On a normal day at work, I was feeling a little bit sick and extremely tired. All of a sudden, I threw up and the realization came to me: I’m pregnant. My husband came to pick me up and on the road home, we stopped at the pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test.
Next morning I peed on the little stick and before I had the time to think what was going on, the stick revealed: I was 5+ weeks pregnant. Suddenly I felt numb, lost and overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that it was happening.
My partner and I have had the “baby” conversation before and we agreed on having children. But I never expected it to happen so soon. My negative thoughts and all the anxiety led me to a state of denial and feeling shock during the first four months of my pregnancy. This pregnancy is not necessarily unwanted, it just came as a surprise accompanied by emotions, completely different to how I thought women are supposed to feel about pregnancy.
I am a grown-up woman, married to the love of my life, living in a beautiful and spacious house with an adopted dog, we are financially ok and I feel very blessed to be able to get pregnant. Wasn’t I supposed to be happy now?…. Cause I didn’t feel happy at all. Mentally I wasn’t prepared to have a baby yet, and I was not feeling joy or happiness with the new reality of becoming a mother in only eight months. Though, about one thing I was sure: Our baby is definitely welcome.
Being pregnant is something I have always associated with something bad. Thus, ever since I started to be sexually active, I have been protecting myself against an unwanted pregnancy and I have even had discussions with friends about the different birth controls methods.
A thought that kept me from feeling good is that being pregnant is not so common anymore at my age. I honestly wanted to wait until turning thirty and have a more “successful” career first. In my group of girlfriends, we all felt that way – as wanting to become independent women that work and succeed in something. It seemed as if being a mother, at this age, didn´t go hand in hand with those goals.
So from one day to the other, I had to accept that it´s ok to be pregnant; that I am old enough and prepared to be a mother. Wait there, a mother! Me?!
During my first months, I didn’t tell anyone of my friends and family. My partner and I sought help from the midwife. She was very helpful and referred me to see a specialist in women’s mental health. That’s where my journey to acceptance began.
By talking openly about it, I learned that all the thoughts I had about pregnancy and how women should feel, came from unrealistic sources. I have based my images on movies, series, commercials and on pregnant women in general. Talking with the psychologist and other women with similar issues, made me realize that not everyone feels thrilled about pregnancy and parenting. But the feeling of shame and guilt that comes with not feeling what society tells you one should feel, makes it hard to talk about it. I think it’s not socially acceptable to feel bad for being pregnant because, on the other hand, there are lots of women struggling to become pregnant. In a way, others might have more difficulties than one has. And while I acknowledge that all of that is true, it does not take away from the fact that becoming pregnant at a time when I wasn’t mentally prepared for it, was also very difficult to process.
Coping with an unplanned pregnancy requires time, space and a network of support. For a few weeks, I felt overwhelmed, lonely and lost. But then, with the help of a midwife, a psychologist, my partner, and Google, I found the energy to do things to make me feel better.
To start, I let go of all the beliefs I had about how I was supposed to feel. I allowed myself to feel everything I was feeling: Sadness, grief, gratitude, worry, confusion, excitement. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. But by allowing myself to feel them, they went through my system and away. I started to remind myself that these negative feelings didn’t make me a bad person. It also didn’t mean that I don’t love the baby I carry.
I also found peace at doing things at my own pace. I put on hold all the side things that I wasn’t ready to do. Such as: start telling my family and friends, downloading pregnancy apps, buying clothes, -“how to” books, baby clothes, nursery, toys and all of that. I just didn’t start with this until I felt ready. I decided to first focus on my mental health and to only stress about those other things after.
By staying true to what I felt, I started to feel better. It took me four months to tell my family and friends that I was pregnant. To my surprise, they responded with nothing but joy, and completely understood how I had felt.
A couple of months ago, it wasn’t in my short-term plans yet to become a mother. My life doesn’t look like now, how I thought it was going to look like, but I feel good about it. I have overcome unexpected situations before, and I know I can do this as well. I have the support of my partner who has been amazing throughout the process. Not ever, has he given me any negative feelings. His happiness and positivism helped me cope better with the situation. He is open to adjusting his life and to do this together with me. I have come to realize that I can still do the things I want to do, and it’s more fun knowing that I will have my family to share them with.
Are you or were you feeling like this during your pregnancy? How did you cope with these feelings? Leave me your tips in the comments below.
Because I don’t only want to complain, I made a list of funny pregnancy memes. Check it out here and let’s have a laugh!