Are you expecting an unexpected bundle of joy? Does every pregnancy or parenting book feel like a giant lie to you? Like you should be feeling this indescribable joy that you're not? It did to me. I have a theory that pregnancy book authors wait too long to write their books. They know the tremendous joy of motherhood—a joy so great it makes you forget the fear, the unknowing, the tossing and turning, the puking and the panic of learning there's a baby growing inside of you. Here is my experience with the feelings of unexpectedness, I hope you can relate, and breathe a deep sigh of relief that it will all be ok.
I took my pregnancy test to prove my sister-in-law, Beth, wrong. To prove I wasn’t pregnant. To rub it in that she is a crazy person. To make her feel bad because I was actually sick. So when I saw two lines, it was like I forgot how to count to two. One, two. One, two. (Looking at my fingers: one, two). Yup, that’s two lines. And two means positive.
Positive. Such an ironic word in that moment.
I opened the bathroom door and handed Beth the test. My arm was shaking so bad I couldn’t spare her having to hold the pee stick herself. She confirmed my fears with a simple, “Megs, you’re pregnant.”
*Open flood gates*
I cried (ok hysterically bawled) for so many reasons. I was shocked. I was scared. I wasconfused. I was mourning the death of my “plan”. I cried for all the moms whose lives have taken this unexpected turn. I cried because it “wasn’t possible”, we were “so careful” and “oh crap there was that one time”. I cried so hard, when I finally mustered up the courage to call my husband, he thought our dogs had died.
Speaking of my husband. While I’m gallivanting around with pregnancy tests, proving myself wrong to my sister-in-law, he is clueless in California on his first trip for a new job. A new job that requires him to travel for three weeks at a time, meaning he’s only home one week each month. Perfect timing!!!! Ugh.
After muttering the words “I think I’m pregnant,” through snot-ridden sobs over the phone, my husband, Donny, first felt relief that our furry friends made it and then asked, “you think?” I rambled on about how sorry I was and that the test “could have been wrong” and the “second line was pretty faint so maybe it was broken.” I am lucky I had a strong, steady force on the other end of the line. His words were simple, and wise:
It’s not your fault so don’t be sorry.
It WILL be ok.
There is time to figure it out.
You see, I never thought I would feel this unprepared. I was married, we both had jobs, we had a house, cars, 2 dogs and a fenced in backyard. For some naïve reason, I thought even if it ever accidentally happened, I would be “ready”. But the feeling in the pit of my stomach was certainly not how ready feels.
After two days using phrases like, “IF I am pregnant,” Beth finally said, “Not if, Megan, you are. There aren’t false positives.” That’s when it hit me. For the first time ever I felt completely out of control of my own life. There was a person growing inside me that I didn’t put there. (Ok, I did, but it didn’t feel that way.) I couldn’t see, touch, feel or hear her. An extremely faint blue line was the only proof of an existence I was supposed to be thrilled about.
Calling my mom went exactly as I anticipated. Her screeching excitement shot through the phone as she shrieked through tears of joy to my dad and sister, “MEGAN’S PREGNANT, MEGAN’S PREGNANT, guys did you hear me, MEGAN’S PREGNANT!!!” On the other end of the line, I sat in the Walgreen’s parking lot, a bottle of prenatal vitamins in my hand, eyesflooding with tears, wondering why everyone else felt the joy I couldn’t seem to find.
Calling the doctor was perhaps the most shocking of all. “When was your last period?” they asked. I had no clue. I never kept track. “Ok, well we normally wouldn’t have you come in until you’re 10-12 weeks.” Crap, more math. 10-12 weeks, there’s like four weeks in a month, so that’s like four months? No, three, well almost. Whatever…there’s a human growing inside me here!!! And you think I can wing it for the first three months??? Luckily, since I kept crappy track of my periods, I was able to go in for an early ultrasound to determine the date of conception. Turns out it really only takes once. Now that’s math I can do. I can even do it in Spanish—uno. (P.S. Soon you’ll be making your third grade math teacher proud, talking in weeks like it’s nobody’s business).
As we began to let more and more people in on our secret, each time I heard the words, “You must be so thrilled,” my stomach would sink all over again as I slapped on my best fake smile and convincing
nod. I could win an Emmy for this, I thought. I desperately wanted someone to tell me that it was ok—normal even—to feel less than thrilled. I needed to hear that I would be a great mom and that other women were once scared, confused and unthrilled, too. I was starting to feel like a terrible person.
I don’t want my unthrilledness to be confused with ungratefulness. I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant that there were women dealing with heartbreaking fertility struggles crying for the exact opposite reason I was. I knew there were women without supportive husbands or partners, jobs and great families feeling just how I was, only to a much greater degree. I was always thankful for everything I had, even my little faint blue line. I just wished someone told me:
It’s ok to be unthrilled. Pregnancy is a lot to take in and accept. Your faint blue line will be just as awesome and just as loved as all the thrilled-parent babies.