Originally published 11/24/2014
Since I write what I know and I write what I’m going through, I may be writing more about pregnancy and babies and impending motherhood over the next few months than some people care for. For those that don’t know, I recently found out I was pregnant! Although these pregnancy topics may not appeal to everyone, I believe there are lessons we can all learn from most life processes. And since I tend to be an over-sharer, maybe someone can relate to what I’m going through. So here goes…
When I first found I was pregnant, I did not have the reaction I think most people have. Although my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant, it was still a very odd feeling to see two lines instead of only one on that little pink stick. Of course we wanted this, but I had a reaction much different than most people claim to have. Since I’m assuming I can’t be the only one in the entire world that felt this way, I’m writing about it.
I wasn’t one of those women who has known her whole life that she wanted to be a mother. Nor did I feel like I needed to be. Sure, I liked kids. I thought they were cute and funny, and I even had a few kids I really enjoyed being around. But I wasn’t one with an innate burning desire to be a mom. I truly believe that you create your own life and I have created an amazing life. I really like my husband. Beyond loving him (which I think is kind of a given being we’ve been together for over 10 years and married for 9), I really, really dig him. He’s my favorite person in the whole world and we have amazing adventures together. We travel the world. We read voraciously. We explore cities and countries and have fun the entire time. We have built a business which was emotionally, physically and financially draining at times, up to something that we are incredibly proud of. We have created an amazing life. I wasn’t sure if I needed a child to complete what we had. I already felt complete.
We had many long talks about what adding a child would do to our lives. In the end, we realized many things. Two of them were:
1. Living this carefree lifestyle is great right now but we recognized we may feel unfulfilled twenty years down the road if we don’t have a family of our own. I read a quote that said, “Think about what you want your Thanksgiving table to look like 20-30 years from now.” That really made me think. Both my husband and I come from close families and we realized that what we have with them, we want for ourselves as we get older.
2. I have encountered so many close-minded, bigoted, mean and unkind people in my life. By having my own child I could teach them love, kindness, inclusion and open-mindedness. By having a child that thinks in this manner, in some small way I hope to be able to negate the hate in the world. The only way to drown out the negative is to flood it with positive.
Fast-forward to an actual positive pregnancy test…
When I found out I was pregnant, I went through a very distinct grieving period. I began feeling sad for the life I was leaving behind. I felt sad for the freedom I was giving away. And I felt sad for the life that was no longer going to be my own.
I’m a very independent woman. My husband calls it ‘fiercely’ independent. I go out to eat by myself. I go to movies by myself. I have even gone away for weekends by myself. And I’ve done all of this since I’ve been married. I’ve learned to really love myself and I enjoy alone time. I enjoy this amazing, independent, free life I’ve created for myself. The idea that I’m going to be giving all of these things up not only felt foreign to me, but it felt threatening. There are so many women in the world who have tried in vain to have children and here I was, feeling a sense of dread about this thing that is supposed to be so amazing. Instead of allowing myself to go through these emotions, I began feeling guilty for even feeling them. I felt guilty for being able to get pregnant so quickly. I felt guilty for being sad. I even felt guilty for feeling guilty. It’s amazing how much we can beat ourselves up.
As I write this, I am 14 weeks pregnant. I have already gotten more unsolicited advice about this little peanut inside of me than I thought I would get in the first year. And although I know most of it is well meaning, those people that say, “Well, you’ll never travel again,” and “Don’t ever plan on buying another item for yourself now that all your money will go toward your kids”, are stoking this fire of insecurity.
I always imagined a baby would enhance this amazing life I had, not take away from it. I imagined my husband and I traveling the world with our kids in tow. I imagined showing our kids the tiny ethnic restaurants in the tucked away neighborhoods that we have discovered. I imagined them becoming a part of this incredible bubble we’ve created. According to a lot of well-meaning people, this will not happen. And although I know they aren’t right, there’s a part of me that’s scared they are.
Again, I believe we create the life we want. And maybe I’m being naive thinking that this is possible, but I refuse to believe that having a child will destroy what I’m proud of already creating. I fully understand I am giving up the life I knew as my own, but I think it isn’t for a life worse than the one I have. Instead I know that I am giving it up for a different, but equally fulfilling and fun life on the horizon. And just like many major changes that have come in my life, some expected and some unexpected, I know that his one will lead to an even more fantastic life than I could have previously imagined.
I’m hoping this post sheds light on something people don’t realize is happening. I hope by reading this, someone realizes it’s OK to not be filled with joy when they find out they’re pregnant. It’s OK and it doesn’t mean they (or I) will be a bad mother. I think if we can fully acknowledge these feelings and let ourselves go through them, it will actually make us better mothers. I want my child to understand there are no feelings that are invalid or wrong or not important. Those feelings are what make up this amazing and crazy life we live.
What’s making me smile right now: