I will state this as a disclaimer: we are both beyond thrilled to be having this baby and wouldn't trade her for anything. We cannot wait to meet her and smother her with love. Now that I've said that, I can admit that I've spent a great portion of this pregnancy trying to catch my breath, trying to find a comfortable place…a place that makes sense…amidst all these enormous life changes. I
As a side note—we thought Alex would have his pick of jobs because he always has. We planned on moving to a boarding school where we would be given a free house to live in with virtually no bills to pay for years so we could save up tons of money to eventually buy a house and support our family. We'd raise our babies in a close-knit/built-in community without the stress of commuting, daycare, or bills. It'd be no problem for me to stay home with the kids during their early years. I could slowly build up my art career without the pressure of needing to bring home the bacon. Doesn't that sound perfect? It did to us.
There are several cliché phrases you hear about pregnancy—"there is no right/perfect time, you have to just go for it if you want children," "nothing can prepare you for what you'll go through when you experience pregnancy/become a parent," "having a child changes everything." As cliché as these phrases are, they are absolutely true! They are true in a way you can't understand until it happens to you and you suddenly find yourself saying "oh crap! This is what they meant." You can devise a "plan" all you want for attacking trying to conceive, pregnancy, and becoming parents, but it will all shake down the way it's going to shake down. You cannot control it (something I have had to repeat to myself a billion times over the last year).
My experience: I read everything ever written on conceiving a child, ate a perfect diet, took all the right vitamins and supplements, had weekly acupuncture, kept myself calm with yoga and meditation, exercised, charted my Basal Body Temperature every morning, peed on ovulation predictor strips…and it happened on its own, when I didn't feel like I was "trying." Next up, pregnancy. I always imagined I'd love being pregnant, that I'd feel healthy and vital and charged to get things done, that my life wouldn't change all that much until the child came…but EVERYTHING about my life has changed since I was only 7 weeks pregnant. I hated being pregnant for the first four months, and even now that I'm feeling better and love this belly, I've still never felt weaker or less productive and other than writing this blog, I struggle to find any small piece of my life that still feels like it is mine. Then there's becoming a parent—I already feel and act like a parent to this little girl, but I have yet to experience actually having a baby in the house 24/7 that I am completely responsible for, so I can only speculate…but I'd wager my "plans" and visions will only be laughed at once again.
Don't get me wrong, this is an incredible experience, one that I am certain is shaping me into a better version of myself than I've ever been, but there is more truth than most people share. Or maybe it's just that when we hear veterans tell us stories, it doesn't reverberate inside us the way it would if we could grasp the intensity of the situation from personal experience. Either way, it's felt more like a string of surprises than anything I could have prepared myself for. But, I guess that's what life is, isn't it? The trick is being able to surrender to it all, to accept things as they come rather than create anxiety by trying to predict them (not a strong suit of mine). The trick is being willing to let go of everything you've known before so you can become something new, because life is not going to stop changing on account of your resistance.