I wanted a baby so badly that it hurt. Like physically hurt. I had been married for a while, in a relationship with the same person for 4 years prior and had wanted a baby long before my husband decided he was ready. Once we were ready, I couldn’t wait to have that little one kicking around inside my stomach. I was so ready for crazy cravings and a cute little baby bump! Heck, I was even ready for the morning sickness, the discomfort, the body aches, I wanted it all, whatever it took to get me that baby. I couldn’t wait until I was in the hospital and heard baby scream for the first time. I dreamed of being surrounded by loved ones and watching the looks on their faces as they held my angel in their arms. I was so ready, at least I thought I was.
Month after month passed by and with every month came a negative pregnancy test. I became more serious and started pulling out all the stops from prenatals to ovulation apps and more. Still, nothing was growing in that uterus of mine but what was growing was my anxiety that maybe I was incapable of having my own children. With each passing month, I lost more sleep, became more desperate and lost more faith that my time would ever come. A year passed and still no baby and I was becoming bitter. I became sick at the idea of attending the baby showers of those I loved. I was sick of watching glowing moms-to-be complain about their discomfort and pain when I would give anything to feel those things if it meant having the same end result as they would soon have.
“You will be a great mother when your time comes because it will come. One way or another, it’ll come.”
I saw pregnancy for what it was, given that I wasn’t or hadn’t ever been pregnant. I understood that it was such a short time frame in the grand scheme of life and would soon yield the biggest blessing that those moms would ever know. Posts on Facebook asking if I “wanted to buy a grouchy three-year-old for a day” would upset me. Why would someone want to give their child away when others just wish they had a child to annoy them all day. Bitter was the best word to describe me and I never saw it changing.
Fast forward and I suppose you could surmise that I ended up getting pregnant. It was a boy, and I got everything I wanted. The morning sickness, the cravings the body aches and all. I heard my baby scream for the first time and tears rolled down my cheeks. At times I wanted to get rid of my child for a day so that I could regain my sanity and didn’t feel a lick of remorse for wanting to do so. I could never have been more thankful for the blessing that I wasn’t sure I was ever going to receive. Struggling to conceive a child was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced and caused me the greatest fear I could ever imagine but who would have known that a close second would be the exact opposite.
I was later divorced and when I met my husband my son had just turned 2. We had decided to get married and mutually agreed that we wanted to wait some time before having another child so we could have some time to ourselves when our son was with his dad. We dreamed of exploring and vacationing, sleeping in and staying out late, pancakes at midnight, road trips and camping every weekend, just the two of us. We had fast track plans to eliminate debt and purchase our first home together and I could not wait.
The time had come to discuss contraception and I had made an appointment with my doctor to talk options but couldn’t be fit in until after my wedding. Given how difficult it was for me to get pregnant, and how dumb I was for not considering the difference in partners I didn’t think it was a big deal. Wrong. So so wrong. Needless to say, I was pregnant before that appointment even arrived, less than a month later. I cried. Not happy tears like the first time but sad, sad tears. This was going to ruin our plans. We would never get that newlywed couple experience now, and I was devastated. The worst part wasn’t even that I was sad but that I now had to look my husband in the eye and explain that what we had been daydreaming of was no longer an option, at least not for awhile. We were frustrated at first but like everything else, a short adjustment period later and we were elated.
Let’s hit fast forward again, our youngest child who was born 2 months early and spent a significant amount of time in the NICU is now 2. We’ve spent the last two years trying to get back on our feet and each day feel the weight of the world on our shoulders as we scramble to make our lives better for us and our children. We’ve put having another child on the back burner until we feel we can responsibly take care of another body in our home and this time we did it right, with birth control. We had finally started to gain some traction. We were moving in the right direction financially, my husband was making significant progress with school and I had a solid routine being the mother of two while still managing to balance my passions in life and taking care of myself and then it happened. How it happened I don’t know, I mean I guess I do. My birth control was ineffective.
