“Did you plan this pregnancy?”
The question threw me. We sat there at the dating appointment of our second pregnancy, faced the question by the midwife. We both shifted in our seats and looked at each other. Rich answered it perfectly. “We knew we wanted another baby, we just didn’t know we wanted it so soon” It was a good answer. It was an honest answer. We had planned another baby, just not 7 short months after we’d had our first.
Let’s go back a few months. I had a few sloppy weeks of taking the pill. I didn’t realise quite how badly until I had a proper looked at all the missed days on the packet. “Oh balls…”
“Well if it happens, it happens” was our laidback attitude. “Get it all out of the way now,” we said, thinking it would never actually happen. And then it did.
I stopped taking the pill ready for my 7-day break and carried on as normal. Then one morning a few niggles happened. A few niggles that I’d felt before. It’s hard to describe that sudden realisation. When something just feels off, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. You just know something about your body isn’t quite right. Underlying nausea, feeling a little more tired, boobs hurting a tiny bit. Suddenly I realised I was about 5 days into my “7-day break” with no sign of Aunt Flo, I put it down to being back on the pill but thought I’d do a pregnancy test just in case.
I was so relaxed about it that I bought the cheapest test Tesco had to offer and did it in the disabled toilets with Rory sat in the pushchair. I couldn’t be pregnant. No way!
It took seconds… seconds for the cross to show up.
I felt so bemused. This is hilarious. How?! I rang Rich, even laughing on the phone.
“You won’t bloody believe this…”
It didn’t take very long for reality to set it. That “oh shit!” feeling. How will we manage? How will we afford it? I’d just handed in my notice at my previous job to become a blogger full time. We’d just sold all of Rory’s stuff. Rich literally ended the Sleepyhead on eBay with a few hours to go, that’s how far away we were in our heads from having another baby.
There were so many emotions. I felt guilty, guilty for Rory and guilty for the new baby for not being excited. I felt scared. Nervous. Dare I say it, I even felt resentful. How horrible is that? It makes me feel sick to say it now, but I was resentful. I wanted to cry. I wanted to make it stop.
This went on for days. Days of people telling me how amazing it was, congratulating me, telling me how jealous they were of me as they were so broody. I had friends desperately trying to conceive and I felt awful. I had struggled to conceive Rory so knew that pain all too well. Knew the pain of seeing people “just get pregnant”. Everyone around me was telling me how great this was going to be which just made me feel worse. Why wasn’t I happy about it?
48 hours in I started crying. I messaged Kirsty. “Please tell me this gets better”. She didn’t know she was pregnant until she reached 24 weeks. She understood.
“You know you don’t have to be okay about this, don’t you?”
Her words were simple, but they were magic. I wasn’t okay with it, I wasn’t ready. I had to accept this new turn of events, this new life plan. One which I really wasn’t prepared for. I had to get my head around the thought of two small human beings. Becoming a mama to two. Two under two!
Kirsty’s words allowed me to cut myself some slack. She allowed me to process things in my own way. She unhinged the guilt and made me realise it’s normal. When anything goes against your plan it throws you off balance.
Still, at 38 weeks pregnant, I’m not ready for this baby, I’m still in denial and I am still terrified. I’m not willing her to arrive with the same excitement of Rory. I’m not picturing her face and lusting after the newborn smell. That doesn’t, however, make her unwanted. I know when she arrives my heart will double, I know she will be loved just as much as he is. I know that one day, none of this will even matter. How they were both conceived and carried will not set them apart, or define them because they are both my babies.
There is so much pressure to see pregnancy as a miracle, something which you shouldn’t take for granted especially when you reach a certain age, relationship status or god forbid already have children. Just because I’m a married, mid 20s mother whose all set up for baby #2 on paper, doesnt mean that it was our plan. It also doesnt mean we arent grateful.
If you have experienced an unplanned pregnancy, please don’t feel compelled to feel anything other than what you want to feel. Please process ALL of your emotions exactly as you want to feel them.
Regardless of where you sit on the parenthood spectrum. Planned or unplanned. Ready or not. It okay. Its okay to hate pregnancy and love your baby. Its okay to love pregnancy and not always like your kids. When it comes to Motherhood you have to own it, your own way. You have the rights to speak freely about the highs and the lows, the wins and the losses. You have a right to learn the lessons without judgement.
I cannot wait to meet my baby. To love her.
I also will grieve the life before her, a simpler time. In the same way that occasionally I grieve the life I had before Rory, a much simpler time! Does that discredit how much I adore him? No way! It just means I miss being able to pee in peace and sleep a solid 8 hours.