When I was a teenager I thought there were two types of pregnant women:
- single women who were unhappy about it
- married women who were thrilled
I’ve since learned that there are very many single women who are delighted to have a baby. I’ve also come by the knowledge that not all pregnant married women are um… elated. Don’t ask me how I know.
If this is you – you sitting in your bathroom staring at that damn dripping stick while your husband snores peacefully in the next room – I’ve got some advice.
First Things First
Take a deep breath. You can do this.
If you can’t do this (which is not the same as wondering how the hell you’re going to survive), that’s different. No judgement. It’s just that this is probably not the post for you.
It’s okay to be sad about the loss of your plan.
You had a picture of how the rest of your life, the near future and the distant future, was going to look. It’s not going to look like that anymore. That’s unsettling. If you were really attached to that picture, it’s downright devastating. Don’t try to pretend like it’s not – it won’t work.
But… remember that Plan B often turns out WAY better than Plan A would have.
Remember the first time your heart was broken? You were sure that you would never love anyone again. But you did. And it was so so much better than it would have been with that REM-listening-Guess-jean-wearing jerk from eighth grade. This is like that. It’s gonna be so much better than you imagine.
You don’t need to believe me right now.
Don’t worry about finding the joy. It will come eventually. Maybe in six months when you watch your belly ripple with the movements of that little sea creature, or maybe in six years when that little surprise brings a hand drawn Mother’s Day card home from kindergarten, but it will come.
In the meantime, stop feeling guilty.
Children are blessings…yeah,yeah,yeah.
You’ve probably got friends who are desperate to get pregnant, friends who struggle with infertility or finding the right partner. What right do you have to feel anything but grateful about this gift?
Every right. This is YOUR life and you are entitled to feel any way you damn well please. The truth of your reluctance doesn’t in any way diminish the truth of their desire.
And please, stop worrying that your ambivelance is hurting your unborn baby. You are not sowing seeds of depression or attachment disorders, or anything of the kind. That’s hogwash. Your child is not going to grow into a maladjusted sociopath because you cried through your pregnancy. Trust me on this. I speak from experience here, friends.
Be honest and ask for support.
Okay, so maybe don’t tell the cashier at Target that this was an unplanned pregnancy, but do open up to your friends. When someone asks how you’re feeling, tell them. You’d be amazed how many other mothers have been in the same boat. If someone asks if you need something, think carefully before firing off a “No, I’m fine!” Do you? Are you lacking maternity clothes since you hauled them all off to Goodwill when you were “done” having kids? Are you in the market for a larger car? What about a double stroller? You’d be surprised what people have in their garages that they’d like to see go to a good home. Personally, I’ve got a garage FULL of high chairs and bouncy seats that I’d love to unload.
But not TOO honest.
Play it close to your chest around your kids, though. Children have a way of remembering and repeating to their siblings the most inconvenient things. After all, this new baby may be the one who is going to support you in your old age. You don’t want anyone poisoning the well!