This evening my husband, Charlie, and I went out to get a bite to eat. In the midst of dinner, my husband asked if I would like to attend a work party tomorrow. It will be the first one since Charlie was born. I could not help but feel intimidated.
A Northern Virginia office party? That was part of our former life. I do not fit in there anymore. My confidence has somewhat disappeared along with many other things due to Charlie’s early arrival.
For those of you unfamiliar with the DC metro area, it is the land of over achievers. Competition is fierce, having the best and newest of anything is important, near perfection is expected, and insanely overly busy schedules are sources of pride.
I am not sure if I ever really fit in when we lived there. But, I managed about somehow. After Charlie came, I felt alien to my surroundings. Maybe, that was a factor in our decision to move away.
The party tomorrow intimidates me on many levels. First, my appearance will be rather lacking. I have not been clothes shopping since prior to Charlie’s birth. Missing out on the third trimester did not spare my hips from spreading. As a result, none of my decent clothes really fit anymore. My hair is shaggy as I attempt to grow it out. Point blank, I kind of look like I live in the mountains. 🙂
Normally, I would not care about such things. However, I feel in situations such as these it marks me as wounded prey.
Additionally, I dread hearing the usual questions and comments. I worry that I will not be able to relate to conversations about day care and top private school waiting lists. There is the envy and jealousy that nips at me when I hear other parents complain about ordinary parenting stuff. I do not want to have to fight back anger when other parents tell me how they did everything right with the unspoken assumption that I had to have done something wrong to cause a micro preemie birth.
I have only recently dared to tip toe back out in to the world. I am not sure that I am ready for something like this.
Furthermore, I am afraid of embarrassing my husband with my social awkwardness. I am fretful of stirring up painful emotions that have only started to heal. I am anxious that I will realize that I really am as disconnected from the rest of society as I feel at times. I am worried the evening will be an aching reminder of the lost life we planned.
Despite all of my apprehension, I have decided to go. Through all the ROP exams, synagis injections, and ng tube placements, I asked Charlie to be brave. If she can do that, I can attend a mere party. It certainly is not one of those few things in life that are a matter of life and death. At most, it will sting… but my ego will recover.
Besides, it is time that I take back some of the things I lost to having a premature birth. My confidence is a good place to start. Who knows? I may even have a good time tomorrow evening.
Fingers crossed, here goes nothing…