What no one tells you about becoming pregnant “by accident.”
Let’s begin by addressing the elephant in the room. Or rather, the baby in the stomach. If you’re reading this as a pregnant woman, congratulations! This is something you’re probably worried you won’t hear too often as someone who became pregnant unintentionally. At least, that’s one of the (many) things I was worried about.
Two years ago, I was spending my summer living in a gorgeous beach town, working at a hotel with a lot of fun people, and spending my time tanning on the beach or going out with my friends. I had decided to give myself the summer ‘off’ after four long years of working hard towards earning three Bachelor’s degrees (with honors, thank you very much). I told myself that summer would be the last chance for me to live carelessly before entering the corporate world that would inevitably suck me in for the next forty years. As the summer came to a close, I met a boy. I’m sure you can imagine the rest of the story…
A few weeks after this boy moved back home (to Canada, actually. Talk about inconvenient!), I started feeling sick. And by “sick,” I mean I started feeling like death. Why doesn’t anyone tell you morning sickness lasts all day and night?! I chose to follow the ignorance-is-bliss method and convince myself that this constant nausea was anything but pregnancy. I definitely could not be pregnant. Could it be an allergy? Acid reflux? A stomach disease?
After two more weeks of silently enduring the endless vomiting, ingesting the maximum daily servings of Tums and Pepcid, and deny-deny-denying, I couldn’t take it anymore. It was about time I faced the music. I called my mom and told her that I was still feeling very ill and didn’t know what to do. Her words hit me like a ton of bricks.
“Have you taken a pregnancy test?” she asked. How dare she say that word out loud?
My mom is a very no-nonsense type of person, and safe to say she did not approve of the ignorance-is-bliss method. She was not in the mood for my antics. She instructed me to go to the pharmacy immediately and purchase a test, which was the kick in the butt I had needed to actually address what was happening to my body.
An hour and several ClearBlue sticks later, I was unable to deny the obvious any longer. A couple of bright pink plus signs on grey-blue pieces of plastic were about to dictate the rest of my life.
My first thought: What the $@%& am I going to do?
My second thought: What will my family and friends say?
My third thought: It’s a boy, and I’m keeping him. Now, this last one is clearly unique to my situation, and I have no idea how I was able to feel so certain about the sex of my baby one second after learning I was pregnant, but I did. And, yes, he was a boy. My perfect, sweet boy.
I spent so many weeks in the beginning of my pregnancy worrying about what I was going to do, what people were going to think about me, how I was going to afford raising a child, and whether or not it was socially acceptable for me to participate in the “fun” parts of being pregnant. Do I still get to have a gender reveal if I’m an unmarried 23-year-old that no one was expecting to become pregnant any time soon? Even though I was physically carrying my son with me everywhere I went, I had never felt so alone.
I wrote this article so you don’t have to waste a single precious minute of your pregnancy worrying. I hope these 7 assurances bring you comfort and peace in your journey. You are not alone.
People Will Still Be Happy For You
After I got past the whole I’m-a-mom-now-what-the-hell phase of my pregnancy, my worries became more specific. Will people still be happy for me? I come from a very traditional, conservative, and at times, (sorry, guys) judgmental family. I was nervous as all hell to tell them the news. Will anyone even congratulate me? Am I allowed to accept congratulations for a baby I didn’t originally intend on having? Short answer: yes. Of course people congratulated me. Of course people were happy for me. They might have been shocked at the news, considering the last they’d heard I was single and had no plans on becoming pregnant. Once my friends and family realized I was ecstatic about having a baby boy, planned or not, they jumped right on board.
The Opinions Of Others Do Not Matter
Read that again. What you choose to do with your life is completely up to you. Whether you’re pregnant or not, no one else is entitled to an explanation of why you choose to act a certain way (unless, of course, it is harmful or dangerous). I’m sure there were plenty of screenshots exchanged and gossip sessions in sorority group chats about my pregnancy, but honestly, the words that were potentially said about me are none of my business. You know how the saying goes: what Sally says of Suzie says more about Sally than Suzie. Who cares what anyone else has to say about your pregnancy? You are about to have a beautiful new baby who will love you unconditionally and their opinion of you will be sky high.
