I want to start this post off with saying that I am not pregnant. When I began talking about writing this post to some close friends and family, every single one of them asked me if I was expecting. Second, I also want to explain briefly that this is a rather delicate topic for me to talk about because honestly I have not been able to find much literature on the subject. However, I am of the opinion that when it comes to aspects of motherhood, transparency with other mothers about the joys, difficulties, and everything else in between is beautiful and also helpful to so many of us. I think many parents feel a sense of loneliness in their struggles and the reality is that many of us are experiencing the same situations and emotions frequently. Talking about our experiences can help lend guidance, reassurance, friendship, and even love to one another during these times.
I found this especially true when I opened up about my postpartum depression journey. To this day I make a conscious effort to be open about that difficult journey because so many women confided in me about their own struggle with the postpartum period after I came clean about mine. Let me tell you: it was nice to hear that I was not “crazy” or a “bad” mother because of my depression. Rather, I felt a sense of normalcy. In fact, I felt more like a mother than ever. Hearing other women talk about their postpartum blues, depression, and anxiety made me realize that my feelings were a natural part of motherhood that no one should be ashamed about.
It is very disappointing that postpartum depression is still swept under the rug even today with the growing awareness of mental illness in society. I do wish more women discussed these issues, and that is why I make it a point to talk about them. With all of that being said, this post is dedicated to another topic that I find very few people discussing. Frankly, I have seen so little about this that I am genuinely starting to think that I am the only one “going though” these feelings. So, let’s get into it:
My First Pregnancy
When I found out that I was pregnant, my husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. How did this happen? We were trying to avoid (TTA) pregnancy at the time and planned on waiting at least a year into marriage before trying to conceive (TTC). Thankfully, God had other plans for us and I would not trade our timeline for anything in the world. However, the fact remains that the pregnancy was not planned.
Soon after finding out that we were pregnant, we were settling into newlywed life, had a close death in the family, and overall experienced a lot of drama and stress in the early months that prevented me from really enjoying my pregnancy. Quite frankly, I did not focus on my pregnancy much. I couldn’t. It was hard losing someone so close to me and being happy about anything at the time. Sadly, I carried these blasé emotions throughout most of my pregnancy. Obviously I stopped drinking alcohol, ate healthy, went to all the doctor’s appointments, etc., but I missed out on actually being present throughout the whole thing.
In retrospect, I am sad about this. I am sad that I was not present. Not only did I owe excitement to the life growing inside me, but I also owed it to myself. Creating life is one of the greatest gifts of womanhood and I just let the time pass by. I did not take any classes, read any books, or even really plan a nursery. I have to be honest: I didn’t even know what was supposed to be happening to my body! Every time something new happened I called my doctor wondering if these symptoms were normal. I do wonder genuinely if I was experiencing some sort of prenatal depression, but I just acted cool and went along with everything happening around me.
Even writing all of this here now, I feel awful. I feel very selfish and unappreciative. So many women pray, hope, and wish for a pregnancy every day and I just shrugged my shoulders for nine months. I even had a relatively easy pregnancy. It is hard admitting this all here, but it is genuinely how I felt. I will say, though, in fairness to myself, when I write that a lot happened to my family in those early months of my pregnancy, I am not exaggerating. Even my OBGYN believes that these difficulties could have dampened my excitement and contributed to my eventual postpartum depression.
I really wish I read all of the books. And took prenatal yoga classes. And took breastfeeding classes. I even wish I did corny things like make the life growing in my belly listen to Mozart through headphones.
This probably all sounds, well, silly. Would any of those classes or books mattered anyway? Maybe not! But then again, maybe they would have mattered.
The Possibility of a Second Pregnancy
Now that our son is almost two years old we do not want to wait too much longer before trying for another baby. (Again, I promise I am not pregnant! We haven’t even started trying yet.) Given my experience during my first pregnancy, I know for certain I want my future pregnancies to be different. I plan to read all of the books and take all of those classes! I plan to do everything that I missed out on the first time around. And guess what? I don’t care what anyone says about it. Not only do I, personally, deserve to feel that sort of excitement that we have been sold since we were all little girls about the joys of pregnancy and parenthood, but I owe it to my future children, too.
I know that someone will read this post and think to themselves, Yeah, but you’ve already had a baby. You know what to expect. Let me be the first person to say that I still have no idea what pregnancy is supposed to look like. In fact, one of the reasons I plan on embarking on this second pregnancy knowledge quest is to learn more. I didn’t even realize that there were more options than traditional hospital birth. I didn’t know that drinking certain teas can help back pain. I feel like I didn’t know anything. I think more knowledge will give me strength and allow me to make more informed choices in my future pregnancies.
It feels good to be excited about trying for a baby. It feels like those same emotions during the buildup to Christmas in December. I even started reading some of the books! And just as I suspected, I already learned a ton of new information that I did not know previously, despite already having been pregnant and given birth.
Pregnancy is such a sacred time in a woman’s life. We actually have the ability to participate in creation. I mean, how insane is that? As Ali Wong put it, “I’m busy making an eyeball! OK?” But it’s true! Society places so much importance and glory on work, yet seems to overlook or downplay women working on making a baby.
I plan on enjoying and really being present in my next pregnancies. I am truly excited.