I’ve always been a girl-girl and being a mom has always been THE thing I wanted. Having grown up with a young, single mom I knew that wasn’t the path I wanted (she didn’t want that for me either). Consequently, I pushed aside all the ‘I want a baby feelings’ to wait until the time was right.
Well the older you get the more you realize there is never a ‘right time’. People tell you this and – well, I’m no fool, I listen to advice.
Having a baby now wasn’t part of our plan. 2017 was the plan. We even had a chain up in our room as a countdown to TRYING for a baby NEXT year. Well you can’t plan for everything.
With that in mind we DID plan for this. We actively decided to try and it did not take long (consequently, it still feels very unexpected). Circumstances in life made it feel like perfect timing in the moment. In fact, I literally felt happier than I ever have the night we decided we were going to start a family. I felt like I had finally made it to that point in life I had been waiting so patiently for (and I am NOT a patient person).
I instinctively knew feeling that happy was a bad sign. I can never be that happy. It’s not cynism, simply truth. Any time in life when I’ve felt the pinnacle of happiness a shoe drops. Consequently, I’ve conditioned myself against being that happy to avoid catastrophe. Since I forgot about that rule, things started going downhill pretty quickly.
The stable job with potential that I could find enjoyment at disappeared almost immediately. After having a husband, secure employment and FMLA protection topped my baby-having must list. In an instant that was gone. Amazingly, I didn’t panic. Instead I listened to the reminder in my head that there’s never a right time to have a baby and things work out.
I wasn’t going to be doing this alone. A tipping point in our decision to push up our timeline was the thought of doing things together with my best friend. There’s no preface to adequately describe the fact that we’re not doing it together. It’s been heartbreaking and harder than almost anything I’ve confronted thus far. I struggled with a lot of guilt and helplessness.
My guilt was deepened in short order when I unexpectedly learned that I’m a carrier for cystic fibrosis. Aside from horrific morning sickness – which people constantly tell you is a good thing – I assumed everything was exactly as it should be. The shock of this news was numbing. To be a carrier of a disease I still haven’t had the courage to Google made me feel like a failure and that everything about this was doomed. I had been trying to avoid being selfish and interested in my own pregnancy when I was no longer sharing the experience but now I felt like I hadn’t been appreciative enough of my own good fortune. I immediately felt like a failure as a mother (a feeling I’m sure will repeat itself more times than I’d like). Fortunately, my charmed life prevailed and Danny isn’t a carrier and the baby won’t have the disease.
This entire trial has taught me a lot already and that’s to have faith. Everything about this is beyond my control and I have to accept that. I’m foregoing any other genetic testing and relying on faith that many women have healthy babies everyday and God willing I’ll be one of them. Through hard-work we have managed to create a debt-free life that allowed us to save for emergencies (in this case unpaid leave). Even though I’m not going through things together with my friend, I’m grateful that I’m not doing it alone and she’s by side no matter what.
All these years I imaged what it would be like to be pregnant, it was never this. Uncertainty, vulnerability, sadness and stress were not the emotions I planned on. Since that first several days happiness has been a fleeting emotion but that’s changing. The first trimester was a challenge but things are getting better. I even bought a couple baby items yesterday (for a girl or boy – I’m saving receipts) and Danny bought a car seat. I’m trying to be less nervous and I know the excitement will start creeping in again, especially when we find out the sex next month.
To everyone who said you can’t plan for it but it’s worth it – thank you.
To all those who hear it – listen.