I was 25-years-old when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I’d spent the preceding three years living with my (then) 33-year-old boyfriend (with whom I’m still living, and to whom I’m still lovingly referring as “my boyfriend”), and while we both adored kids, we were miles away from actually trying to have one of our own.
Well, SURPRISE! Sometimes getting pregnant involves literally no trying at all.*
Fresh out of University, working in retail, and living in a 600 sq foot condo in the heart of Downtown Toronto, a single night of irresponsibility (under the undeniably spooky powers of an epic Supermoon) suddenly put me on a fast track to the “Family Planning” aisle of my local drugstore.
I’ll never forget that fateful day.
I scanned the products as I walked past them – first tampons, then lube, then condoms, then pregnancy tests. I laughed at the chronology as I perused my options.
FIRST RESPONSE EARLY RESULTS PREGNANCY TEST – OVER 99% ACCURATE. THE ONLY BRAND THAT CAN TELL YOU SIX DAYS SOONER THAN YOUR MISSED PERIOD!
Yes! Perfect. That was just the level of accuracy I was looking for.
I grabbed two boxes (and a Vanity Fair magazine for good measure) and scurried off to the checkout line.
The cashier looked up at me and smiled, “You know that there’s two tests in each box, right Honey?” – she was helpful yet unnervingly nosy – “Did you still want both?”
“Two for one – feels like my lucky day! Thanks – I’ll just take the one. And some gum. And a hole of despair to throw myself into, please.”
I got home and set the box down on the counter. I must have walked by it 40 times before I finally mustered up the cojones to actually take the tests.
I unwrapped them furiously and pee’d on them simultaneously. I silently gave thanks for their ease of use; in that moment, I was NOT in the mind frame to be able to handle anything even remotely complicated.
I let them marinate on the edge of the sink for exactly three minutes. When the wait time was up, I slowly crept into the bathroom to get a glimpse of my destiny… Lo and behold, a total of four pink lines (two from each test) were staring back at me, indicating with absolute certainty that life, as I knew it, was over.
Then, I started to bawl.
“This isn’t part of the plan.”
“The timing is all wrong.”
“How can we afford a child?”
“How can we raise a child?”
“WILL WE HAVE TO MOVE TO THE SUBURBS?”
I was in a full blown tail spin of “this is a complete disaster!” and it was NOT pretty.
“Snap out of it, Nikita!” I finally told myself, “This is a miracle; not a death sentence. Pick yourself up off the floor, stop being so bloody horrified and start being grateful! Grateful and EXCITED! That’s how you’re SUPPOSED to feel!”
But hold the phone for a minute – exactly who is setting out these Feelings Guidelines for New Moms, anyway? And how could these “rules” have ingrained themselves so deeply in me that I was already feeling guilty AF for not being the happiest mommy on the block? (or whatever the hell that book is called).
For months I lived with the fear that my initial feelings about the prospect of becoming a mom would automatically deem me unfit to be one (even after I got over them!) … but SURPRISE AGAIN – It turns out that those initial feelings had zero bearing whatsoever on the kind of mom I’d one day become.
Four years (and two kids) later, I’d now go as far as to say that I’m a damn good mama to my boys. I love the hell out of those little buggers; I do my absolute best to provide them with never-ending emotional support, intellectual stimulation, and a safe and happy environment to grow up in.
Do I still sometimes have moments of despair? Self-doubt? Fear? OF COURSE I DO.
But negative feelings are as natural and normal as positive ones. They’re merely a part of life and as women, we should never be made to feel ashamed of our emotions (no matter what circumstances bring them about).
From day one, parenting comes with a healthy mix of everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly – so why not just be honest about how we’re feeling so we can work through our shit and emerge on the other side as stronger, more secure versions of our (already awesome) selves?
If motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that life is a sacred and personal journey, and trying to be who the world tells you to be (or feel the way the world tells you to feel) completely defeats the purpose. Yes, moms freak out too. We doubt ourselves and we experience moments of great weakness, but figuring out how to deal with and move past those moments is what ends up making us unequivocally unfuckwithable. So please, don’t stifle your sentiments to make those around you more comfortable – instead, tune into them. Learn from them and then move the hell on. Life’s far too short to be anything but unapologetically yourself.
*Ok fine, I guess it shouldn’t really have come as that big of a surprise – my high school sex-ed teacher had warned me that the only sure way to avoid pregnancy is abstinence and yes, I admit that, in hindsight, perhaps we could have undertaken a few more preventative measures if we’d REALLY wanted to prevent procreation, but stay with me here.
When it comes to kids, nothing happens the way you expect it to… starting with conception! If you’re ready to share your own #ConceptionsMisconceptions, hop onto social media and use that hashtag to join the conversation.