That January day we found out I was pregnant seems like both yesterday and a lifetime ago. Parts of that day and the emotions are so vivid, and others are already escaping me. I remember the fear, the doubt, the denial. I’ve only admitted this a handful of times, but I didn’t want to be pregnant. Admitting that makes me feel so guilty because there are so many women out there who would have traded places with me in a second.
But at that point, instead of being grateful, I was just scared and put off by the timing. Brandon and I had gotten engaged not even two days earlier and we were supposed to be thinking about a wedding. After years of battling it, I had finally made peace with my body. I was in a good place career and finance-wise. I was terrified of what a baby meant for all those aspects of life.
The truth is that kids were always a someday plan, not an immediate one. While I was relieved I was able to get pregnant, I was not ready to be. I felt like something had taken over my body without my permission and I was being pulled along for the ride with no say. I was sure the next nine months were going to be awful.
And sure, parts have been. But I have to admit that pregnancy has surprised me. I was pretty sure the first trimester sickness was going to kill me, but it didn’t. It passed with time. My body gradually began to change in all the expected ways. But rather than feel disconnected to it, I felt in tune with it. I listened to what it needed while making sure to still care for it by working out and eating as well as I could manage.
As the first trimester passed, I begrudgingly admitted to myself that I was actually enjoying being pregnant. There’s something about it that makes you feel powerful and capable and beautiful, especially the first time through. Everything is new and eye-opening.
However, despite feeling this way 90 percent of the time, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had rough days. There have been times I have looked in the mirror and felt so far away from the person I was pre-pregnancy. There have been many moments I’ve been overcome with discouragement after attempting and failing something I could easily do pre-pregnancy. There have been days that I’ve felt empty and hopeless about ever being that version of myself again.
But I think what I’ve finally come to realize and accept is that I won’t ever be that version of myself again. That changed the minute I laid eyes on that positive test. The second I did, I knew there would never be going back to the way things were or the way I was, whether the pregnancy lasted or not. I was changed in that moment and knew life would never look quite the same as it had before those two lines.
Now, the fact that I am mere weeks away from holding this little one that’s been growing inside me for months is starting to hit me hard. While I’m so excited to finally lay eyes on his little face, I’m also terrified.
I’m scared of labor, which hadn’t been the case prior to finding out I’d need to be induced. I’m terrified that when he’s finally on this side, I won’t feel the way the movies and books indicate. I’m afraid that nothing about it will come naturally, that I won’t feel like I was meant to be a mother.
And if I’m being completely honest, I’m petrified about the postpartum period. For the most part, I’ve accepted my body in pregnancy as beautiful and capable. But I’m so scared that as soon as there isn’t a little life in there, I will return to viewing it negatively for not immediately being what it was prior to pregnancy, despite my best efforts. I’m scared that maternity leave will leave me feeling isolated and depressed.
In fact, I’ve been so scared of these things that I haven’t let myself consider that fact that it could be really, really good. Motherhood could come naturally. I could slide back into a fitness routine easily after recovering. I could avoid depression altogether.
And best of all, I could look at this little boy’s face the minute he’s here and never, ever miss the pre-him version of myself.
I know these next few weeks are bound to be emotional and draining, in all the good and bad ways. But I think I’ve finally realized that there’s something to be said for making it this far in terms of my mindset from January to now.
Just as past events in my life have, this unexpected pregnancy has proven time and time again to be a gift that I didn’t know I wanted. And I have no doubt this little boy will be too, with or without the potentially adjustments and challenges.