I told my husband we were expecting via text message.
Motherhood was never on my list of aspirations – wait, let me rephrase. Motherhood was never something I aspired to as a de facto life goal. I didn’t yearn to be a mommy. I didn’t feel my life would be empty without a child. I was ambivalent about kids for years, and I knew if there ever came a day when I wanted a child, that child wouldn’t be filling an empty place in my life (what a heavy burden to place on a child, the responsibility of making me feel complete) – I would make space for that child. When I met my husband and we got married, it was still a couple of more years before I decided having a family would be nice, and it was something we should plan for, “when we were ready.”
Well, the thing is, you never feel entirely ready, and life rarely goes exactly to plan. We started to get a little, ahem, lax in our use of protection (relying on my admittedly dubious tracking of my cycles), and one day in April I decided I need to take a pregnancy test or I might actually lose my mind.
It wasn’t the first time I’d taken one. Back when I first started sleeping with my husband (then boyfriend), despite using protection diligently, my anxiety compelled me to take pregnancy tests on several occasions. Each time in those early years, there was a sense of real fear and panic – my boyfriend was unemployed at the time, we were living in a rent controlled apartment owned by my folks, we had to car share our dilapidated ’98 Mazda with my father-in-law (we only had it two weeks each month), and I was in grad school. I mean, I stand by the “you never feel entirely ready,” but I was totally not ready. I took each pregnancy test with shaking hands and weak knees, and breathed a hefty sigh of relief when they turned out to be negative.
By the time I took this test in April of 2014, I’d noticed the last few tests I’d taken, there was a significant amount of excitement along with the anxiety as I waited for results, and when the tests inevitably came back negative, the feeling of relief was tempered by something that tasted more and more potently of disappointment.
My husband, at that time, was working 5 pm to 2 am, so on Friday afternoons, it wasn’t uncommon for me to either go and stay at my mother’s house to visit and hang out with my family, or to visit until late afternoon and go for a long walk with my brother. That day I had been out with my brother (who had met me at my house around 2:30)until around 6 or so; I had fun, but the later it got, the more and more distracted I became. I knew I was going home that day to take a pregnancy test, and my husband knew, too.
Despite the familiar mix of nerves and excitement, the routine I had become accustomed to had me fully expecting to see a negative in the window when I picked it back up. When I saw the double lines, time stood still. Yeah, I know it’s a cliche, but Jesus Christ, like, my heart stopped beating and everything just – stopped. Basically, as we say on the Internet, I completely lost the ability to can.
I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, taking the test when I was home alone on a Friday night – my husband was always supportive of whatever I decided to do, and I think my rationale for not waiting until morning was that I would have a miserable night if I didn’t get the uncertainty resolved as soon as possible, because that sounds like the kind of rationalizing, short-sighted bullshit I like to spew, and he was trying to give me agency because, hey, I was the one crawling up the walls with anxiety. His attitude – through all the pregnancy scares and pregnancy not-so-scary-maybe-even-excitings was, “Whatever happens, I will support you” – so it was really about my peace of mind.
When I got the result, he had only been at work a couple of hours and I didn’t want to call him and get him in trouble, so I sent a text: “I think it’s positive.”
I swear to God, I checked it about a dozen times and fucking Googled the brand name and “positive result” on Google Images, then dug the box out of the goddamn trash can to re-read the instructions and result description, so I more than “thought” it was positive.
If there was any residual doubt in me about how to feel, it was wiped away when he called me. He was calm and level-headed, and sounded pleased, though he still stopped to ask what I wanted to do. Our conversation was fairly one-sided — him reassuring me of the financial aspect of it, me whispering “Oh my God, oh my God,” over and over again. I had slightly more animated and reciprocated conversations when I called my sister and my best friend later that night.
By 9 pm, I was online Googling nursery decor and making fandom posters for the nursery out of Adventure Time and Doctor Who fanart I found on the Internet. If there had been any part of me feeling ambivalent about the results, they were fast fading before I went to bed that night.
It’s not an exciting story, but it’s mine.
What did you do when you found out you were expecting?