It was just another June day at the office. Espresso laden, stressful, frustrating and I was on the brink of submitting my resignation… It is extremely difficult to find a job overseas and I was one of the lucky ones to be offered one. I don’t discount that. So it was extremely difficult for me to quit. My husband works his tail off every day and provides us with an incredible life. I am not used to being a dependent spouse but have had to adjust. So having a job has not only added well needed structure to my days, but helped with my self worth and allowed for a little extra financial cushion for our travels, and I do mean little.
As I continued to become more and more bitter at work we needed to make a decision. Government work isn’t up my alley to begin with, but as I eluded to, it is something! My boss made it easy with yet another passive aggressive and unnecessary email. The yearly salary just wasn’t worth the stress I brought home every day. I couldn’t seem to separate work and home.
A few weeks ago the hubster and I had two of my brothers in town. One with their wife and another with his friend, and my thoughts were consumed with how horrid work was! Sad, but true. It was amazing to have family and let them in to our little life over in Italy. Of course we all met up in Rome and toured around. It was an emotional trip for me. Having family, who I rarely get to see actively participating in our life was incredible! I haven’t lived near family in almost 14 years. So when they can finally see our world it means so much to me. Little did I know that weekend in Rome would change my life forever.
A couple weeks after my family’s visit, I sat at my desk, writing my fourth draft of my resignation letter, I was having trouble controlling my emotions. I couldn’t sit still, I wanted nothing more than to not be there. On a break I went to the small shoppette on base for a few items I had planned on picking up on my way out. We were heading to LeMans, France for a race in a couple days and were excited! But I was just feeling off. I had this itch in the back of my mind. I knew we would partake in a few drinks in France. Hello, French wine! But better safe than sorry. I bought a pregnancy test while at the store, and because I am unable to not scratch an itch when it occurs, I spent the rest of my break using it…
This is not the first test I had taken. Of course I had taken some over the years. Not because we were trying to have children, but simply because the moon was affecting me differently that month. We had often discussed having kids. Where we ready? Did we want them? This is a huge conversation! The life we lead doesn’t lend itself to that traditional, nuclear family that you see in the magazines. Not that you can’t have it, but the challenges are different and complicated. For one, over the past 13 yars we have spent a great time apart being stationed in different states, dealing with deployments, submarines, ships and the list goes on.
Don’t get me wrong, plenty if not most of the people in the military do have and are successful with supporting a family. It does happen, but it isn’t easy. For me, I wanted to have my husband around for the pregnancy if it ever happened. I wanted the support and breath of calm that he instills in my ever chaotic and anxious mind. So we talked, and talked. Almost two years ago we decided to take a gamble and remove my IUD. Keep in mind, I had Paragard, a copper IUD without hormones (Simply because I can’t get behind the application of additional hormones in the body, unless for a medical necessity). Personal preference.
This means that my body didn’t need to find a new hormonal balance or homeostasis. So depending on my fertility, a child could be conceived from that day on. I didn’t track my fertility in any way. I didn’t want to stress about whether it was ‘time’ or not. I honestly didn’t want to think about it at all. Every possibility stressed me out. If I didn’t get pregnant, was their something inherently wrong with my body’s ability to do what nature designed it to? Perfectionism is a problem for me. If I did get pregnant, my God! What on earth would I do? I would lose the independence I treasure so much. The freedom. What about my body? Yes, yes I know… pregnancy is incredible. It is! And I can only imagine the incredible changes a child can bring to your life. The fact is, change can be scary, and until you experience that, all the words and anecdotes in the world mean nothing. We can only pull from our own experiences and this just wasn’t one of mine yet. So the selfish and vain fears did cross my mind. I’m human, or, at least I think I am.
Some women, maybe most, know that one day they will have children. It is just a part of life. No questions, it simply will happen somehow, eventually in their lives. My mother, one of the most amazing women I know, was born to be an incredible mother. And she continues to be. Me? I never particularly sought out having kids. Having a million siblings, (okay not a million, but a lot!), made me aggressive in my solidarity. I craved alone time. I am a rather selfish being, not in a negative way, but I know this about myself. So the idea of children had always been a possibility, but never one at the forefront of my goals in life.
So as I impatiently waited, I truly expected that little stick to say “Not Pregnant”. For some reason it didn’t cross my mind that I could be. Well surprise! I’m pregnant. My heart rate immediately began racing. I couldn’t breathe. I walked back to my desk in a daze. My husband was in a meeting, so I knew I couldn’t reach him. I simply couldn’t sit at my desk any longer. I needed air and quickly. Before anyone in my office could see my face, I left for the day and raced out front of the building and waited for my husband. My heart never slowed. Who takes a pregnancy test at work?! WHO?? What a dumb idea. I’ve had many over the years, I can only chuckle and add this one to the list.
The hubster finally arrived and took one look at my face and asked me what was wrong. I burst into tears. I was scared out of my mind. Not of his reaction, but that my life was over. Haha What a great start eh? In between sobs I managed to whisper “I’m Pregnant” and continue to cry. He immediately wrapped his arms around me and just held me. He knew I needed to get home. To be somewhere safe so I could begin to process the news. There is nothing I needed more. As fear after fear crossed my mind over the next few days he continued to reassure me that everything was indeed okay and that this was a good thing. He had been ready for this step in his life, in our life for some time, but also wasn’t pushing it. It would happen if it was meant. I wish I had that level of calm conviction. But in truth, I do not. Always the rock, my husband continues to balance my wild and some times irrational fears with his unwavering ability to be logical. Why can’t I do that?
Now, before the shaming begins on my initial reaction and how incredible this is, how thankful I should be and how some women would love to be in my position etc… I will stop you, if possible. I already know and I have no intent of insulting pregnancy or motherhood. I despise that I feel the need to be defensive here, because my reactions and feelings are my own and I owe no one an explanation. But I will say it any way. I am impressed by parents every day, and I have so much respect for the human body. I am merely conveying my initial thoughts, reactions, fears, and joys here. It is important to be honest. Many women have many fears regarding pregnancy and forever. It is life changing, physically, mentally and emotionally and I don’t take that lightly. Let’s face it, I don’t take many things lightly. Perfectionist, remember?
That being said, I have an incredible marriage, including all of the up’s and down’s. We have grown in so many ways and now we will continue to grow just that much more. On to the adventure of a lifetime.
P.S. Two little lessons learned that I would offer up to you dear reader, if you are ever in a similar situation. Firstly, do NOT take a pregnancy test at work. No matter how anxious you are. Do this in a place of peace and stability so that you can process your joys or fears.
Finally, be honest with yourself. Feel the way you are feeling. That is okay. You should be able to express it without fear of judgement. I struggle with this too. But we must accept our emotions, make peace with them so that we can truly understand ourselves, even if those reactions don’t always fit the acceptable social mold of how a woman should feel. I tend to be an open book, but that doesn’t make it easier to swim against the current, as I tend to do. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.
What was your reaction when you found out you were pregnant? Or weren’t? How do you respond to other people’s reactions?
Next post… How have my thoughts and body changed? First trimester woes and successes.