My stomach had been churning for days. Bacon grease had that repulsive smell it gets when my nose turns on high sensitive gear. Standing at my bathroom window sill my suspicions were confirmed as I stared down at the tiny paper strip revealing a faint positive line. My heart sank. Again? Pregnant again? But we weren't trying!
Trust me, as a mom who has given birth 5 times already and who has read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” — I know my body and how this happens. But, even when I was being careful and observant my fertile myrtle system still created a new little being. I knew deep down we weren't done having kids after our fourth was born. I knew we were missing someone in our family, but we weren't quite ready to make that decision yet.
For me, it isn't about the baby. I view babies as gifts and adore them. I love their tiny fingers and toes and swaddling them like a baby burrito. I love giving birth and adoring their new little features, being simply in awe of them. The timing though? The timing is what I have grieved. It is more so the shock to our system that we are doing it all over again — so soon — our most recent child was just 14 months old when I saw those lines. I wanted more time between. I wanted to not have three birthdays in one month! My husband and I have been dreaming of spending our 10-year wedding anniversary next year on a secluded vacation alone -- not pregnant and not nursing. I wanted to enjoy this summer break taking my kids to do fun things and see friends, not spending it watching TV and barely able to move from my spot without my stomach threatening to reveal what I ate for lunch.
And can we talk for a minute about how hard being a parent is? It's hard, y'all. The sleep deprivation, the endless meal and snack making, the constant serving and cleaning, the refereeing between siblings, all the errands, nursing on demand ... it takes so much energy. I'm so nervous to add yet another person to our chaos and another's needs to meet. I feel stretched out as it is! How can I do it all?
All these feelings of a surprise pregnancy have brought about how I felt as a 16- and 18-year-old teenager. The shock, the planning on how we will do this, processing it all — the telling our parents. I was so nervous to announce to our parents this time that I had my husband call them all, even my own. We didn't get the best responses when we had our fourth at times and could only imagine what a fifth would sound like (we placed our first in an open adoption). I didn't want to hear it, I had my own thoughts to handle! It is sad when shame and worry overtake the joy of a new life, no matter if the baby was planned or not. I admittedly laid in my bed during this first trimester, too nauseous to move and wished this was just a joke and that I wasn't really pregnant. I wasn't ready. I felt bitter at times that I felt so bad and I couldn't be there for the kids I have at home.
That's the thing though — life has a way of planning itself sometimes. No matter how careful we are, no matter if we a ready or not, sometimes life makes us ready. I'm now 10 weeks and feeling much more at peace and excited to do this all again. I heard the heartbeat for the first time yesterday and I can tell you — that sound never gets old. The first physical proof that you have a live person inside of you is an incredible experience. Despite my worries, my fears, or questioning of my ability, I sat there with tears in my eyes with the knowledge of the gift that I get to do this again.
Life also has a way of working everything out, doesn't it? As I look back at my teenage pregnancies 12 and 9 years later I do remember the negative emotions of shame and worry, but I also see how those experiences changed my life for the better. They were gifts as well — though sometimes gifts come in unexpected packages or times. The same will be true of this baby, too. I know that I will find the same strength as I did with all my other children to be everyone's mother. I'm learning to delegate chores to my capable kids so not everything falls on me. I'm allowing myself to enjoy being lazy this summer, thankful that we don't have to be anywhere — especially school at 6:45 a.m. in the morning. Just as my teenage pregnancies brought about emotional growth and change, so will this one. So let's do this, baby. We've got plenty of room in our hearts.