After months of personal debate and conflict, I want to use this incredible platform at Madison Mom’s Blog to share my story in case even one reader might be in the same shoes at some point in their own motherhood journey. While I know that it can be easy to cast judgment, I plead with readers to reach me with understanding during this different time. If I can help one other mother feel that they aren’t alone with these feelings, then putting myself out there is all worth it. I’m currently in my third trimester, and can happily report that my feelings are much different now. This is my story, written in segments over my first two trimesters.
I have two beautiful, healthy, hilarious boys. Each of them was carefully planned and much wanted. I wanted our kids close together in age, and often discussed having a third while pregnant with my second. Once my second son was born, something changed in my heart, and I felt complete. I felt that my son’s opposite personalities were such a complement to one another. We were all so close knit and ready to adventure as a family of four. I daydreamed about all the hiking and camping we had to look forward to. I found new, exciting hobbies and passions that took up my free time. Everything felt so whole, complete, and full. I brought up my feelings with my husband and made the plans to get an IUD. We were done!
I had an awful experience with the IUD. Within the same day of the placement, my body just didn’t agree. Although it wasn’t displaced, I have severe abdominal pain that involved an ER visit and very limited mobility on my part. As a result, my plans with the IUD ran short. Like less than 24 hours short. So we went back to natural family planning, as we had our entire marriage.
Shortly after that adventure, we had a “scare”. Since I was friendly with calendar tracking due to the natural family planning, it was easy to deduce that I was late. A week after being late, and I break the news to my husband. With my last pregnancy, I knew I was pregnant before the home tests could even read positive. I went to the doctors and asked for a blood test. So again this time, I make my appointment for a blood test to prove my pregnancy. Time passed until I was 2 ½ weeks late. My blood test came back, but it was negative, and we were confused. We were so sure that I WAS pregnant, that we spent that passing time already talking names, rooms, remodeling, plans, and birthdays. We went there. That baby was real. Except, there was no baby. My husband revealed his disappointment to me awhile afterwards. And I felt real and whole-hearted then, so we decided to actually try for a third baby.
Looking back, I’m not sure if I was sincere with that decision or just surprised by the quickness of it all. Regardless, my feelings changed. Two weeks into “trying” for a baby, I was pregnant. I was completely shocked by how quickly we conceived and felt caught off guard. Realistically, I expected it to take up to a year. I felt joy at first. We succeeded! And suddenly, every single moment seemed harder.
I didn’t want to be pregnant.
Realizing I was really pregnant took over each thought and activity. It was all-encompassing. I thought that I would have to give up my newest hobbies that I was having so much fun with. There would be no time. Every time my other kids fought, I sarcastically would say “and let’s have another!” I would wonder how in the world I could handle two toddlers with a newborn baby with a strong negative outlook. Each activity I was looking forward to seemed not feasible if we had another baby. We couldn’t go hike. We couldn’t travel. I couldn’t blog. The one thing that I really held on to when I was struggling in the first trimester was the possibility of finally having a girl after two boys. It was a lifeline I grasped at, saying I would be excited if we had a girl.
My patience was so short that I could feel it affect my daily interactions and parenting. I was open with my husband about all of my feelings, knowing that it’s important to share these thoughts with my history of anxiety. I had such a short fuse that spilled water would set me off. And after I blew up, the guilt would overcome me knowing that situations I would usually turn into learning moments or shrug off completely became times when I scared my own kids, raising my voice higher than I ever had before. I kept saying “I’m just so ANGRY.” My husband stepped in and helped tremendously at those times, giving me breaks to process alone. I was also open with my doctor throughout the struggle with these thoughts, and discussed different medications and homeopathic options.
We went in early for a gender screening ultrasound; something we broke our established gender announcement tradition for. I just had to confirm that it was girl. As soon as the Doppler hit my belly, it was like looking under a glass table at a baby sitting on top. A baby boy. No doubt about it. I was surprised that I didn’t cry in disappointment. And, again, something changed.
I think once I accepted that we were having another boy, my mentality changed. I started actively trying to think differently. I started taking Fish Oil. I could look at our two boys and wonder how our third would be, instead of what a hassle he would bring. I carved out time to just think about the baby- go pick out a new outfit for him, plan his nursery, organize our already loved baby items.
There wasn’t a specific turnaround moment, but within the second trimester I was happy again. Building and decorating a brand new nursery for him was a huge help in getting excited again. I will still get overwhelmed and snap every now and then, but I’m going to chalk that up as normal, now. I calm down, apologize, and show my kids how we come back from losing our cool. The most important tool I used through this journey was being open and honest, which wasn’t easy with all of the guilt that followed. I knew people tried for years to conceive and some are never successful. I was lucky. But if you can’t appreciate your own luck, the journey is hard.
And now I can’t wait to meet this perfect fit for our family.
Due to the nature of this post, the author has asked to remain anonymous. But she is hopeful that her story might make others who have experienced this feel less alone.