How terrifying is it to become a parent? I mean, really. One day you are drinking with friends/family and the next thing you know the stick turns blue and you instantly are filled with thoughts of “why did I go drinking this past weekend!” “I hurt my baby!” “I’m going to be a terrible parent!” Luckily, for those of us who have had those thoughts (like me), I honestly believe there is a one month long ‘grace period’ where you can drink and it doesn’t harm your baby (that being said, don’t think it’s ok to drink if you find out you’re pregnant really early in the game and think it won’t cause harm). I became pregnant at the beginning of October and it wasn’t until the end of October that I discovered I was pregnant. There were signs that I was pregnant, which looking back on are humorous to me. I was bringing home 3 pound bags of candy and instagraming the entire box of pasta I had eaten alone. Plus dessert. And all the drinking I did with the family that was visiting during that month. Oh yeah, I thought I had just sentenced my child to having three arms and learning problems.
But what really goes through your head when you discover you’re carrying a life? You are suddenly filled with an urge to eat all the healthy foods that up until this point you’ve been ignoring for pizza, greasy burgers, candy, 4 cups of coffee and whatever else you can think of. For me, I took a pregnancy test because I had a “feeling”. Not one that I can really explain, mind you. I wasn’t even late for my period yet. I just had a feeling. I went and bought a test and decided to take it the next morning, all the while thinking “I’m being stupid again (I’ve bought tests in the past, thinking I was pregnant, and obviously was wrong) and I’ll take the test and it will be negative and I’ll laugh about this”. So I woke up the next day, took the test (yes, peed on a stick of plastic) and went to make my morning cup of coffee. I came back, not really expecting much, to see the dark blue + sign on the small screen on my counter. My knees immediately went weak and my heart jumped up into my throat. I had no idea what to do, what to think or what to say. I just immediately grabbed my phone and texted my close friend, who thankfully lived in my apartment building, and told her to get her ass up to my apartment dressed or not. She was up there in less then 5 minutes, clutching a coffee mug and rocking pajamas.
Within 2 days, I had taken 8 tests.
But it doesn’t happen like that for a lot of women. Some don’t even find out their pregnant until they are a few months in. Some can’t afford to be pregnant. Some don’t WANT to be pregnant. Some women think they can’t have kids and one special day, discover that they are pregnant. And sometimes a woman will think she is pregnant, or is pregnant, and will go in for that check up and there will be no heartbeat… It’s never easy. And it is so very different from woman to woman. You could think you are ready for whatever will happen, but you never are. You’re never ready for pregnancy either. The nausea that follows you around 24/7 during your first trimester, the cravings for food you’ve never wanted before and aversions to other foods that you usually love, the feet swelling, backaches, shoulder pain. Your body honestly just becomes one giant ache. Plus sometimes if your lucky, like me, your boobs will be ready for you to start breastfeeding 3 months away from your due date and you’ll just be leaking everywhere.(did you pick up on the sarcasm there?) But then one day you will feel a flutter in your stomach. Sorta like butterflies, but entirely different. You’ll feel anxious because you’ve never felt anything like that before, and think there is something wrong with the baby. Soon you will learn that fluttering feeling is your child. Moving, dancing, wiggling and kicking you. Showing you that they are alive and they can’t wait to meet you.
Up until that first kick, I had so much trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that I was pregnant. I would find myself thinking “is there something even in there?” ” is it still alive?”. That’s when I started feeling like a parent, and that is also when all of the anxiety about becoming a parent started flooding in too.
Like I said at the beginning, it’s terrifying. Becoming a parent. You are responsible for this tiny life. This thing with chubby fingers, fat thighs and chipmunk cheeks is dependent on you. On your ability to raise it, feed it, keep it safe and healthy. You are the one who is going to teach it how to walk, talk, use the bathroom correctly, what is right and wrong, the people it should be around and those it should avoid. How you and your spouse behave will definitely impact the type of partner your child will pursue in the future. You have to choose a name they will be stuck with their whole lives. (that doesn’t sound like it’s very difficult, but believe me it is) And now you have to watch how you act. Babies, toddlers and children will mimic you in a heart beat. As someone who has had depression since a very young age, I now have to keep that very much in check. What will my children think of me if I’m moping around, shutting myself off or lashing out? What if I lash out at them? What if they really need me and I’ve shut myself off emotionally or won’t open my bedroom door? You can’t be having anxiety attacks around your kids, it freaks them out. What will I do if my children develop depression or any of those other mental issues when they get older? They won’t want to come to me. I want to teach my kids that they can come to me with anything and everything, because I’ve been through a hell of a lot in my lifetime so far, but that being said they aren’t going to want to admit to me that they will sad all the time or that they are thinking of harming themselves/ARE harming themselves. And that’s enough stress to cause an anxiety attack right there and my baby is only 3 months old!
I know my posts are all over the place with feelings, thoughts and emotions. That’s sorta what a blog is, right? You write and write about whatever you want, and if someone gets some wisdom out of it or even a laugh, great! But these are all of the things that have been weighing on my mind and heart since learning I was pregnant a year ago. I figured it was about time to write them out.
My saving grace through all of this have been my amazing friends, my husband and God. Yes, God. I don’t have the greatest relationship with God. I’m still fairly new to religion, so I’m not used to giving my stresses and problems over to a higher power. I grew up relying on me, myself and I. But since discovering I was pregnant, I’ve been praying everyday. Praying for wisdom, strength, peace and love. Praying that my child will be healthy. And since giving birth, I think it’s a prayer a minute. Not even in prayer form. I don’t think “dear God, I pray for—” no, I just talk to God like a friend I’m ranting to.
I’m going to wrap up this very long post with this: No matter how terrifying it may seem, how impossible or whatever you are thinking, you have the strength to do it. You can put that towards anything. You can prepare, prepare and prepare, but you are never going to be ready. You just have to do it.