Wednesday, April 17, 2013

left out

A month ago or so I was in a room full of women, some of whom I knew well, some of whom were friends of people I know well. It was an open house for a product line and was very casual - a number of brands were being represented and I was happy enough to show up to support people. A fair chunk of extended family was there, too, so it was also definitely a social event as well.

After the first half hour or so, though, the conversation got a little bit stuck in a loop. Someone brought up their child and the next thing you knew, for the next three hours, the conversation was almost exclusively on children and being pregnant, with slight interjects about husbands not doing their share around the house. Granted there was also a heavily pregnant lady in the room as well as a brand new momma, so of course babies would come up. But everytime the subject changed it would inevitably spin back to the conversation of children

There was something strange and uncomfortable about the whole matter. These are smart, fun, engaging women. Women who are successful in their careers - there was a banker, entrepreneurs, a nurse. Women who have brains and have lives outside of just their babies. And yet the default conversation was entirely based around current and future children, interspersed with a whole lot of "you'll sees" for the few of us who didn't have children. Like I wasn't part of the club, and wouldn't be able to fully participate in the lady talk until I cross that boundary and my opinion is somehow less valid for not being there.

It's not to say that our families shouldn't be important, because they are huge. But really? Isn't there more to us? What's up with this idea that the defining moment of our lives is our reproductive success? I feel like we should have more to talk about than just babies. I mean yes, babies, interesting and engaging and huge accomplishments but there has to be more to us.

Where was the talk about the cool hobby projects that people were into? The fact that their careers were fulfilling or engaging or even just that they enjoy leaving the house to work? Wasn't there even one single other subject that these women could have used to relate to each other than just babies?

The whole time I felt incredibly isolated. Because I can't just jump into the baby conversation without revealing some very hard things, and so if I don't know the people involved in the conversation I'm probably not going to. I don't need to turn everything into a woe is me tale. It made me angry though, and sad, to suddenly be left out of the conversation just because I haven't been able to walk that path yet.

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, I totally get you. It happened to me a few months ago, at a birthday party (of an adult nonetheless) and I felt like I was an alien creature or something.

    The one interesting girl with whom I ended up talking to was the single one, looking forward to her next adventure volunteering in some charity project abroad and talking about boys the way you do when you don't know what your life will end up looking like. (Not that I know either).

    And I love babies, and I want one with all of my soul and body, but the isolation, and that feeling of... "why can't we talk about something else" was weird. Even playing with the kids was more interesting, they are still interested in the World, they're busy discovering it.

    But for me facebook is even worse and sometimes I seriously consider hiding people... the latest one is a photographer friend who seems to only take pregnancy photoshoots. (Apparently engagement sessions are out!).

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    1. It's a strange perspective we have access to. I hope that one day if and when circumstances change, that it reminds me to be more open and inclusive and remember that there are other topics in the world than children.

      Facebook is definitely a hard one. I had about half a dozen friends (the mostly acquaintances or friends I'm not as close to) who were due when I would have been, and a number of them did get hidden based on how much information they broadcast.

      The pregnancy photoshoots would be hard to handle. :S

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