It was 2:30 in the morning a couple months ago. I had been tossing and turning for a couple hours thinking about the possibility that I had been considering the last day or so. And I couldn’t get comfortable because, well, I was feeling really uncomfortable. The thoughts kept coming… Could I be? No, I can’t be. My period is only a day or two late, and it’s never really that regular anyway… But things are never sore when it’s that time of month… We are done. It wasn’t happening when we wanted it to, so we are done. Our boys are older and more independent, so we decided we are done. I don’t want to be pregnant. At all…But we hadn’t yet made any permanent move, so… yep, I could be. I’ll take a test in the morning.
A few minutes later: Screw it; it is morning. I’ll have an answer, then maybe I can sleep. Or at least have time to process it before work in the morning. So I got up and went to the bathroom where I knew there was a test or two in the closet from earlier this year when we weren’t done.
I followed the directions of the test and put it down on the counter and watched with dread. Almost instantly two pink lines appeared. Crap. I buried my face in my hands and cursed in my head. I was angry. Actually angry. So I walked out of the bathroom, turned the hall light on to wake up my husband, who was startled, and he asked, “What are you doing?” I tossed the positive pregnancy test at him. Then I went back in the bathroom and started to cry.
Moments later, my husband came in the bathroom to comfort me. He got me to come back to bed and tried to reassure me.
“It’s a good thing,” he said. No, it’s not. We were done. I shut down the possibility in my mind already. I moved on to planning my life and our life around having two children. We decided it would be easier this way.
“We were just trying to have another baby just a few months ago. It’s just a little later than we expected.” A little later? Our youngest will almost be 4. That time has passed. I don’t want to be pregnant NOW. I wanted to be pregnant THEN.
We had tried for a few months. I had been planning it for months, hoping for good teacher maternity leave timing (you know, so maternity leave would lead into summer break). Our first two (well, actually, three) pregnancies had come pretty easily, so I figured if I planned and timed everything right, we could make it happen in at least a few months. A few months came and went with nothing to show for it. So we got frustrated and decided to give it a rest. And then everyone around me seemed to be announcing their own pregnancy and although I was happy for my friends, I couldn’t help the thoughts: I wanted to be pregnant now too. And at times, the sadness overwhelmed me. But the timing no longer seemed right, so we waited until it did again. Mostly we just decided if it happened, it happened. If it didn’t, it didn’t.
Then we started to second guess this decision as our boys seemed to be hitting a stage of “Let’s see how much we can irritate our parents.” (I know, it’s a goal for children that never really goes away). We were getting busier with the oldest now in kindergarten and participating in extracurricular activities. Plus, the oldest could get up on the weekends and turn the TV on so they could watch some cartoons, while the hubby and I continued to rest. I mean, this seemed like a major important milestone. So we decided. Two kids doesn’t seem so bad after all. We discussed calling for an appointment for the big V, but never actually made that call.
So here we are. A few weeks later, and I just can’t make myself be happy about it. Not yet. My husband is happy about it, and I’m sure that time will come for me when we have the first ultrasound or hear the heartbeat. Maybe before, but I’m just not there yet.
Which makes me feel so guilty and awful. I shouldn’t feel this way. I should feel happy about this baby. I really wouldn’t want my baby to feel that it was unwanted. Because I know the time will come when I want this. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it right now.
And I feel guilty for feeling this way because I know there are people reading this, even friends of mine, who would take my place in a second because they are trying so hard and want to be pregnant more than anything, and here I am, upset that I am. For that I am sorry. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, but I know that it might. It wasn’t that long ago that I was feeling sad knowing friends were pregnant when I wanted to be.
Fast forward to right now. I’ve seen the baby on the ultrasound and heard the heartbeat. We’ve told a few people who seem to be more excited about it than I am, but it helps me a little. I haven’t quite felt like telling the world just yet (of course by the time this post goes public, the world will know!), but we did decide to tell the boys who are very excited, which also means soon everyone will know because the oldest already spilled the beans to his teacher and class. The boys talk about the baby and ask questions, like where is the baby going to sit in the car (we started discussing a new car) and what we will name the baby (we let them start sharing names–the oldest has picked several names of WWE wrestlers). The oldest has come to hug me and say congratulations a couple times a day. It’s cute. All of this has gotten me feeling better, and feeling less sick at this point probably helps too. Can I say that I am thrilled about all this yet? No, not yet. I know that I’ll get there. Maybe it won’t be until I give birth, but I’ll get there.
I share this story because I know that I’m not the first woman to experience a surprise pregnancy, considering the CDC reports that nearly 50% of pregnancies are unintended. And I know I am not alone in my initial shock and unhappiness. Pregnancy can include a roller coaster of emotions even when it is planned. But the emotional roller coaster that I am sure many of these women feel with an unintended pregnancy is simply rarely talked about. We keep our emotions to ourselves, making us feel more alone and isolated instead of sharing our feelings to maybe talk through them. We are afraid that people will make us out to be bad mothers because how dare we ever feel anything but joy and happiness related to our pregnancies and children? Sure, maybe a couple people think something like that, but I really don’t think most people are. And if they are, so be it. No one should have to feel bad about how they feel. A friend of mine told me that it was okay to be unhappy about it and that pregnancy is really the mother’s burden to bear, and she’s right. Our bodies go through a lot that can be a challenge in and of itself that our spouse just can’t quite understand, and adding the unexpectedness can send a shock to the system. It is okay to be unhappy, just like it’s okay to be happy. Life plans may need to be altered and changes will take effect. We need to try to not bottle everything up. It also won’t be healthy for you or your baby. If talking to a friend about your feelings makes you uncomfortable because you don’t want to be judged for your feelings, consider seeking professional help so that you can talk through the emotions. Talk to your doctor or midwife to share your concerns. But know you aren’t alone.
I’ve read some comments on pages saying, “You won’t regret the children you have; only the ones you don’t.” I know in the end that will be true. I am sure I will be perfectly happy with our surprise baby when I’m holding that tiny baby in my arms (a baby that I really hope is no bigger than my other 8.5-9 pound babies!). A baby that will indeed complete our family. But for now, I am okay knowing that I need the time to come to peace with the things that I cannot change and know that my husband will be right (just this once) and it will be a good thing.