Identity and Being Part of a Club

With my due date around the corner, this will probably be my last post as a pregnant woman. I’ve just become used to being a part of this club and have really loved the experience of being pregnant, connecting with other moms and their experiences, the knowing looks and even the advice from random strangers in the street. Thinking about the next club I will be a part of, the mom club, has got me thinking about identity and how our circumstances and shared experiences with peers shape that identity. I once heard it said that the world of adults is separated by those who have kids and those who don’t, and I have certainly never crossed such a huge threshold before in my life as the one I am about to cross—from child to parent.

The only other club I have been a part of the longest is the smokers club. I was a smoker for 23 years and this pregnancy has been my limbo between that and the former-smokers club member status that I guess I feel I have yet to earn (until I prove to myself that I can keep it up after I am no longer pregnant). I’ve been in the waiting room, so to speak, in between 2 parties, reflecting on what it means to leave the smokers club. I am blessed by the fact that the 2 or 3 main smokers in my life have quit smoking in the past few years, and have realized during my pregnancy that many of the social smoker friends I have mostly only smoked when with me, something I did not pick up on or take responsibility for before. I was the bad influence then and now. When I started at 12 (my friends who I started smoking with did not have smoking parents and the cigarettes we stole and first smoked came from my dad), and my current smoking girlfriends mostly smoked when with me. I was the leader in that bad habit and am now the follower catching up with the changes they’ve implemented in their lives. But strip away all the guilt around that and I am left with the positive fact that I do have the support of the same loving faces of my peers, different club.

Some groups we choose to be a part of, others we fall into because of pressures and surroundings (in my case growing up in a smoking house where smoking was normalized and access to cigarettes came easy), and others are less intentional. We end up bonding with people because we’ve worked with them for years, or been a part of a mommy’s group or have similar life circumstances. Maybe the fact that I am facing such a big club change with the whole daughter to mother transition it will make it easier to also redefine myself as the non-smoker I never thought I could be. I want to be a part of that club and wear that membership with pride.

I will keep you posted on how my struggle changes after my baby is born.