Social Awkwardness with the Peers

19 Dec

After almost 4 weeks of feeling content and emotionally stable I felt the slap of reality when this weekend hit.  It started with a gift exchange with some friends, a couple we’ve known for years that just had their first child earlier this year.  We met in the evening and they barely mentioned the baby during our whole visit.  It just seemed really incongruous with what new parents are like.  I appreciate that they didn’t want to overdo it for whatever reason, but their overcompensation of saying nothing made me feel really awkward.  The healthy way to interpret that event is to think that maybe they didn’t want to bore us as they weren’t into talking about kids before they had one.  The less healthy side starts thinking of how they are intentionally avoiding the topic around us because they either think we hate kids more likely, we are reproductive failures and they don’t think we can handle their joy.  Either way it hurts.  It feels like we are no longer friends and it’s because we didn’t have a baby at the same time.  I’ve come to terms that we are going to be really late to the parenting party, but it feels like a slap in the face when they are hiding it from you.  I am SURE they talk about this stuff with other friends and now we are pushed to the outside and there is a giant elephant in the room.  If they ever asked about our situation, at this point, I think I might even tell them, just to clear the air.  Instead it feels like they know something is up and they just want to avoid feeling awkward so they avoid it all together.

At the same time some other friends of ours are visiting from out of town with their baby and it feels like our whole gang of friends is getting together for play dates.  We aren’t invited of course.  We just end up as the childless weirdo’s and it kills me.  Even if I got pregnant today, I just feel so behind that I don’t feel like we would ever catch up.  Their kids are going to be going to school by the time ever have one.  When they talk about meeting up with their kids and what developmental stages they are each at it really feels like a knife through the heart.  I guess I always pictured being a part of that and having kids around the same time as the rest of our friends, or maybe even earlier as we started earlier.  Instead it just feels extremely unfair and embarrassing that we are still without a baby and it’s become a taboo subject.  If I was more mature and rational I would not give a crap what my peers think and I would stop obsessing about the likelihood of their gossiping about us and how messed up we must be for being in our lat 30s and still not having any kids.

I’ve had the hardest time with the social awkwardness that comes with miscarriage and infertility.  After trying for 3 years (yes, it will be 3 years in January), I would really rather just be out of the closet and stop having the damn elephant in the room every time I see them.  If I had a more personal 1-on-1 relationship with these couples I think it would make it much easier to bring up.  However, we just get together as couples and the tone is typically more joking as we talk about stuff and not about emotions.

This gang of friends are all people we met in grad school who have later turned into high tech superstars.  They tend to be folks with PhDs from Stanford in Engineering who are very ambitious and avoid showing any weakness or talk about their emotions.  People gloss over their problems and make light of them with sarcasm.  When we get together it’s more to talk about funny stuff that happened, the latest movies/video games or the next Facebook app or Google product.   The friends I have outside this group have been really supportive, for the most part.  It’s just this group that I can’t seem to get comfortable with.   I am sure it is related to my own insecurities about being with people who are uber-successful in their careers and seemingly on track in their lives.  I think I already had a chip for just having a Master’s degree (not a PhD) and being in a less prestigious/lower paid career (Education).  To some degree our differing status in parenting now seems to nail the coffin for me in our relationships.  It becomes yet another thing for me to feel inferior about and as a result, unimportant and left out.

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2 Responses to “Social Awkwardness with the Peers”

  1. bodegabliss December 19, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    I couldn’t agree more. I think social awkwardness is one of the hardest things to deal with when going through this. And maybe not everyone feels it, but man, I have been staying in every weekend for months because I don’t know who I am when I’m faced with people who are supposed to be my friends, but I just can’t feel comfortable around them. A few weeks ago I met up with everyone and a couple have kids and they talked the entire time about developmental stages as well, and all I could think was how far behind I am and also, how they probably didn’t even realize how hurtful it was for me to be sitting there listening. But I can’t blame them, either! It’s their life, so of course I don’t want to ask them to not talk about it, either. So it’s just yucky all around.

    I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. I am. I can only hope this goes away for us at some point. I am sure it will, it’s just hard to see right now. If you ever feel like being socially awkward with someone else socially awkward, maybe we can meet up for a totally awkward meeting. Ha!

    • starfishkittydreams December 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

      Thank you for your reply and the invite! I realize that it’s not just talking about kids that gets me, it’s also NOT talking about it. By holding back and saying nothing it feels like I am being intentionally excluded.
      I feel hurt either way. Aargh.

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