About six years ago, some friends and I went on a trip to the Outer Banks. One of our wild spring break activities was playing Loaded Questions (the board game), and one of these loaded questions was: “if you were in (? on?) the WWE, what would your fighting name be?” Because I love scones, and because everyone at this beach vacation knew I can get a little… tightly wound… I called myself The Psychotic Scone, and it stuck. “To scone” has become a transitive verb, meaning some combination of to skulk around being an introvert, to get worked up and obsessive about something a little odd. Nick and I are both big scones, and so we’ve been calling the baby “little scone.”
Anyway, now that we’ve told more people about the pregnancy, I am having a much easier time letting myself be excited instead of constantly worrying that someone is going to figure it out (why this was so stressful for me, I’m not sure, but I think it has something to do with my first true love being Holden Caulfield). I told the girls on the team. Their questions ranged from amazingly informed (“I’m going to buy you the cutest maternity outfits, because most of what’s out there is horrible,”) to hilariously teenaged (“who is going to run with me?” “will you name the baby after me?”) to shockingly oblivious (“is it already in there?” “how are you going to know when it’s getting born?”) to identical to my own reactions (“I googled ‘can pregnant women run’ just to be sure” and “you’ll have so many amazing babysitters!”). Word spread pretty quickly around school and when one of Nick and my mutual students interrupted my class to shout “congratulations!” through the door, I decided to just announce it to my class.
I also decided to tell my writing group. The group is all women (coincidentally) and I’ve been meeting with them every other Monday for three years. Many of them have met for years longer. I’m the youngest by about 20 years, but it’s one of the communities in my life that I value most. Often I leave class so wired that even after the hour drive home, I have trouble sleeping. This Monday was our last meeting of the spring (we break for summer), and at the end of the evening, once the writing had been critiqued, I decided to share my news. Even he women who are usually more reserved responded with such warmth and happiness. I felt free for the first time to honestly throw around some of the ideas I’ve been having about balancing my career and motherhood, and to voice some of the anxieties I have about what role writing will play going forward. I had been thinking that I might not chose to join the group for the fall session: the long drive, the windy backroads, being head coach in cross country along with being 7-9 months pregnant during the session just seemed a bit much. After Monday, though, I decided that I will sign up. If I miss some (or many) sessions, that’s okay. If I don’t do much revising, or if I need to leave early some nights, that’s okay. I want to be sure that I’m part of this community for a long time.
Maybe part of what has been hard about not telling anyone was that a lot of the community associated with being a mom is accessible only when you are one. Yesterday I got a message from the wife of a colleague inviting me to her prenatal yoga class, explaining that this is how she met many of her mom friends in the area. Not many of my close friends have children yet, and many of them don’t plan to at all. Because of this, there’s not a lot of talking about motherhood, even from the friends who do already have children. Just being open about the fact that I’m pregnant seems to have revealed both a support system of people I already know and access to support and a community of women in general.