Let me start this post by saying I realize that I am not the first woman to be pregnant. I’m sure it seems like a pretty normal thing to most people. I mean, my Facebook newsfeed pops up with pregnancy announcements from various people on a daily basis. It’s the age group I guess. The general order goes as such: engagement announcements, then wedding pictures, honeymoon, etc., and then finally, (or in our case, very quickly) sonogram photos follow. But regardless of how simple and “normal” it may seem to the world, I can tell you as the woman carrying this soon-to-be person, it is far from a normal experience. Every day feels like a momentous occasion. Every time I realize my belly is bigger, every time I think I feel her moving – it is a huge event for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who’s going to sit here and romanticize this whole pregnancy thing. Honestly, I spent years (as most girls do) trying really hard NOT to get pregnant. The beginning of pregnancy felt more like a parasite than a human as I tried to keep food down and barely got out of bed. The “side effects” and “symptoms” of pregnancy range from gross to just downright weird. (Trust me, you have no idea.) And I sincerely have to question the women who just “loveeeeee” being pregnant (my mom included). I did, however, never forget how much of a privilege it is to be pregnant. I have always known that I wanted to be a mother someday, and the thought of not getting that chance is a type of heartbreak I cannot even fathom. So even on my sickest days, I made sure to take a moment to remember how truly lucky I am.
Now that I’m in the midst of the second trimester and feel almost human again, I think I’m finally starting to think of this little alien inside of me as a real person. Knowing she’s a girl (which I knew in my heart from day one, but has since been confirmed through medical technology), picking out a name, and watching Danny fall more and more in love with the idea of her has certainly made it more real. I admit I was afraid in the beginning. I confess I still am. It’s my medical knowledge, it’s my professional and personal knowledge of all the bad things that happen to people, it’s my firsthand experience of loss, and bottom line, my overwhelming anxiety that contribute to this fear. What if. . . [insert a thousand possible tragic scenarios here].
What I’ve sort of had to teach myself in these almost five months is this baby is a person. She’s not a medical condition – she’s a gift that’s been given to me. Yes, a million things could go wrong – with the rest of the pregnancy, with the rest of her life, for that matter – but worrying about all those possibilities just takes away from the happiness we have right now.
Through everything that has happened in my life, I have fought to hold onto that sparkle of hope that we are all born with. That belief that all good things will win in the end, even if that belief has been tested time and time again. And I have to admit it hasn’t been easy, but somehow knowing that it’s my job to help this little person hold onto that belief as well has given me a newfound strength that I did not know I had.
I want our little girl to believe in magic, in the goodness of people, and the world for as long as she possibly can. I know that inevitably things will happen to shake that belief. And I will do my best to prepare her for those times. Thinking about it now, I feel for my own sweet mother who tried her best to shield me from the bad parts of the world. How hard it must have been to watch the difficult, unfair things overshadow the good in my life for some time.
I like to think that I have more to offer this child now than I would have had I never faced difficulty. I always admired my mother’s strength, and it in turn, strengthened me. I will be honest with my daughter. Bad things happen. And those things often don’t make sense. But that doesn’t mean we shy away from the things that make us happy. Life is not meant to be lived in fear of the unknown. All we can do is make the most of what we’re given, the time we’re given, the happiness we have today. And I'll make sure she knows she will always have a safe place to come home to when the world seems unkind.
Having Danny by my side gives me such reassurance and happiness. The ONE thing I NEVER worry about is what kind of father he will be. This little one and I are both incredibly lucky.
I know exactly what thought will cross my mind when I hold her for the first time. I will think to myself how brand-new she is. How untouched by the world. How her heart is unbroken and so open to all the beautiful things this life has to offer. And how I will do my best to protect it.