Everyone warned me that being on maternity leave with a newborn might give me cabin fever. The sleep deprivation combined with the solitude has lead many a new mommy down a dark path. But none of these folks with their wise words of warning and advice on how to combat the Shining like conditions of new motherhood knew my big secret...I don't like people.
Okay that is kind of a strong statement. I like people in theory. But actually being in the room with them and needing to interact with them, that makes me a little nuts. What's really crazy is that I make my living as an actor, director, and professor of theatre. This means my job not only requires me to interact with people, but I have chosen an art form that is collaborative in nature and absolutely requires people (an audience) to exist. I think I have most people fooled. Sure, I am a little awkward in social situations, but I have a developed a persona that I think most people find endearing rather than alienating. I speak my mind, I reach out to others, and I am what many would call a "team player". But it is EXHAUSTING.
It takes so much energy to wake up and promptly tear down the walls that naturally surround me every morning so that I can be a functioning member of society. So imagine my delight in discovering that the first few months after I have the baby, I am given permission to become a recluse. The people I am supposed to spend time with are my husband, who I married precisely because he was one of the few people in the world who is easy for me to be with and my baby, who is pretty darn cute and doesn't need anything more than what I can easily provide- food, cleanliness and warmth. Sure people offer to visit, but I am not only allowed to say no without guilt, but I am expected to say no! Phone rings and I don't get it? No problem. Send me an e-mail and I don't respond? "Don't worry, we understand!"
So thanks for all the advice and warning, but I am happy as clam living the shut in's dream.
Thank you for giving me a husband, a son and 2 dogs who make it easy to just be.
Please help me to remember that the energy it takes to be with the others is often worth the expense and give me the strength to one day soon dip my toe back into the world beyond my front door.