How to fight loneliness (and the Prince is dead)

A few weeks ago my best friend and I were talking about loneliness and all of its forms. The thing we agreed on most was that loneliness has bugger all to do with being alone. One very literal idea of loneliness definitely does entail social isolation, I’m not denying that, but there’s just as much chance you’ll feel totally lonely when you are surrounded by wonderful people. Pregnancy, for me, has been one of those times. Unless you’re lucky enough to live the sorority sister lifestyle where you all whip the rubbers off at the same time and breed like bunnies in spring (I say lucky… that actually sounds well gross), you’ve not always got many people around you experiencing the same thing. I currently have one pregnant friend who I don’t know very well and who lives in a different city. She’s ace and we have weekly message catch ups on the lows (I’d say highs & lows but who the hell is messaging people to tell them how good they feel?) but in reality my day to day has been pretty difficult.  I’ve been questioning everything so regularly I’ve felt like we can’t possibly be doing the right thing because if that’s the case why would I have so much doubt? Well to be fair to the whole situation it’s not been an easy ride, and I think I need to give myself credit for how positive I have been a lot of the time. I’m predisposed to the blues, I get very introverted and sad beyond redemption a few times a year. It used to be much more often but I sorted my life out quite considerably and the feeling doesn’t occur nearly as much. Pregnant me, with PUPPP, on steroids isn’t as balanced, however.

I know what I need to do to help get myself back on track but when you’re in the pits of a major low if often feels like the light will never seep through and you mentally give up for a day or so. Sometimes it’s even briefer than that, but it can feel like a lifetime. Firstly, I need to bite the bullet and get involved with some pregnancy classes. NCT or hypnobirth or some such – one of these things that seem like a middleclass obligation (and a flippin rip off) if you ask me, but I’ve heard they’re really good for meeting other women/couples and sharing experiences, thusly fighting off this isolated feeling. So we’ll probably do it. There’s a ton of them out there and I’m nervous about picking the right one. I want to meet women who inspire me and make pregnancy and children seem cool and fun but at the same time don’t want the experience to be free from humility and like those god awful Instagram accounts with #amazingmama under countless pictures of women who have managed to keep breastfeeding their kids until they’re 12 whilst sporting a trendy hair do. Those women won’t like me.

Secondly I need to Stop Eating So Much. I’ve never comfort eaten like this in my life. I’m not saying I haven’t shotgunned a tub of Hagen Daaz in a teary haze before, lord knows I have. But I’m on a new level of snack attack at the moment and it’s not good. I’m not the most aesthetically minded person but I do like to be fit and not feel totally jelloid. It’s just not good for your mental health, either, shovelling down the salt and sugar like it’s going out of fashion. So I’m going to rein that in and find myself somewhere between my current, over-indulgent gluttonous state and the green juice drinking, holier-than-thou, Instagram health freak I could never be. I think it’s called ‘normal’.

Finally I need to make plans and stop having silly episodes of seeing this as a prison sentence. It’s not. I mean it will be if I continue to eat at this rate, you’ll need a crane to get me to the birth centre. But actually, I have a wonderful partner who tells me to go ahead, have a glass of wine/go to the gig/dance the night away/book a sexy holiday, and when I simply feel like I can’t move for fatigue and hormones he strokes my back, does silly voices and makes Masterchef and a Hello Fresh seem more fun than a sky dive with dolphins. There really isn’t anything you can now never ever do when you start a family. If you want to move to Borneo and take care of orangutans you’ll just have to do it with a baby in tow. I can’t think of a cooler bunch to start them off on the socialisation process, actually.

Another set back to my emotions this week was the death of Prince, one of my favourite artists ever in the world, proved by the number of times my friends/partners have uttered the words ‘you’d be a terrible DJ, you’d just play Prince’ or ‘no the headliner isn’t going to be Prince, Charlie’ or ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about you literally only listen to Prince’. Sometimes Prince can be subbed out for Blur in those conversations and now you’re getting an idea of my listening habits. A lot of the time it’s actually just Radio 4 but the less said about that the better.

I’ve mourned two of my favourite artists of all time since being pregnant, and this means I’ve not been able to get shitfaced and scream Bowie/Prince songs at the top of my lungs to commemorate. That’s been hard. It’s funny the things that crop up when you’re pregnant that make you doubt the whole experience. The death of my musical heroes, years before their time, making me ponder the futility of life wasn’t one I’d prepped for. I am just so glad I got to see Prince live, at one of the most fun and silly gigs of my entire life, in a field in Kent, cocktailed off my rocker and dancing non-stop through-out, on the coach home, until I reached my bed. He was incredible. When he was told he needed to stop playing because he’d run over-time his response was ‘A party don’t stop when there’s a curfew, a party stop when e’ryone fall asleep!’ and on he kept rocking. Replace the word ‘curfew’ with the word ‘baby’ and you have my new mantra for motherhood. To be honest I’m not that good at partying anyway. My biggest bawl yet was when I was thinking about being too big and off balance to rock climb on the beach in Sussex this summer.

I need to get a grip.

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