or Why I had a Baby Even When I Didn’t Want to.
I wrote this blog in February, when I was nine months pregnant.
I’ve spent most of my pregnancy rather reluctant to discuss my pregnancy. It wasn’t too bad with strangers—their congratulations were generic and probably what I would say if I was in their position too. It was tough, and still is somewhat, to talk about it with family and friends. Those that really know me I’m fine with, they understand my quirks; but it’s harder around those who are only scratching the surface of my personality.
See, I didn’t rejoice when I saw the positive on the pregnancy test. I tried to convince myself that it was defective and purchased a fancier pee stick to confirm. Then with a clear, digital “positive”, I crawled into bed in a ball of tears and denial.
A baby wasn’t part of our plan. Colton and I had only been married for five months—we were closer than ever but were still figuring out the nuances of a newlywed relationship and I didn’t see the addition of an infant as a benefit to resolving those new aspects. Additionally, we were one month away from leaving the country and from our calculations I was due the same time as our close friend’s wedding (which we’re both in)—how could I tell her I would have a giant stomach or having a baby the day she is supposed to be getting married?
The only logic I could find in my condition was God smacking me down with some humility. I have been blessed throughout my life; I’ve always been resourceful and independent, which is great for getting through jobs, school, and life, but it doesn’t make you the greatest of Christian (from my personal experience). I never had that impulse to run to God with my problems the second they appeared; I would deal with them on my own until the stress got too much then I would throw up my head and say to the heavens, “fine, you deal with it”.
Confirming our pregnancy overwhelmed me. I had no idea what to do next and I had no desire to seek help—in my mind the pregnancy was a massive mistake on my part and therefore I was incredibly ashamed.
Yes, I could have been in a much worse position. I had an awesome husband and incredibly supportive families on both sides, but I still have a hard time of including others in my thoughts when faced with problems. My instinct is to lug everything onto my shoulders and mine alone. But I had no idea where to turn with this new knowledge—for other situations, I’d sit down and work out multiple scenarios and how I would handle them. The only thing I recall looking up in those early days were the odds of me having a miscarriage and praying that God free me from this burden (with the phrase “if it be Your will” as an afterthought).
We kept it a secret for a few weeks, and only telling first those that I felt needed to know—mainly for my sanity. Vast majority of family and friends we kept in the dark until after we had left for Europe. The plan was to wait until I was ready to tell people (and was more accepting of my pregnancy), but as time marched on we saw that I was never going to be ready; so, rather than hurt more feelings by keeping the secret even longer, we decided to “let the cat out of the bag”.
Always thought I would tell people in some cheeky way like this
With strangers and new friends I was OK, I could joke about the baby and say things like “we wanted kids until I got pregnant—now we don’t want any!” without the room feeling too awkward. Because they didn’t know my aspirations before getting pregnant, hadn’t heard me say multiple times before my wedding that I didn’t want kids for a really long time.
When I found out I was pregnant I felt like the future that I envisioned for Colton and myself was gone. I had an identity crisis for majority of my pregnancy. I had already put off starting my career while Colton finished his school, and with a baby due when we returned home, I wouldn’t be able to start working instantly as I had planned. My focus of years, in which I would start a career the second I got through with school, was put off by moving to Europe—something I could accept and tease Colton about. But the arrival of a child completely threw out plans to support us while he focused on his internship—my mother had staid home with us kids when I was little and I had always intended to do the same.
I dreaded coming home because I grimaced when the baby was gleefully brought up, dodged the “how big is your bump?” questions, and bristled at the idea of someone rubbing my stomach (still do). My one sign of progress was that I no longer became so upset that I would have to lay on the floor while I calmed my breathing after hyperventilating.
Physically, I once again was very blessed, I never experienced morning sickness or extreme food aversions; I had hardly gained any weight and didn’t start showing until I was already 30 weeks along.
Me at nine months
But it wasn’t until I was nearly eight months along that I found some true peace with my situation.
I view this baby as my testimony, which I think is pretty cool as most do not have a physical symbol of their commitment to their faith. Why is my baby my testimony? Because if it weren’t for my faith in Christ, he wouldn’t still be in my body. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I saw girls who consider abortion as having more freedom than myself, that wasn’t even an option for me, I could only hope for a miscarriage but after a bleeding scare right after we arrived in France, God assured me that this baby wasn’t going anywhere.
That was in September, but it wasn’t until December that I recognized what this baby meant for me—that I was putting Christ before myself and in that I felt courage. And in humility I realized that all of my education and intellectual abilities may not have been intended for myself, but rather my sole purpose could be simply to give this child a life immersed in knowledge and focused on education, so that he could grow up and “take over the world”.
Do I still hope to take over a zoo or become a bestselling author? Of course, but realizing that God has plans for me that may be greater than mine own is something I need to remind myself. Not to mention I won’t know my purpose in life until I can look back on it.
It’s those thoughts that are helping me embrace the bump—now that I’m just three weeks from my due date. I’m still anxious about the future, I still don’t like my stomach rubbed, and I still don’t see the appeal of babies, but I’m looking at my stomach with some anticipation rather than dread and I’m grateful for that.