One day as I was walking around the city, a few hours after I’d peed on a stick in my office toilet and that tell-tale plus sign came up, it dawned on me that every single person I was passing—every single old man, young child, bored teen, chubby woman, skinny fashionista, homeless guy, what have you—began life in the very same way: via a freaked-out woman who didn’t know what the hell she was getting herself into.Like a lot of women, I’d always grown up assuming I’d someday have kids of my own, but that day was always somewhere in the safe, distant future. Even as I continued to get older and creep past that “average mommy age,” the reality of having my own kids anytime soon was far less thrilling than the idea of another bottle of wine with friends at midnight on a work night ever was. So to be suddenly unwed and knocked up at 32 wasn’t something I wanted to cry with joy over—instead I sat on that office toilet and cried and cried with a mixture of grief, fear and shock.
I suppose it could have been worse. I was in a relationship and had just gotten engaged, but a baby so soon wasn’t part of our plan. Then again, the alternative option was far less appealing than it was when I was in my early 20s and this happened to me. Once you’re past 30, especially if you’re in a solid relationship with a stable partner, the idea of having an abortion just makes you feel like a bit of a loser. Like, what was wrong with me that I still felt that I was too broke or irresponsible to have a kid at this age? Jamie Lynn Spears had hers at 16! I’m a normal, working woman and should be able to handle it, right? (For the curious, I should note that yes, I was taking the pill, but I was really bad about it and would forget for up to three days at a time. I thought I was old enough that conception would eventually take a lot of work, when we decided to go for it.)
To be honest, at the time I just didn’t feel ready and able to handle something so huge. Still, after going home and confessing my error — and the result — to Baby Daddy (who was not super psyched), it seemed obvious after talking it over that we weren’t going to go down the old Plan B route. The unplanned kiddo was here to stay.
For the first few months, my pregnancy was kind of like the 800 pound gorilla in the room. We talked about everything BUT the growing alien inside of me, and we made plans and went to new places and hiked and rode bikes and enjoyed the end of the summer and early fall. The way we treated it made me both sad and comforted—sad because it would have been nice if we were both thrilled about it, but comforting because at least we were equally bugged out. We decided not to tell anyone until we were in the 12-week “safety zone,” partly because we felt sheepish that we weren’t doing things the “right way” since we weren’t married, and partly because who knew what would happen? Pregnancy is a delicate operation, and the tide could have turned any day.
The good news is, there was a turning point, and it was when we went in for the 12-week ultrasound, the one where we both saw that beating heart and an alien-looking, bean-shaped creature that was no bigger than a child’s fist. I can’t speak for my Baby Daddy, but I was suddenly ecstatic. I couldn’t take my eyes off of those pictures for the rest of the day. I was so overwhelmingly proud that I had this thing inside of me, and I wanted to take good care of him and ensure he came out big and strong and healthy. My icy indifference to the baby and being pregnant began thawing that day, replaced by something that has very slowly turned into … I don’t know, motherly love?
The reality of it all was still going to take a lot of adjusting to, and I can’t say I haven’t had times where I wished my life was the way it was before, but from that day forward I at least accepted it. Now, as I’m closer to what I refer to as D-Day, some days I look so forward to having a baby I can hardly stand it, while other days I still think, ugh, kids are such a pain in the ass. At least I can say with complete certainty that I do “love” the little freak already. I know the love will continue to grow once I meet him and it all becomes really real, and I also have a feeling that he might just turn out to be my greatest mistake ever. But there’s definitely two reasons there is a nine (ten!) month gestation period for humans; the babies need that time in order to grow — and so does the mom.