When I took the pregnancy test on Columbus Day, I was positive that it would come out negative. I stood in the bathroom, faithfully waiting for that one little line. As the unexpected plus sign appeared, I started shouting for my husband. We were totally taken by surprise with this pregnancy. Although we didn’t always use protection, we used it when I was ovulating, and, sometime in September I miscalculated.
We were in what many people would consider a “dream” situation for a first child. My husband and I had been married for over two years, we own the place where we live and we both have reasonably stable jobs. Despite all of this, I was devastated to find myself pregnant. I felt totally unprepared for this major life change — like I had been cheated out of the second half of my twenties, like I hadn’t gotten enough time alone with my husband. I was numb for about 36 hours after we found out.
Then one night, I started crying hysterically. Up until the positive test, I felt like my life had been on a planned, relatively controlled course. Sure, a few things were a surprise, such as the loss of a close family member and buying a house right before the market crashed. But this felt completely out of control! I was overwhelmed by the changes coming for my body, relationship, physical space, and I continued to feel that way for about the next six weeks. And, knowing so many people who had a hard time getting pregnant or went through miscarriage, I felt guilty for being so upset. I didn’t know if I would ever feel happy about the baby, and so I was afraid I would be a bad mom.
The good news is: it got better. My husband was excited about the pregnancy from the start, which helped. As we began to share our news with our families, friends and co-workers, seeing their excitement made me more positive, especially when people said, “You will be a great parent” (I had never considered this as a potential compliment I would receive). When my body started to change and grow and I could feel the baby moving, I started to love him. At 25 weeks pregnant, I am happy about the baby, and I look forward to his arrival.
Of course, things still aren’t perfect. I am terrified of what it will be like to work full-time with a baby, and am dreading the process of looking at daycare options. I periodically have a mini-meltdown about our amount of living space and storage. My husband does his best to deal with my hormone-driven emotions, and I make an effort to stay reasonable about what I am feeling. Mostly, I give myself permission to “feel my feelings” without judging myself too harshly. Remember, pregnancy is a time of enormous change, even if you were planning on it!
I wanted to write about my experience for the Offbeat community because when I was first looking for resources to deal with my feelings, I couldn’t find many. Everyone online seemed so happy and excited about their pregnancy, and seeing that always made me feel guiltier. If you find yourself in a similar situation, know this: it might take a while, and you might not ever feel totally ecstatic — and that is ok. Let yourself feel your feelings, accept them if you can, and try to move forward. You will probably find yourself feeling better before your baby arrives. As for after the baby comes, I will let you know!