In September, I went into my doctor’s offices for a routine pap smear and got some very unexpected news: I was pregnant.
I guess it wasn’t totally unexpected. After meeting my (absolutely adorable) newborn niece in August, my husband and I decided we’d stop actively avoiding pregnancy and “see what happens.” I thought it would take a few months at the very least, but apparently the first time was a charm for us.
In the doctor’s office, I was shocked but excited. I was still excited when I went home and shared the news with my husband. But later that night, when the news really had time to sink in, I cried for a full half hour. Had I just made a huge, life-altering mistake that I would regret forever?
You see, I had spent the last 20 years of my life fearing this very moment. Growing up in the US, pregnancy was the primary scare tactic used to promote the abstinence only sex education I received. As teenagers and young adults, we are told by our parents, teachers, and even the entertainment industry, that pregnancy will destroy our bodies, our dreams, our social lives, and our futures.
I believed all of that. And I also doubted that I’d ever have what it takes to raise a child. In my younger years, it was the lack of financial stability and a real career (with health insurance!) that made me feel unprepared. As I sorted those things out, I started to doubt my basic worthiness to be a mother. I had the most wonderful mom (by the way…happy birthday, mom!)…would I ever be able to live up to the example she set? And didn’t I have too many issues of my own to sort out before bringing someone else into the world?
Even though I am a competent and capable adult, with the stability generally considered necessary to raise a child, it was still incredibly hard to reconcile my new situation with all of those years of programming and self-doubt. To be totally honest, I still struggle with it a bit, even at 16 weeks into my pregnancy. In those early days, learning that I was pregnant felt like a massive failure…and also a bit like a death sentence. My life would never be the same, and I liked my life well enough. Would I spend the rest of my life mourning this relatively carefree and selfish existence?
Fortunately, since then, I’ve done some reading and reflecting. I am feeling more prepared for and excited about this new stage of life. Day by day, I am feeling more and more connected to the little human growing in my uterus. I’m spending less time imagining all of the worst case scenarios and more time imagining all of the fun moments and amazing experiences I’ll get to share with my future daughter. I’m still terrified about how good I’ll actually be at this parenting thing, but…I think that might be a good sign?
This is my first song recommendation for you, Kiddo. There will be plenty more to come.
(Song recommendation by Samantha Lamph/Len)