confessions of a rather reluctant soon-to-be mum

{Word to the wise. This is long and a bit rambling.}

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There’s this social narrative among people (people I know? People of the internets? People of a certain demographic? I don’t really know) that motherhood is (and I quote) “the best thing that ever happened to me” and that being pregnant “was really just the most wonderful time”. I’m here to tell you that, while it may turn out to be extremely worthwhile, if it’s not “the best thing that ever happened” to you, it’s OK.

There are so many (SO. MANY.) things that no-one tells you about being pregnant before you actually are (and then there’s no turning back). People make it look so easy! You find out when they are already 3 months in, for the most part, and have had 3 months to get used to the idea that they are making a person (anyone else find this concept weird? Because I really didn’t deal very well with the idea).

Well, I’m here to tell you that if you’ve just found out (or, hell, you’re 6 months in and still freaking out), it’s OK. I felt the same way. And I’m not saying it gets better, but I am saying you’re not alone. Because one thing that no-one (or at least very few) will tell you, is that freaking out is completely normal. Well, it was for me and I’ve gradually found out (through my own freak outs and inability to keep anything to myself) that many people feel this way.

Picture this: I was always the person who didn’t want kids. Then, gradually, over several years, my brain started to soften its stance towards the whole idea of procreation, until I discovered one day that I was not actively averse to the idea anymore. I have not wanted children my whole life. I didn’t picture my future with a proliferation of tiny sprogs in it. I liked my life, my wine, my holidays, sleeping in, my time with friends and with my husband. It was really nice. But I started to think that maybe (just maybe) there’d be a part of me that would regret not looking at this decision more closely. Part of me who’d wish that past-me hadn’t bolted the door so firmly shut. (For the record, the husband has always wanted kids, he just chose to support my desire not to have, rather than fight about it.) So, we decided to un-bolt the door. I went off birth control and we left it at that. We were not “trying” (i.e we were not at it like rabbits to try to conceive), but the door was left open. Chance was in control.

And months passed.

After a few freaked-out-false-alarms, I relaxed and forgot about it. Sure, I tracked my periods on an app (a girl likes to know when to expect things, you know, and without my pill telling me, how else would I know?), and when it was late, I’d have a few stern words with myself, but months turned into a year, and I figured it was never going to happen. Then, while we were enjoying a little holiday in Wilderness (and drinking all the wine), it occurred to me that my period might be due. I checked my app – whoa. It was more than due, it was several days late.

When we got home, I took a test and, lo and behold, there they were. Those two fateful pink lines that changed my whole life. I say they changed my whole life because although there was no physical evidence yet, there was this shift in my brain. It yelled and screamed, telling me I wasn’t ready, that I wasn’t grown up enough for this, that this was the stupidest decision I had ever not actually made. For the record, I was a couple of weeks shy of 30, so I was probably ready (as ready as you ever are?) and we were a few months shy of our 5 year wedding anniversary (and 10 years together-aversary), so if our relationship wasn’t ready, it was probably never going to be. To look at it objectively, you would have thought I’d have been thrilled.

I wasn’t. I was devastated.

It sounds harsh, put like that, but I don’t like being out of control. I don’t like it when things happen that I do not plan, control and manage. My body and my life started changing right before my eyes, and I was powerless to stop it. I had to stifle tears half the time for the first few weeks (months), because every time I thought about the tiny life growing inside of me, I wanted to weep for the life I’d lost. The life I was familiar with, which I’d worked so hard to carve out and nurture was being set aside for a new kind of life, one I had no idea how I felt about. I didn’t (and I still don’t) know what that new life will look like. I don’t know how it will change me, change my relationships with friends and my husband. I don’t know what my days (and nights) will look like. Yes, I have the stories of others, and there have been many months in the interim to comes to terms with this idea (as I type, I’m 35 weeks pregnant and The Parasite (as the husband and I have affectionately termed our sprog) is flipping over and over inside my tummy) but I still don’t know how these things will translate into our lives.

I’m not devastated anymore.

It almost surprises me to type that and find it true, but over the course of the last 8-and-a-bit months, I’ve come to terms with the way our lives are changing. The excitement of my friends and our families has been extremely gratifying (thanks guys!) It means the world to me that people think that we are responsible enough to have the care of a small, fragile thing (although, I have to say, my track record with my dogs is nothing to write home about). But I’m not devastated anymore. Sure, I long for the days when I could sleep through a full night without leg cramps or getting up to pee (stay tuned for a full catalogue of the weird and nasty pregnancy symptoms no-one ever told you about), but I’m looking at the next few weeks with anxious excitement now, instead of fear bordering on hysteria.

Part of it is that I REALLY want him out. Like, REALLY. I want my body back. And part of it is that I’m excited to meet this little guy. Excited to see what weird combination of the husband and I he’ll turn out to be. Will he be stubborn? Quite likely, we both are. Will he like to read, like me, or run like the husband? Or something else?! Will he want to learn to cook? Will he enjoy food like we do? Whose eyes will he have, whose nose? Will he have the hands that run in my family (my sister and I have them, so does my dad and my gran)? There are so many unanswered questions that only his little self can answer.

I’m still nervous about what life will look like, but we’ve weathered things before and I guess we’ll weather this one. I hope that I have the fortitude not to be a total bitch, but I’m comforted by the knowledge that every person handles this transition differently, and that no-one is better equipped to look after this kid than us, his parents. I mean, I’ve basically given up wine for the best part of a year, so that’s proof of my commitment so far, right? So if I’m slightly insane for the next few months (years?) I guess there’s good reason. I’ll be trying my hardest.

So, there you have it. I’m hoping to keep writing about this new adventure (and I promise to always be honest – it’s the only way I know how to be, really). So if an honest account of what first time motherhood is like (from the perspective of one who wasn’t sure this is something she wanted in the first place) is what you’re after, stay tuned.

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