A few months ago, I discovered I was unexpectedly pregnant.
As far as unexpected pregnancies go, I have a lot of good things going for me. Most importantly, I’m in a happy marriage to a man who is committed to me and to our children for the rest of his life. As I’ve written before, I once thought I would be a teenage mother so I don’t take my current situation for granted.
But even within the security of a stable marriage, surprise pregnancies are really stressful. So stressful, in fact, that when the plus sign showed up on the test, I cried.
I already have three children, and when I found out about this pregnancy my youngest was not even a year old. I love my kids with all of my heart and sincerely enjoy being with them (well, usually anyway), but being a parent is hard and exhausting.
I didn’t necessarily feel ready to add another member to our family just yet. Adding to the stress were two additional huge factors: We had an upcoming cross-country move looming over our heads, and my husband hadn’t found a job in our new town yet. Our year was shaping up to be stressful enough without throwing the needs of an infant into the mix. And yet, an infant is exactly what we’re going to get.
Luckily, many wise voices in my life encouraged me to give myself time to adjust to the news. Various women who love me reminded me that I had nine months to get ready for this baby, during which time I was sure to feel joy and excitement eventually. They, and my husband, assured me that the emotions I felt at that time were valid, and it was perfectly okay to let myself feel them. I didn’t have to pretend my stress wasn’t there.
I’m now three months pregnant, and there are still some days when I remind myself that it’s okay to feel nervous about how everything will work out in six months. But more and more often I’m beginning to think about this baby as a real human being who my husband and I will get to meet and snuggle at Christmastime. When I can separate my fears from the reality that this is a living, breathing person I have the honor of birthing and parenting, those feelings of excitement are beginning to come.
When you face an unplanned pregnancy, even if you’re married, it can be really hard to see past the baby stage and into the future. I am well aware that the next two years of my life will be extremely busy, noisy, and yes, likely stressful at times. But then I think about this baby of mine at four years old, then at ten, then at eighteen, and one day maybe as a parent him or herself. That blows my mind and puts everything into perspective. I’m not just thinking about juggling the needs of another baby; I’m thinking about a real human being I get to have a relationship with for the rest of my life.
Big moves and financial insecurity are definitely stressors in my life right now, but when I look at my husband and children and imagine how much this baby will be adored by all of us, I know that everything ultimately is going to be okay. Because life goes on, and in the end, our relationships with one another are the most important thing in the world.