In high school, my best friend and I had matching fantasies of getting married to handsome men and having kids and having matching houses right next door to each other, at some arbitrary age, probably 27. Personally, I’m really terrific at Having Things Not Go According to Plan (and I’ll definitely need to blog about a recent Having Things Not Go According to Plan in regards to work, but that’s for another day). Em got the handsome man and a while later, a beautiful, darling little baby, while I la-la-la’ed my way through my twenties, spending months or years at a time with people I wouldn’t want to marry and have kids with, because I could and because I don’t know why, other than I’m really good at wasting time, which is why I’ve done shit-all today so far.
So two years ago, I met K, and last year, K and I started dating, and Shit Got Serious because for some reason he’s crazy about me and puts up with my ridiculous moods and concerns and ideas, and I’m crazy about him even though he goes to bed at times reserved for old men and baby men and sometimes he farts when I poke him and doesn’t like broccoli. We moved in together and we started talking about marriage, and then came probably the biggest, hugest Having Things Not Go According to Plan that I’ve ever personally had.
I found out I was pregnant.
I was a week late, and feeling weird. My period, having made its very first appearance on my 13th birthday less than a month into my first year of high school, is upsettingly regular. Upsettingly because this means that every year on my birthday, and around Christmas, and usually around Thanksgiving too, as well as the tail-end of the 9 other months, I am a crampy bitch. This is different from other days of the year when I am only a bitch only because of the element of pain, but the double whammy of it occurring on or around days of celebration makes me extra extra bitchtastic. So when I was a week late, and feeling weird, and had some tenderness in my lady lumps, and also threw up, I got to thinking.
It only took me a few days to come up with the prognosis of ‘possibly pregnant.’ I never said I was quick on the draw, guys. And after the day where I almost passed out in a thrift store and could barely eat lunch because I felt queasy, I figured I should probably find a way to confirm or disconfirm my completely non-medical prognosis. So I peed on a stick. Not one out of the backyard but one of those plastic ones they sell at CVS.
I don’t think the answer could have been more clear unless those two lines reached out and punched me in the face. I have never gotten a quicker response from anything ever, except for those online credit card applications that promise you a decision within 30 seconds but usually reject me the instant after I’ve pressed ‘submit.’
Then came the panic/freakout, and telling K, and then more mutual panic/freakout. And here’s where the brutal honesty comes in, the honesty that might come back to bite me in the ass one day, but hopefully won’t.
My first thought, and ours, was “No. We can’t.” I was very recently jobless, and though not financially struggling yet (yet), I didn’t have insurance and prospects weren’t looking awesome, so I was taking time to focus on my artsy craftsy business, which wasn’t going as well as it should because I might be equal parts ADD and lazy.
I am, and I make no bones about it, vehemently pro-choice. I want EVERY woman to be able to choose what to do with her body. But I’d never personally been in that position of having to choose, and it felt horrible. I’ve wanted a baby for a long time, save for a stint in my early twenties when babies were the devil, but it was something K and I had talked about doing – in the future. After getting married. So here was this thing that we’d created, and I was scared out of my mind because it didn’t fit into my plan for right now at all, but I also wanted it, so badly, I wanted to have it, and it hurt me beyond belief that I didn’t think I could manage it, that I was unfit.
K and I talked about it. “No, we can’t” became “maybe we can” which begat “we could…” which turned into “we can and we are.” That whole process in and of itself was scary, but along the way we realized it was far less scary than what we originally thought was our only option. There are times now that I’m paralyzed with fear – what if I can’t, what if I really screw this kid up, what if, what if – and I know they aren’t going to stop any time soon, even after the baby is born and possibly after it’s an adult. I can’t definitively speak for K, but I am so much more at peace with this decision than any other we could have made. I think he agrees.
I thought our worlds changed the day I found out, but I actually realized it at my first ultrasound to confirm a viable pregnancy. When the tech got the image of the baby onscreen and said “there’s your bebeh!” my life changed instantly, irrevocably, forever, for the very absolute best. I (mostly) successfully held in my tears until after the appointment when I called K, who was at work, and I left him a voicemail that said, in no uncertain terms, “blubberflubberblubit’sokayblubberglubberblubsobwe’rehavingababyblubglubhiccup.” That was it. I was done for.
If I had any doubts whatsoever (I didn’t) after seeing our baby dance on the screen (it did! It danced a little dance of happy and joy!), on the way home I heard this song on the radio:
and the lyrics hit me. Because it was about me and Kirk, but it was about more than that; it was about our baby, and me, and Kirk, and all of us together, and our love, and our family, and how close we are, and how close I hope we will always be.
We are choosing to be parents, and I’m proud of us.
(But I still believe it is every woman’s choice, and I don’t hold in ill esteem anyone who made other choices)