I refuse to use the word "unplanned," because it inherently whispers "unwanted." Along with irresponsible, reckless, stupid.
We did plan to have Noah. We desperately wanted Noah. Just....not yet.
So Noah is our SURPRISE! baby. Only it didn't quite feel like the balloon-throwing, cake-eating, aw-you-shouldn't-have surprise. It was more of the ohmygod-this-can't-be-happening, not-yet-not-now surprise. It was the kind of surprise that took nine months to brew, to sink in — not hitting me until the very end.
There's a real disconnect when you have a SURPRISE! pregnancy. After all, this unidentified human set up shop IN YOUR BODY, completely uninvited. Your stomach is overtaken, morphing and stretching before your eyes, and you didn't sign on the dotted lines for this.
Before I started showing, the entire thing felt like a sham. I would tell people how far along I was, how I was feeling, but a part of me felt like it was all a lie. Even at my baby shower, with a basketball-sized belly stretching out my non-maternity shirt (denial!), I remember thinking, "Do I have to give back all of these presents when I don't have the baby?"
The prospects of losing the baby or passing the world's largest bowel movement were more feasible than actually having him.
Don't get me wrong — I felt the life inside of me move, traced where his butt bumped against my upper stomach, felt his kicks jab at my sides. I held my stomach while he hiccuped, as if to soothe his discomfort. I talked to him in the car, just the two of us. And I loved whatever was squirming inside of me. Logically I knew that I was having a baby — but, in all honesty, one of my first thoughts when I saw him come out was, "Huh. Would you look at that. A baby! There was really a baby in there."
While I'm not sure it's possible to ever full grasp the enormity of pregnancy, the lack of preparedness and the sudden, shocking changes certainly make the SURPRISE! pregnancy that much more surreal.
So to all of you surprised mamas-to-be: Breathe. You might have so many thoughts running through your mind that you can't even concentrate on these words. You might feel numb, wondering why you can't feel a shred of emotion. You might be in denial, as I was. You might be angry, in mourning, grieving for your dreams and freedom. You're most definitely scared — petrified — of everything ahead of you. And that's OK. That's all normal.
I want you to know that I was there, too. I had no health insurance, no job, no savings. I was angry — so angry — that I had worked this hard throughout school and my internships to have to let go of my ambitions. I was scared of the responsibility, of labor, of losing my figure.
I cried. A lot.
I felt furious at not only myself, but at the innocent baby forming inside of me who only wanted to be protected and loved.
I wish I knew that things would fall into place. That all of the stress wasn't worth it. Because while I was focused on how my life would change, I didn't know that the biggest SURPRISE would be that the life I knew — the life I was desperately clinging to — wouldn't matter to me. I would have new values, new emotional depths, and new priorities.
And I would become exactly who I was always meant to be.