I remember the morning I found out like I’m still in it sometimes. I woke up needing to know instead of just scaring myself. I rushed my children out the door early so I could swing by the grocery store before taking our oldest to school. I bought the test and took it right there in the grocery store bathroom as to avoid being home with my husband just in case it was positive. Of course, it would be negative right? I was on birth control! This was just precautionary. Completely precautionary. However, when I saw the word “pregnant” come up on the test my blood ran cold. Getting from the store to drop my son off at school and back home is a complete blur. Sounds safe I know but I was still frozen in what felt like an absolute nightmare. How was this happening? The last time, that was my fault. This time, I was taking birth control, I hadn’t missed a pill, and no I hadn’t taken any antibiotics. I went back to my empty home with my little boy and collapsed to the floor. When my husband came home a short time later I looked him in the face and said: “I’m pregnant and I’m sorry.”
“I want to be able to offer the love and patience that every child deserves and considering that I already go to bed at night feeling like I failed my TWO kids, how can I find more patience with three?”
The days, weeks, months that followed were ones that would teach me that there is an opposite pain from the one of not being able to conceive a child. That pain is the one that comes from feeling guilty for wishing you weren’t pregnant with the one you were able to conceive. Depression found me when the realities of how this was going to change our lives set in. Announcing we were pregnant to our loved ones was more of a statement of disappointment often accompanied by tears than an “announcement.” My husband was in school full time and worked full time and I felt like a single mom as it was, adding another child to the mix seemed impossible and insane.
People tried to comfort us or sometimes chastise us by reminding us that there are those out there that only dream they would be pregnant and that we should be grateful. While I knew it was true and had been there myself it wasn’t helpful and mostly made it worse. Some tried to help by telling us that we created something beautiful and that my body was doing something amazing. Again, while true it didn’t seem to lift my spirits but rather made me revisit the feeling I got to know so well 5 years earlier when I wanted nothing more than to get pregnant.
I was bitter. I found myself looking at others who had their own homes, were going on vacations, drove nice cars and more and felt angry that I was now even further away from stability and comfort. I was bitter at those that slept until 9 because right when I felt like I just got back from the no sleep journey I was about to trek on sleeplessly for who knows how long, again. Not to mention the hiatus that being pregnant forces me to take from the gym which has always been important to me.
I’ve heard it all at this point, I’m selfish, I get it. However, along with all of my selfish desires comes the deep desire to be able to adequately provide for a child and there’s nothing worse than the fear of wondering every day how you’re going to do it. I want to be able to offer the love and patience that every child deserves and considering that I already go to bed at night feeling like I failed my TWO kids, how can I find more patience with three? So while there are the selfish desires, the ones that maybe aren’t that important to everyone, the house, a car that you can rely on, vacations and trips with family and friends, there are also fears inside your heart that no one quite understands. As time has gone on, just as it always does, we have been able to accept our situation and make the necessary adjustments.
Life does whatever it wants sometimes and often it feels like it’s working against you.
We’re having a little girl and while I may not be sure how I’m going to keep my sanity, where I’ll find more patience, where exactly she’s going to sleep or how it’s all going to work, I’m going to be a mommy to a little girl. While we still have our ups and downs, I can now see this for the blessing it is instead of the curse that it felt like.
So to the momma’s out there that haven’t had their chance yet, it’s okay I’ve been there. There is nothing wrong with you. I know it’s hard to see those pregnancy announcements on your Facebook feed. It’s hard looking at your home and wishing it didn’t seem so empty. I know it hurts your heart to walk past the baby aisle in the grocery store and that wondering what your future holds is overwhelming. You will be a great mother when your time comes because it will come. One way or another, it’ll come.
And to the Mommy’s that find themselves buried in guilt for wishing they weren’t pregnant, it’s okay I’ve been there. You’re not selfish, you just weren’t ready. I know it’s scary wondering how it’s all going to work out. It seems overwhelming going through such a big life change that you were actively trying to prevent. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to accept your situation before finding peace within it. Things will work out the way they are supposed to. One way or another, they will work out.
Life does whatever it wants sometimes and often it feels like it’s working against you. It’s said that everything in life has its opposite and this is no exception. Where you may be standing in the storm wishing for sunshine, someone else may be standing under the relentless heat of the sun wishing for the shade and comfort of the storm.