cut, now that I’m a matronly old bag.

Below is a table of my friend categories and how our relationships have (or will) change since I’ve taken on this new identity.

Friend Type Pre-Preggers Relationship Post-Preggers Relationship
 Go-Out Friends These are twenty-somethings who are full of energy and always searching for something in life. I only see them in groups when we go together to a bar or party. I usually attend the get-together for a couple of hours and slip out quietly, alone. I’m not interested in being part of any kind of rowdy group these days. I can’t drink, I have no energy for boisterous conversation, noise gives me a headache, and I’m too tired to stay up past 8 most nights. Not to mention these friends constantly take photos of their fun times for social media, and I’m looking a bit chubby since I’ve gained ten pounds and have no visible “baby bump.” Verdict: Count me out.
Hot Mess Friends Much like the the Go-Out friends, my Hot Mess friends are twenty-something, searching, and constantly in a state of personal turmoil. But I’m closer to these friends. Instead of going somewhere in a group, I hang out with these friends one-on-one. They usually come over to my place. I give them food, wine, and weed, and we get slightly cross-faded while I act as their drunk therapist and give them nuggets of hope. They listen to my stories, too, and sometimes we break into song until my neighbors yell at us. These are lovely people I care about muchly. I do enjoy their company, but often after hanging out with them, I’ve found I feel depleted, just from all the existential angst they are carrying around. These friends really care about shit that doesn’t matter, but they won’t realize how much it doesn’t matter for another 4-7 years, so all I can do is listen and say, “I’ve been there.” Verdict: I am not equipped to hang out with these friends while sober, and I don’t want to soak in any unnecessary negative energy. I am putting these friendships on indefinite pause.
 

Productive Activity friends

These are either the artist friends I mostly see when we are working on a writing or movie-making project together, or the people I go to fitness classes or movies or community events with. We do go deep and get personal, but only for a couple of hours at a time. We get along great but have our own lives that don’t necessarily intersect. We have dinner occasionally, but most the time we’re too busy working on art or doing activities. I’m still yearning to be productive, and with my pregnant mush-brain, these guys are almost my only hope of staying on track. They keep me writing, keep me active, keep me engaged. They are mature 30-somethings, so they at least pretend to understand my struggles and even share theirs for creative fodder. Verdict: I’ll take as many of these friends as I can get.
 Soulmates These friends come in all ages, from 20-something to 60-something. They are the friends who have seen me sad, happy, angry, and crazy. They’re the ones I can be around whatever the circumstance, sober as a nun. We have a spiritual connection and we talk about matters of the spirit. Our friendships are 50-50; we give as much as we get from them. These are strong, unique humans who are committed to growing better all the time. They know the real me and we don’t have to try to impress each other or find activities to make our time together less awkward. We can just “be,” and being with them replenishes me rather than depletes me. Verdict: I can’t do without these friends. They make pregnancy (and life) easier.
New Friends / Friends I Haven’t Seen in Years  These are people I liked from the beginning. Some I just met a few months ago and hoped we could become friends. Some are people I’ve considered “close friends” at some point, but for L.A. reasons, we’ve had to postpone our plans so often that I only physically see them once a year. We liked each other when I was not pregnant. It’s safe to assume that we’ll still like each other now that I am. However, without the normal buffers of drinks or dangerous sporting activities that mark the beginnings of relationships in my world, it may be difficult to get this friendship off the ground. Verdict: It’s up to them. If they can see the real me beneath the boring, farting, teetotaling geezer I’ve become, then I’m open.

Broke and Pregnant

The way we live, me and my fiancé (wow, that’s the first time I’ve written that word), is not the American way.

To us, time is more important than money. Doing what we love makes us feel rich, even if it means we have to buy half our groceries at the 99 Cents Only store.

We’re both actors, and sometimes we get paid handsomely to put our faces in front of a camera. But much of the time, we act for free. I’m a writer, and I do that just for the love. I worked for three years, published a novel, and after sales, I broke about even with my production costs. I’m writing this blog for no reason other than I want to share some real-lady talk in a world full of cutesy mom sites with message boards that employ annoying-ass acronyms. We try not to get discouraged by the fact that this life we love has not yet delivered us riches.

To make money, he referees ice hockey. I babysit. We do promo gigs for different brands. I do catering. We do this only for the money, and we don’t get paid much.

So I’ve been wondering lately with these tots on the way: should I give in to the golden handcuffs? I have a master’s degree in English. I’m sure if I tried hard, I could get a “real” job that filled my pockets and killed my soul at a steady pace. I’d be trading my freedom for a sense of security.

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The cutesy mom sites all assume that everyone works in a cubicle. (‘Cause that’s the American way.) They advise you to check your “employee handbook” and plan your maternity leave wisely. When I read this, I want to gag, thinking of living a lifestyle in which I must refer to a “handbook” or talk to some higher-up in a suit before acting. Ha! As it is, I make my own rules. All my gigs are pretty painless, and none include a boss breathing down my neck. That said, some weeks I just don’t get work. I scrape together the dregs of my checking account to pay rent. It’s okay when it’s just me, but I can’t have that when I’m responsible for the twins.

I love being free. But I don’t want to be scared of not being able to survive. I know there has to be a third option. There has to be some way that I can feel secure and steady but also live of my own volition. They say do what you love and the money will come to you, but I’m willing to compromise a little if I have to.