“I’m pregnant!” is declared countless times by expectant parents every day, and is usually followed by shrieks of excitement and a flurry of “Congratulations!” from family and friends. Everyone loves the news of a new pregnancy.
Then, there’s the surge of usual questions: How far along are you? Do you know what it is? Do you want a boy or a girl? What did your husband/spouse/parent/kids/dog think? When’s your due date? Do you have names picked out? Were you trying or was it a surprise? What are you going to do when the baby comes? Are you going back to work or staying home? Who’s going to watch the baby? And on and on and on. There really isn’t a shortage of topics to cover when it comes to pregnancy.
But as I sit here, 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I can’t help but think of all the emotions you go through in just a “relatively” short period of time.
The pregnant lady is expected to be a ball of joy and excitement. I mean, she is after all creating a new life inside her body – a miracle, really. And, there are so many people who are trying and can’t conceive on their own; so, you should feel even more honored.
The truth is, however, that sometimes you don’t feel so privileged. Sometimes you weren’t expecting to get pregnant. Maybe the current circumstances aren’t the most conducive for starting or expanding a family. Maybe you’re not ready to move on to this new stage of life. And, when you try to reconcile what you feel (not-so-happy) with what you think you should be feeling (big radiant ball of joy and excitement), it gets a bit difficult. Guilt creeps in because what kind of horrible person wouldn’t be excited to be pregnant. You don’t really want to tell people you’re pregnant to avoid the barrage of questions and the excitement you’re clearly not feeling. And worst of all, you feel like you can’t really talk to anyone about what you feel because you’ll be judged — it’s blasphemy after all!
I have been there – twice – and have decided it’s OKAY to not be excited. The way I see it, God gave us 9 months to deal with whatever emotions we may go through. And better to work through it before the baby comes than after, no? The challenge is finding someone you feel you can talk to without being judged or being told how you should just be excited, happy, grateful, etc.
I remember being pregnant with my first and this one well-meaning woman (they’re always well-meaning, aren’t they?) at church coming up to me, with a HUGE smile on her face, saying, “Isn’t this the most wonderful thing ever?” So, I put on my fake smile, nodded my head and agreed as she carried on and on about how she loved being pregnant. What I really wanted to say is, “What’s so wonderful about morning sickness? Or about getting stretch marks? My mouth deciding to over-produce saliva? My face possibly swelling and getting the “pregnancy mask?” Why would anyone be excited about hemorrhoids or gaining a bunch of weight after I just worked so hard for the last six months to be the fittest I’ve ever been? REALLY? Please tell me what’s so great about losing my freedom to do what I want when I want? Please!”
When I got pregnant with my fourth, I really wasn’t expecting to have any more kids. Although my husband and I contemplated the idea of “trying” for a girl, we decided we were good with our three boys. After all, three is one of my favorite numbers. Plus, I was finally getting my “life” back – not having to pump at work, nurse. The boys were more independent and didn’t require non-stop attention. I worked very hard for a year to lose 27 lbs. I was training for a half-marathon with my best friend. Life – life was good.When my period was late by a few days back in February, I immediately told my best friend that I was officially an ultra-athlete with all that training we were doing. Because really, that was the only logical reason I’d be late. There was no way I could be pregnant. When I broke the news to my husband I wasn’t sure how he’d react. But, bless his heart, he just laughed (in disbelief, I’m sure) and said, “As long as it’s mine, I’ll always be happy to have another one!” Well, good thing for him it is his!When people would congratulate us, I really wanted to say, “Okay, go ahead and say what you’re really thinking. How about we start with “My condolences!” Because I’m not sure if you heard correctly, but I am having FOUR kids, six years old and under. Four. FOUR. F.O.U.R. Cuatro. Quatre. IV. I mean, barely anyone has three kids these days, let alone four.”
After 40+ weeks of being pregnant, I am happy to report I have resolved all my “issues” and I’m now that big radiant ball of joy and excitement, literally. I’m grateful for the handful of people who listened and laughed at all my silly and not-so-silly thoughts and concerns.
So, moral of the story? The next time you congratulate someone for their impending bundle of joy, please do so knowing that “happy” isn’t the only emotion that goes along with pregnancy. I make it a point to share my story with friends, just so they know it’s okay if they find themselves feeling underwhelmed with joy. And that in me, they’ll find a non-judgmental, listening ear.
What about you? What was your emotional reaction when you first found out you were pregnant?