We had been trying for six months. Trying to get those two pink lines. Trying to make that test read positive. Trying to make a baby. Trying to make our dreams come true. We were trying, but not trying. At least that’s what we were calling it. We weren’t “trying trying”. We weren’t tracking my ovulation cycles or taking any fertility tests. But we weren’t not trying either. I had stopped taking birth control and we weren’t using condoms. And we were having sex. A lot. This was our “relaxed” method. If you could call it that.
It was our relaxed method, but I was 100% NOT relaxed. I still spent every month imagining pregnancy symptoms. Was that nausea a baby growing in my belly or did I just eat a bad burrito? Are my boobs tender or is my bra just uncomfortable? I swear I’m peeing more! Again, and again, I believed in these symptoms. Again, and again, I just knew I was pregnant. Again, and again, I sat over a toilet, peed on that stick, and waited. Waited as seconds dragged into minutes and the pink line started to appear. Waited as the second line never came and the test proved my mind was tricking me yet again. I started to dread those monthly tests. Six months and over twice as many tests later and a wall had been built. A wall between my hopes and the reality that took place sitting on that toilet every month. Now I know six months isn’t a long time to try. But my biggest fear in life was not being able to get pregnant and every month that ticked by compounded that fear. The pit in my stomach only got larger and larger. I was scared my fear was going to come true.
So, when November rolled around, and the smell of the turkey made me want to puke, my first thought wasn’t BABY. It was that maybe I ate too much Thanksgiving dinner. My husband suggested that maybe it had finally happened; maybe our dreams were finally coming true. I was tired of having my hopes smashed so I wouldn’t even allow it to cross my mind. A few days later, I was grocery shopping and saw the test sitting on the shelf. I picked it up and told myself I’d just take it, so my husband would stop getting his hopes up. So he’d just leave me alone. There was no way I was pregnant.
I drove home and pushed the thoughts out of my brain. I couldn’t get my hopes up again. I got home, went upstairs, and followed the steps. The steps that I had done so many times it was almost automatic, almost robotic. I put the test on the counter and walked out. I couldn’t look. This time felt different. I wasn’t sure if I could handle another negative result. My resolve was wearing thin. I mustered up my courage, walked back in, and snuck a peek.
It was positive! It was positive! There was no way. It couldn’t be positive. I checked, and I looked, and I checked again. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I didn’t believe it. So, I took another test. And another one. Finally, after three tests showed me the same thing, it sunk in. This was real. I was pregnant.
I didn’t know what to do. Should I call my husband? He was at work. Should I wait until tomorrow? I wanted to tell him in person. Ten minutes later, my husband’s name popped up on my phone. He was calling me. Why was he calling me? He was supposed to be at work. I answered the call and listened to my husband tell me he was coming home. He had forgotten his wallet. I paced the kitchen and waited to hear him at the door. I heard him come in and called from the kitchen. He entered, and I told him I had a surprise. I pulled out the pregnancy test and watched as the realization hit him. Tears welled in his eyes as he spun me around the room. “You’re pregnant?!”, he exclaimed as he kissed me. “Why would you tell me this now? I have to go back to work!”, he laughed. I smiled, apologized, and told him I just couldn’t keep it in. We rejoiced for a few minutes and then he had to leave.
And that’s when it happened. That’s when the worry started to creep in. I think as moms it’s wired in our DNA. The worry, the fears, the anxiety. We worry about everything – Should I have that cup of coffee? Am I going to be a good mother? Is my baby growing on track? Was that a kick I just felt? And it all starts immediately. I thought “Am I ready for this? Am I really ready to bring a human being into this world?” A whirlwind of emotions overwhelmed my mind and I wondered how I was supposed to handle it all.
One of the biggest fears I had was how I would stay me, how I would maintain my own identity. I think a lot of moms worry about keeping their individuality. When so much of our identities are wrapped up in being a mother, how do we keep who we were before the children came alive? How do we stay us? How do I keep me, me? I feared losing myself in it all.
Losing yourself when you have kids is a legitimate concern. When your drowning in spit-up, tears, and baby toys, it can be hard to find yourself. When you haven’t showered in three days and you’re running on zero sleep, it’s hard to look in the mirror and see who you were before that bundle of joy was placed in your arms and your life. It’s easy to lose yourself once you have children. But that’s not always a bad thing.
I lose myself every day. I lose myself in my son’s eyes as they fill with excitement as he chases the dog around. I lose myself in laughter as he giggles uncontrollably when my husband tickles him on the ground. I lose myself in sadness as I pack away his newborn clothes. And I lose myself in wonder as my son takes in the fascinating world around him.
I lose myself in watching my son grow up. I lose myself every day in every way. And in doing so, I somehow find myself again.