No One Ever Feels Truly “Ready” To Have A Baby
Growing a human life inside your body is the single most amazing function of the female body. But, let me tell you, it is a LOT. The nausea starts to roll in. Then the dry skin. Then the swelling. Then the back aches. You get the picture. And not only is your body changing, but your lifestyle is, too. You have to be extremely mindful of your diet (you wouldn’t believe the amount of things recommended to restrict these days) and your exercise. You have to closely monitor everything from the temperature of your bath to the temperature of your yoga class. The changes feel neverending. When you become pregnant unexpectedly, you sort of feel cheated on the preparation front. Your time to mentally prepare was cut short, and you’re probably feeling a little undereducated and lost. The truth is, even women who are secure in their financial situations and happily married for years become overwhelmed by the thought of becoming pregnant. Women can say they are “waiting until they’re ready” all day long, but no one ever truly feels ready. There is nothing in the world like experiencing the physical, hormonal, and emotional changes your body goes through bringing a child into the world. And no amount of mental preparation, money in your savings account, or hours spent reading What To Expect will change that. You are doing your best, and your best is good enough.
50% Of All Pregnancies In The U.S. Are Unplanned
When I first read this statistic, I was shocked. I had to triple-check the facts. You’re telling me half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned? Why the hell isn’t this more widely discussed, then? It’s 2020. Is it really a secret that people are having premarital sex? Potentially with partners they aren’t in a relationship with? Come on. At first, I was embarrassed about becoming pregnant unexpectedly — they can look at my stomach and see that I had sex! — when in reality, it is not a shameful thing at all. Half of the other mothers out there in the U.S. got pregnant by accident, too! You probably even know some of them. Maybe they pretended like they were trying for a baby, or that they weren’t in fact done having children, but nonetheless, these pregnancies are extremely common.
You Are Not A (Insert Derogatory Expletive Here)
As previously mentioned, no one else’s opinion about your pregnancy matters, but we’re human. Deep down we know that words can hurt. Oftentimes, however, we’re the ones telling ourselves the most harmful things. It’s very easy to imagine the way that people will see you when you’re insecure about something. Big pregnant belly, no ring. Slut. Although I’m not proud to admit it, there were plenty of times this thought crossed my mind. Can you blame me? This sentiment has been drilled into me since middle school. Nice girls don’t have sex before marriage. Well, Karen, actually sometimes they do. I’m pretty nice. No matter what your circumstance may be, speaking negatively about yourself will never help the situation. As you now know, 50% of all pregnancies in the U.S. were unplanned. You are not a bad person because you got pregnant without meaning to. You are worthy of being a mother. You deserve to be excited. You are allowed to happily embrace all that you get to experience as a pregnant woman. You are not your insecurities.
You Are Allowed To Have A Baby Shower
One of the first things I did after learning I was pregnant was make myself a fake baby registry. Sounds fun, right? Well, I was actually doing it out of necessity, for research purposes. I added up everything I could think of that my baby was going to need because I assumed I was going to have to pay for everything myself. In fact, I thought I was going to have to do every single thing by myself. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I didn’t think I deserved a baby shower. I didn’t think I deserved any gifts — or any help, for that matter — at all. How could I expect my friends and family to gather and shower me with presents when I became pregnant so suddenly? As far as they know, I’m not even in a serious relationship, so clearly that means I don’t deserve to have a party thrown in my unborn child’s honor. Right? WRONG! Your pregnancy deserves all of the same treatment, excitement, and love as a planned pregnancy does. I’m going to tell you again, to make sure you are really hearing me: you are worthy.
You Are Going To Be A Great Mom
For some reason, as soon as the general public sees that you are growing a human inside of you, they seem to have an opinion on virtually everything. You begin to receive unsolicited advice left and right. Suddenly, everyone’s an expert on all of the choices you should be making for your body and your baby. People will even reach out their hand and try to touch your stomach without your consent! Can you imagine attempting to pet someone’s stomach who wasn’t pregnant? Think about how bizarre that would be. Although advice from veteran mothers can be beneficial, it can sometimes be a lot to handle. When all of the “helpful” tips and suggestions start to become too overwhelming, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. You are completely capable.
Becoming pregnant unexpectedly is extremely difficult. Pregnancy in and of itself is already an overwhelming, scary time for a lot of women — and adding stigmas, insecurities, and feelings of unpreparedness do not help your situation. I hope this article provided you with a little bit of assurance that everything is going to work out exactly how it is meant to. You are going to be an absolutely amazing mother, and your child is extremely lucky to have you. And last but not least, CONGRATULATIONS!