I got pregnant with my first at a somewhat youngish age. It wasn't that shocking to be 20 and knocked up, at least, not as shocking as it would be to be 13 and knocked up.
Being puffy and bloated while obviously knocked up must've made me look a tad younger. At least, that's the story I'm sticking with, because it beats saying that "I looked like a pregnant leper."
Believe me, the two are NOT the same.
You can trust me. I'm a nurse. I know these things.
The first time I was deliberately isolated from The Mommies, I was 20, largely pregnant, and about to join a prenatal aquatics class. I foolishly swam up to the other women in the class and introduced myself.
Eyes a-rolling, they dutifully muttered their "hello"s before closing their Mom Circle to definitively exclude me.
Years later, I enrolled my now-4-year old son into an exclusive preschool (by "exclusive," I mean, of course, that it was ridiculously over-priced, not that it was any good), figuring a couple years and a wedding band slung 'round my finger meant I'd be In With the Moms now.
My husband and I happily walked into Back to School Night, cheerful smiles on our faces, as 30 pairs of eyes followed our path, glaring.
"Woah," I whispered to my husband. "What just happened?"
After an extremely long lecture about the school, we then broke into "volunteer groups." Except that they weren't actually "voluntary." Failing to "volunteer" meant you paid the school an extra couple hundred bucks. Per parent.
I signed up for some bullshit committee like "International Festival of Celebrating Nations," because it seemed to be the least amount of work. Anytime I can slack is a good time for me.
It was like being in that pool all over again, only with more clothes.
I walked up to the group, introduced myself with a firm handshake, and stood there like an asshole as the other "volunteers" quickly formed a circle. Around me.
I was left on the outside of that circle, too.
My husband didn't fare any better.
What the hell?
I know my sparkling personality isn't for *ahem* everyone now, but back then, I was just an eager kid.
I spent years feeling like I was the worst parent to disgracefully walk the planet. Otherwise, I'd be welcome into the Circle of Moms. RIGHT?
Time and perspective have led me to realize that I'm not actually the asshole here.