I remember the moment like it was just a few hours ago. The "calm before the storm" you feel while staring at a stick covered in your pee.
My husband and I were in Florida on our annual beach vacation with my side of the family. It was the week after the Fourth of July where we always enjoy an "ice cold Yueng Ling" on the beach, as my Grandpa loves to say.
About two days in, I noticed my boobs were slowly popping out of my bikini top as quickly as Dolly Parton's plastic surgery schedule. I didn't think much of it until I realized I was 5 days late to shark week. Trying not to freak out, I told my husband that we needed to make a trip to the drug store for a couple of tests just to make sure.
I chugged some water and crept into the bathroom, trying not to draw any attention to my box. And there it was. The "calm before the storm" moment. I held my breath and began praying that there would only be one line.
And then, there were two. As clear as day.
I turned the sink on and worked up a little more juice to try out another stick while tearing up in disbelief.
Two more lines. Clear as day.
I ran upstairs to the loft to find my husband anxiously waiting. I burst into tears and fell into his lap while being wrapped into his comforting arms immediately.
I was pregnant. We were going to be parents.
After only being married for 9 months, the first thought that came into mind was knowing that our lives exclusively with one another was over. It would never be "just the two of us" until we were much older. We had finally started coming up for air after experiencing so much hardship, and I felt that this would just continue the drowning feeling. We had finally powered through some major repercussions financially and emotionally from our wedding, and were beginning to come out on top. It just wasn't fair.
The second thought that rushed over me was realizing that I might not be in my hometown when becoming a mother. We had just finalized our plans to move from Colorado to California in the next month to pursue other goals and dreams. I couldn't believe it.
I also was very overwhelmed with a feeling of why I was able to get pregnant and women who so desperately wanted to be, couldn't. I had so many friends and people I knew who were trying so hard to conceive or had to deal with the tragedy of a miscarriage. And here I was, pregnant on complete accident. I even went as far as googling "do married couples give their child up for adoption?" wondering if that was even an option. Yes, you may be shocked or even horrified, but I did it and thought about it. Anything and everything raced through my mind.
We decided to follow through with California, and moved around the second week in August. During the drive there, I began experiencing the morning/all day sickness, and it was BAD. Like, I herniated a disc in my lower back that pinched my sciatic nerves from throwing up so hard-BAD. Because of the pain I was in, I could not get a job or actually walk. My life consisted of trying to find food I could keep down with a lot of Netflix and HGTV.
I was miserable and completely out of my comfort zone.
Not only was I without my immediate family and friends, but I was in a brand new place starting a brand new life all the while being pregnant.
Here's a little excerpt from my journal:
October 28th, 2015
Today, my feelings haven’t changed much. I try and force myself to think “happy thoughts” about this pregnancy, but it never lasts long. I just can’t shake the feeling of being uncomfortable in my own skin.
I constantly feel awkward when others, or even myself, touch my stomach. It’s like a feeling of shock if everybody you knew(and didn’t know) grabbed your ass and didn’t let go. I also genuinely hate how I look. I don’t have this “glow”. I feel overweight and unattractive. Nothing fits, including my own underwear, and it’s just discouraging. People make jokes about seeing me in the same yoga pants and t-shirt all the time, but they don't realize that it’s the only thing that fits...
...I feel like I am not allowed to be sad without the repercussions of everyone else’s opinions. I do not talk to anyone anymore because of the disappointment, the judgement, or the lack of understanding that will be produced.
I do not want to be pregnant. I do not want to be a mother so soon. I do not want the inevitable outcomes of having a child to take place. I am voiceless, unable to make a choice, and forced to be vulnerable to the people who shouldn’t have the right...
Growing up, I had always wanted 3 boys and 1 girl. I can't explain completely why that was, but a lot of it had to do with my 3 cousins that I was closest with. All boys. It was what I was used to and what I was able to relate to. I loved the dirt, the bugs, the crazy amount of food consumption, the sports, the wrestling; all of it. I wanted to be surrounded by the noise of cleats and bloody noses and have a little girl at the tail-end to grow up with protection of her older brothers.
But alas, at our 20 week appointment, we found out we were having a baby girl. Did I cry about it for weeks? Absolutely. And there were a lot of people that didn't understand it. The best way of explaining my feelings was by saying "I've dreamed about what my life would look like since I was a little girl, and now I have to erase years of ideas, hopes, and dreams, and start over".
About 3 months later in December, Corey and I decided to move back to Colorado. I was receiving a large amount of photography inquiries and he was offered more work as well. My parents also had a property open up, so we were able to move in the day we drove back. Unfortunately, we also signed up to move into a property that just had the previous tenants evicted. And they did NOT leave anything in "tip top shape". Graffiti on every wall, floors that had not been swept/mopped for 10 months, cockroaches from the piles of food left under the refrigerator and oven, tobacco seeping through the ceilings, 8 feet of sewer back up due to zip ties and straws stuffed into the sink, grease caked onto the cabinets, piles of dog poop in the back yard and window wells, and soda and beer spills throughout the entire place. So, to make this new place feel like "home", we had a LOT of work to do.
I was so overwhelmed and exhausted while trying to grow accustomed to the idea that I would be a mother in just 3 months. People continued to ask me, "Are you excited??" and I had to honestly answer "I'm not sure", because I'm wasn't. I still questioned God's intentions, I was nervous as all hell to push a mini human out of my uterus, and I truly did NOT like being pregnant. It's uncomfortable, it's extremely difficult on my body, and you're just really damn tired. I was also SO sick of hearing people tell me "It'll all change when you hold her in your arms".
On March 29th, exactly a week after my due date, my water broke at 3am. My midwife came shortly after because my contractions quickly escalated to 4 minutes a part and 1 minute long. I labored for a short(in birthing life) 5 hours, and Lenora Wesley was born at 8:29am. No drugs, no water; just me, 2 of the BEST midwives in the world, and my incredibly loving husband.
About 2-3 hours later(I can't honestly remember much that day), it was Corey and I and Lenni. Instant parenthood and instant responsibility. But somehow, I knew what to do. People talk about motherly instinct and intuition, but nobody really tells you where it comes from or when it starts. It started immediately for me. I was now a mother to this tiny little being in my arms.
Lenni is 4 months old now and just a ball of cuteness. We have definitely changed a lot in our lives, but have also worked extremely hard on a sense of normalcy. We both still work and rotate watching her as much as possible, and take her with us EVERYWHERE. She is now a part of our lives instead of the other way around.
Sometimes I miss life before being a mom, but then I can't truly imagine life without Lenora in it. We are now a family of 3 and it's great. Did I feel this overwhelming connection and peace when she was born? Nope. But I love the hell outta her and she's all mine. Being a mom is no joke, but I am one and it's really pretty cool.
"...before you were knit together in your mother's womb, I knew you."