Three Tips For Dealing With A New Normal (My Unpopular Pregnancy Journey)
Oh, everything is going to work out.
What’s meant to be will be.
And my favorite … the universe only gives you what you can handle.
These are things I’ve been hearing lately and also things I’ve said to others when they were stuck, confused, and lost or I was at a loss for words. Not to say that I didn’t believe those words, I just didn't want to not saying anything because empty silence gives me the creeps.
Now, on the receiving end of this advice, I want to scream. Why, you might ask, are people trying to calm me down and comfort me? Well, this might surprise you because this news is usually met with lots of excitement and cheers, but I’m pregnant.
Oh, I saw that eye roll, and I can feel the judgment seeping through the screen…
current mood board
*All images are sourced from Pinterest
Yes, I’m fully aware of the magical situation I’m in. I know how hard others are trying to have a baby and can’t. But this isn’t their story. This is mine.
My husband and I are newly married. Planning for kids was something we were putting off because neither of us felt ready. Honestly, I never pictured myself as a mother. I also never consciously thought I wouldn’t have kids but I also never thought I would either.
We thought we were doing everything we needed to in order to keep it just the two of us, but here we are, starting my 22nd week of pregnancy.
I’ve been on quite a journey since I finally caved, bought that CVS pregnancy test, and found out I was indeed 6 weeks pregnant. Yeah, I was in denial. At almost four weeks late, I still didn’t think it was a possibility.
That day, I can remember it as clearly as any life definitive moment. After witnessing that plus sign appear before I could even stand up from the toilet, I fell into a pile on the floor.
I’m not ready for this. How did this happen? I’m nowhere where I wanted to be in my career by the time I had kids. Why!!!!!!?
I felt scared, afraid, and then, the big one, alone.
I started beating myself up. Surely no one feels like this. Everyone is dying to have kids, right?! People pray for the plus sign and have planned out ridiculously creative ways to tell their partners (I texted my husband the news, dreamy right?).
I wasn’t thinking about anyone else but myself. At that moment, I felt so alone. You never hear of stories like mine. No one talks about how they weren’t sure they wanted kids and the story that decided it for them.
The stories you hear are about the journeys to conceive and people’s plans and dreams. I can only imagine. Those must be scary too, but they’re still different from my journey. I felt like my journey, as messy and unpopular as it is, needed to be told.
I’ve had those closest to me telling me for months that I needed to share these feelings with others. There must be someone else who is going through or went through what I am, but months have passed and I couldn’t get myself to write a single word.
It has taken me 16 weeks to come close to putting into words how I am feeling without breaking down in tears. And I am no longer just scared for myself. I’m scared for this child. Who wants a mess of a mother like me?
Today, my emotions range from shock (still) to excitement. Yes, that’s right excitement. It’s been an emotional journey through my limiting beliefs, lack of self-esteem, and issues with being good enough but I’ve landed in the present moment.
I still can’t watch more than two “newborn must-have” videos on YouTube because I’ll have a panic attack. But with daily meditation and journaling practice plus one hell of a supportive partner, I am taking it day-by-day in a world where everyone seems to be batshit crazy about babies, bassinets, and birth stories.
I plan on adding writing to my toolbox and if you want to hop along for the ride, check back here next week for my latest essay about the things no ever talks about … feelings!
I’ve been not pregnant long enough to know that these feelings and this situation aren’t unique to babies. This feeling of doubt, uncertainty, and loss of control has found me many times before. Here are some things I have done before that you can try or at the very least be aware of. Awareness is the first step to action.
Feel your feelings.
I’m the queen of putting on a brave face and then crying in the car, bathroom, or under sheets. I’m not advocating going hysterical in front of strangers but when you feel an emotion coming up, excuse yourself as fast as you can. Take yourself home. Find a bathroom. Do whatever you can to be alone for a minute or two and then do these two things …
Say something nice.
I know this sounds corny. I was right there with you until I tried it and it worked for me. again and again. Saying nice things to yourself in the mirror can be called affirmations or mantras, but you don’t have to call them that. When I find myself starting to spiral, the usual signs are comparing myself, a tightening in my solar plexus/stomach, and actual tears welling up in my eyes.
Just start pretending you are a coach or a mother talking to your younger self who is hurting. Picturing myself as a little girl is really helpful because who is mean to a little girl? I say things like, “It’s all working out for your highest good, you are safe, you are loved, and all is well.” Again, find whatever words feel right but for god’s sake just be nice!
Shake it off … temporarily.
This might be the hardest part for me. After an emotional wave has passed, the idea of revisiting the pain is, well, painful. But it’s important. At a later time, sometime this is like a week later, I sit down and write out, do some work around it. Whatever that means to you. Just don’t ignore it.
All my love,