After 5 months of secrecy, the cat is finally out of the bag… I’m pah-reg-nant!
I know some of you suspected it, particularly those that follow me on Instagram as I’ve been dropping a few ‘subtle’ hints here and there. At least I thought I was being subtle, crafting Da Vinci Code-style clues but apparently, I have more than a few Robert Langdon’s following me!
I’m now 20 weeks pregnant and enjoying the fruits of a blissful second trimester, which is definitely not how I’d describe the first…
Until recently, I didn’t know much about being pregnant. Most of what I knew was what Hollywood tells you. That there’s some throwing up in the mornings and the rest of the time you swap your moisturizer for that pregnancy glow.
What the actual fuck. Did Harvey Weinstein produce every one of those movies? Because that couldn’t be further from the truth! Expect a slew of detailed first trimester blog posts coming your way in the new year, a slew!
But first, let’s wind back to the day I found out I’m well and truly up the duff.
The day the stick turned blue
I suppose it happened the usual way. Realising I was two weeks late, and rather than faff about in the land of uncertainty, I decided to buy a pregnancy test. So on a nondescript Thursday morning, I popped down to my local pharmacy and picked up a regular shmegular clear blue test.
Admittedly, it’s not the first time I’ve peed on a stick. As a young adult, I was extremely paranoid about the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. Even though I was on the pill, there was still that 0.1% chance to fear, and an even scarier 2% with condoms.
It’s a fear that’s drilled into you from an early age. “All it takes is one time” …and boom! Baby forever! It’s only when you actually want a baby that you can truly appreciate the absurdity of that paranoia.
When you start trying, it’s like the opposite happens. There is no “one time” and boom. In fact, an egg only lives for 12-24 hours after ovulation, which, combined with the lifespan of a sperm, gives just 6 possible fertile days in each cycle. Get the timing right, and the chances of conceiving are still only 20% on average. Now add on age and other biological factors and you get ovulation charting, legs up in the air, IVF, etc, etc…
The truth is that everyone is different and you simply don’t know how long it will take before you try. As a researcher married to a mathematician, it made sense for us to look into the statistics. Given the chances of conception, my age and having never been pregnant before, we figured it would take a couple of months for the miracle to happen. Which is why the last thing I expected to see that morning was a double blue line.
“Trying” and Other Existential Crises
When we first started trying, I have to admit it took some time to get my head around the idea that I was about to do that thing that I was expressly not supposed to do. I have spent my entire life trying very hard NOT to get pregnant.
Dropping the ‘not’ is easier said than done. Think of all the things we’re not supposed to do… Rob a bank, kill people, go to work naked, whatever. Certain things just get hardwired into you and to suddenly hit reverse is enough to thrust you into an existential crisis!
Just like boarding a spaceship to Mars, it’s the kind of decision that once you take, there really is no going back. The weight of that decision is intensely profound! To create another life, and to forever change yours…?!
So, very naturally, the first time we decided to give contraception a miss, I found myself overwhelmed with emotions and started to cry. I remember searching the eyes of my husband and yelling at him ‘why aren’t you emotional?’ through my tears, as I calmly adjusted to life off the pill. Honestly though, he was cool as a cucumber… well, he was.
The Ying To My Yang
My husband and I are a bit ying and yang when it comes to some of our ways of thinking. For me, emotions and panic always come well before the thing happens. My previous job was literally that, forecasting and predicting future scenarios with the accuracy of a fortune teller. It’s in my very nature to be as well prepared as possible for the constant transformation of future into present into past…
On the contrary, dear husband is known at home as the ‘King of Hindsight’. He rules over the realm of the past and only thinks things through after they happen. He loves to analyse everything after and only after the fact and then scrutinize all the things that could have been done differently.
Fast forward to today, I’m now pregnant and totally chill, having thought through this moment in every which way for many, many years. While dear husband, who was chill before that winning sperm made its way inside one of my eggs, is now the emotional one. Suddenly trying to digest the meaning of this new life growing inside me.
Coming back to that Thursday morning… I had just come back from Mykonos and we’d only been trying for a hot minute and I’m thinking no way am I pregnant so let’s just confirm it real quick so I don’t need to think about it and then – blue.
Seeing that stick turn blue was one of the top ten most emotional moments of my life so far. Somewhere above graduating from University and below almost dying from salmonella poisoning. Compared to other high-stress peak-emotional scenarios I’ve experienced, it felt most like that time when I went in for my first job interview.
It was 2009 and the possibility of getting the job and signing a £40k contract with a £40k bonus leading to an instant financially independent lifestyle was just way too much for reckless 20-year-old me to handle. Despite having tried my best to prepare, I was in fact completely unprepared for that world and must have worn it like a neon sign.
In that single moment when I first discovered that I was going to become a mother, it brought me back to how I felt inside that interview room. A confusing rush of feeling nervous, terrified, and excited all at the same time. You see, money to that 20 year old is what motherhood is to this 30 year old. Of course I have no idea what I’m doing. Technically, I’m completely unqualified. But this time, I got the job!!!
The first thing I did was call my mum, dad, sisters, best friend… and then stare at the clock waiting for husband to come home in what would be the longest day of my life.
Getting onto the same page
For the rest of that day, I couldn’t even sit still let alone think let alone work. I started texting husband way more than usual asking when he’d be back home only to discover he would be late. So I got up to go for a walk and as I was passing by a Waterstones bookstore, I got the idea that a pregnancy book would be a fun way to break the news to hubby.
According to his version of events, I literally could not have made it any more obvious. Seconds after he walked through the door, I dragged him into the living room and handed him a wrapped present (that was obviously a book) while anxiously sitting on the sofa looking up at him with wide eyes, a huge grin, and holding up my phone to record a video (which usually I would never do).
Immediately he asks, “are you pregnant?” to which I’m like “pfff uh no, open the gift.” And well, that’s how he got his confirmation anyway. In hindsight, I really wish I had waited until we were together to pee on that stick!
The book I bought was called Pregnancy for Men: The Whole 9 Months by Mark Woods, which was very useful in getting us onto the same page. For many women, those first few months are actually some of the most difficult, which can be hard for men to understand. Particularly because the bulk of the changes that happen aren’t very visible. The vomiting is obvious, but the extreme exhaustion, mind and body changes aren’t, so it’s a good time to start reading up on what will be the most incredible journey you’ll ever take. See you in Mars!
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