Seven days ago, I found out I was pregnant.
It had been six weeks since my last period and a part of me knew, when I bought the test, that it would come back positive.
My husband paused the video game he was playing when I walked into the room. I told him it was positive, then we both sat on the couch and stared straight ahead. None of us knew quite what to say.
This was not a surprise pregnancy. I’m a thirty-five year old woman with a steady career in San Francisco, that I had built over the last decade. I work with my husband and, together, we created a nice life for the two of us. We decided that if ever there was a time to get pregnant, it would be now. I went off the pill and for seven months, we left it up to chance. If I got pregnant, then we would have a baby. If I didn’t, we would continue our lives as normal.
We’re both educated individuals. We know what happens when you have unprotected sex, yet getting something that we both wanted, never felt so horrible.
We didn’t talk about the pregnancy until the next day. We both pretended that maybe the test was wrong, maybe since we didn’t take it first thing in the morning, it didn’t count.
Maybe our lives weren’t about to completely change.
But the days went by and suddenly the realization started to sink in.
We’re going to have a baby.
Since that realization, I’ve done nothing but cry.
The moments hit me when I least expect it, like brushing my teeth in the morning or grabbing a snack at work.
And I’m not talking about happy tears streaming down my smiling face. No, these are crocodile tears, the kind I can’t seem to wipe away fast enough before more flood my eyes.
I needed to talk to someone about this. I needed someone to tell me everything was going to be okay.
I called my mom, thinking she would know what to say.
“Are you so excited?” was the first thing she asked me.
I broke down in tears, covering the bottom part of my phone so she couldn’t hear the sobs.
No, I’m not excited. I’m as far from that place as humanly possible.
I’m scared. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m everything but excited.
The guilt started to hit me. Mothers do not feel sad when they find out they’re pregnant. Women in the movies cry from happiness and get swung around by their partners. They can’t wait to tell everyone. They have gender reveals and special Pintrest-style announcements.
The thought of doing any of that right now makes me freak out even more.
What’s wrong with me? Does this mean I’m not going to be a good mother? Does this mean I shouldn’t have it? I must be the only woman in the world who’s ever been disappointed by a planned pregnancy.
I told myself to stay away from the Internet. I told myself the words on the screen couldn’t be trusted but still the allure of empathy lured me in. I didn’t even know what to type into Google so I wrote what was in my heart.
“I just found out I’m pregnant and I’m not excited.”
Pages and pages of articles from all different mom blogs popped up and I clicked on the first one that I saw. In a Yahoo answers type post, one woman explained how she had spent her whole life working on herself and her career. She loved her life. She loved the time she spent with her husband. She didn’t feel like something was missing. Despite all that, she decided, what my husband and I had decided, to leave it up to the universe. She stopped taking the pill and recently found out she was pregnant.
“I’m not excited. I don’t know if I want this anymore. How can I bring a child into the world when I feel this way?”
The weight on my shoulders lifted. I found a sister for my shame. I found someone like me, someone who loved their childless life, someone with big dreams and goals and someone who also was sad that they were pregnant.
I scrolled to the comments, steeling myself for the rush of blame or even anger directed towards this woman. Some women spent years trying to get pregnant, who was this woman to complain? Some women have had multiple miscarriages, how dare this women say she doesn’t know if she wants a child?
That’s not what I found.
What I found were the most loving and compassionate responses.
One came from a woman who desperately wanted children. She had gone through several miscarriages and just made it out of the “danger zone.” She explained how she was hit with an overwhelming sadness and a guilt when she realized she would go to term with her baby.
Another explained how she went through the same thing when she was pregnant with her first child. She talked about going through a mourning period. She grieved for the life she was currently living, knowing that from that day forward, her life would be different.
Okay, sure, I thought to myself. They feel like me, but they’re just some random women on the Internet. They could be sociopaths living in a rat-invested house, using the last bit of their money to answer strangers questions on the Internet while a hungry child wailed in the background.
They might not be like me.
I didn’t want to tell anyone else. Talking to my mom sent me into a tail spin that took me a full 24-hours to recover but I needed to know. I texted one of my good friends who has a child.
“I’m not ready for this to be public yet but I’m pregnant and I’m freaking out. Please tell me that’s normal” I said.
The phone rang a second later.
The first thing she said wasn’t congratulations. The first thing she said was, “It’s totally normal.”
I released a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
She went on to explain that when she found out, she waited a full day to even tell her husband. Yes, they were trying for a child and, yes, they were in a good place in their lives, but still she wasn’t overjoyed.
She cried. She cursed. She thought her life was over.
She went on to say that it wasn’t until she heard her daughter’s heart beat for the first time that she actually started feeling something other than despair.
When we got off the phone, I cried some more, but this time there was a bit of relief mixed in with the sadness.
I’m not alone. This is normal.
It’s something I’m going to have to repeat to myself over and over again for the next eight months. It’s something my friends are going to have to drill into my head. It’s something I’m sure I will look up on the internet a few more hundred times.
But the fact remains.
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