Since the day I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been all too aware of the list of reasons being pregnant would be difficult and hard for me: I’m single. I’m broke. My body will be ruined. There might be health complications. I have so much to do. I’ll feel sick all the time. Labor and delivery are going to hurt a lot. I have anxiety.
It’s easy to see why anybody staring at this list of problems would be apprehensive about ever having a child. But, one of the problems with focusing on all the fear and negativity is that it can make you think things are actually impossible. (Spoiler alert: They’re not). It can keep you from taking a risk because it can trick your brain into believing that you’re not strong enough to handle it. I’ve been there. If you didn’t know otherwise, the way I feel about cockroaches would convince you that cockroaches are actually radioactive poisonous hell-beasts instead of mere pests. We all have our weaknesses. In fact, I can admit now that freaking out over my pregnancy has been one of mine. I’ve spent a whole lot of time ruminating over the difficulties of being pregnant, fearing the worst, dreading the discomfort, etc… but the thing is, sometimes being pregnant is actually great. Some weeks things actually go very well. Need proof?
Okay, so I’m single, right? But the baby’s father visited my hometown last weekend with friends to celebrate our daughter at this big baby shower my friends and family have been planning. Not only did everybody get along, but they had a great time, ate good food, spent time together, took beautiful photos, gave us awesome gifts, generally pampered the heck out of me, and he and I got to connect and talk to each other face to face about our dreams and goals for our little girl. Not exactly the doom and gloom of single motherhood now is it?
I’m still broke, that’s true, but because I sought out support early and did my research, I have health insurance for the first time in years through Medicaid, I get nutritional support from WIC, my family has stepped up to help provide for us, and both me and the father’s family’s have given us nearly every single thing we could need for our daughter.
My body has changed, definitely, but it’s not all that bad. I’ve gained a healthy amount of weight, most of it in my belly, and I’m not really worried about it. I spent a lot of time fretting about stretch marks and now that they’ve started to appear, honestly, nobody is more surprised than me, but they don’t bother me at all. I kind of like them. I know some of you are rolling your eyes at that, and just to be fair, no I don’t share the same thrill about the way my breasts look right now or how big my butt is, but still… the stretch marks don’t bother me. Maybe it’s just my overflowing pregnancy hormones but every time I see them I just see past them to the big belly underneath housing my cute little baby.
My doctors appointments are surprisingly fast, because honestly, I’m so damn healthy. This pregnancy has not hit one single snag in terms of my or the baby’s excellent growth and health. I feel so freaking lucky and relieved. I know what a blessing it is to have a healthy pregnancy.
Yes, I’ve had a lot to prepare for, but I’m pretty dang prepared. A bonus side-effect of my pregnancy has been that, due to that famous nesting instinct, I’ve gotten a lot more organized. There are plans in place, paperwork is filled out, and our needs are being met. Sure there are thank you cards to be sent, and errands to run, but I’m managing, and it’s all been pretty smooth.
I don’t feel nearly as sick as I did in the beginning, and I’ve learned how to manage it pretty well. In fact, this past week I’ve felt pretty great, despite having a ton to do with all the company visiting and preparation for the baby shower. People keep telling me how put together and beautiful I look. Did I wake up in some kind of twilight zone?
Labor and delivery are still going to hurt. That’s true. But I’m not scared, because even though I have anxiety, my anxiety has been noticably absent lately. I have a friend who’s been wondering whether or not she should try to get pregnant and have a baby with her husband. We’ve talked about it a lot. If she asked me on a day I was exhausted, sleep-deprived, and vomiting, I’d tell her to proceed with caution, but during week 33, so far the best week of my pregnancy, with few worries on my mind, I would just say that if you want to have a child, just know that you can do it. You have time. You have the strength. People will help you. It’s not as impossible as it seems.
Of course it’s hard sometimes. Of course there are challenges to overcome; but one of the best things about going through all of that stuff is that you have the opportunity to learn how powerful you are, how helpful and kind others can be, and how much love a child can bring into your life. I’ve never been somebody who’s naive or dismissive of life’s problems, but sometimes it’s just more important to take stock of what those problems do for you — what they teach you, and how good they can make you feel about yourself if you let them.