Four years ago today, I had temporarily given up on the idea of having a baby.
We had only been “trying” for three months, but in that short time, my brother and his wife had learned that the baby she was expecting was another girl, which he was bummed about because the doctor had told them at a previous ultrasound that it looked like baby would be a boy. They found out she was a girl on my birthday, and all I heard was his upset and my sister in law reluctantly talking about names. I was so irritated because I wanted it so badly! I was happy for them, of course, but I felt like starting my own family.
Then my sister found out she was expecting as well. She called me in a panic, angry at the timing. She had been having martial issues anyway, and it just wasn’t a good time for her. She complained about how sick she had already been and worried aloud about what her odds were of having gestational diabetes again. I had started my period that morning. I got off the phone and sobbed.
I was still very young, but that wasn’t consolation. My husband was not yet ready to take that step into an 18+ year commitment, but that only slowed me by six months before I was actively trying for a baby. I broke my own heart by testing earlier than I should, by expecting to conceive my first cycle off of birth control. I broke my spirit by comparing. I noticed every pregnant woman around me. I noticed every newborn, every nursing mother, and every adorable toddler.
After my third cycle, as I cried to my husband again, he gently suggested that we wait. “Let’s try when summer is over,” he urged. “If you still really want a baby, we’ll keep trying in the fall. We wanted to buy a house first. Let’s do that. It’s killing me to see you this upset.” I tearfully agreed. We decided to buy season tickets to Lagoon, the local amusement park, as soon as I started my next period and resumed birth control.
Four years ago today, I was standing next to a bonfire, laughing with friends and trying not to stand to close to any of the cigar smoke.
I was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, which I put down to PMS, because my period was due any time. I really wanted to drink, to be able to let go for even just a few hours, and the Malibu seemed to be calling to me. I ran to Walmart to grab chips and a soda, and grabbed a pregnancy test on a whim. I figured I might as well be able to prove to my husband that I was okay to drink.
Four years ago today, I saw those two pink lines appear in a Walmart bathroom stall-– a location chosen because there was no way I was actually pregnant. I snapped a picture with my husband’s phone since I had it with me, set it as the background, and drove excitedly back to the party.
I handed him the chips and the phone, and told him to take a look. He flipped it open and saw the picture of the test. One of our friends at the party understood before he did, and she ran to hug me.
Four years ago today, I got to witness my husband realizing that he was going to be a dad. He was more shocked than anything, but got more excited as the night went on. We celebrated with good friends, figured out what my “due date” would be, and kissed a lot.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my journey into birth work and postpartum depression advocacy started four years ago. It’s an anniversary of sorts. My daughter N wasn’t born until November, but I became a mother on March 23rd of 2012.
Four years ago today, my entire world view changed.
I realize now that motherhood is incredibly hard, lonely, and messy, that it isn’t just peacefully nursing a baby. Sometimes motherhood is a battle of the wits. Sometimes it’s trying to figure out how to hold it together when you are up at four o’clock in the morning, covered in vomit and trying to soothe a sick toddler. Motherhood is the strength to give birth, however that ends up happening, trusting your body, your provider, and usually both to get you through. It is being more vulnerable than you could ever imagine and stronger than you know.
What memories do you have from the day you found out you would be a mother or father? How has that changed your life?
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