My pregnancy is what some people might call an “unplanned pregnancy,” but what any mother calls a “surprise.”
Around this time last year, I discovered I was pregnant. I was not (and still am not) married, and the positive sign on the pee stick of the home pregnancy test rocked my world. To his credit, Jason, my boyfriend, handled it pretty well. I, on the other hand, was a mess.
It’s not like I should have been too surprised. My life has never taken the predictable route. Still, I was in shock for about two weeks. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried–and a lot.
I didn’t think I was ready for pregnancy (looking back–can you ever be?), and I was unsure of so many things.
In some ways, those nine months passed ever so slowly, while in other ways they were over in a blink of an eye. I enjoyed being pregnant, even though it had its complications–I had morning sickness for about five months and then later I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Labor was no picnic, either. I hemorrhaged after delivery and experienced spinal headaches from my epidural.
With all the complications from my pregnancy and delivery, I thought that taking care of my baby would have to be breeze. And it was, in that first week or two. Owen was feeding well, and getting all this wet and dirty diapers. I was overjoyed and was completely in love with this new man in my life.
Then something changed. Jason went back to work, my parents left, and my hormones raged. Owen had colic, and screamed for hours on end. I felt like I didn’t know what, how, or when to do anything.
Suddenly, and quite to my surprise, I yearned to be at work.
Work was something I knew how to do, something I was fairly good at, and something that was relatively easy. This new job—being mom—was harder than anything I ever imagined. I didn’t like not knowing what to do, what was coming next, or how to calm my own son.
Craving structure and order in my life, I scoured baby magazines and books for information, and I called mom friends and my own mom begging for advice and guidance. I searched high and low for someone—friend, doctor, book author—who could help me excel in my new job as mommy. I soon realized that no one could give me the magical answer, but talking helped. As time passed, I became more comfortable in my new position (as everyone predicted—it did get easier!).
When I really seemed to get a handle on things, it was about time to go back to work.
The dread set in. How could I leave my son with strangers at day care? How could I be away from Owen, period? But after a rocky start, I discovered heading back to work was surprisingly easy. I quickly realized how much I missed adult interaction (and being able to sit down and actually enjoy a meal instead of quickly shoving cold morsels of food in my mouth between cries, feedings, and naps).
My job is part of my life and part of who I am—just like being a mom. I’ll savor every minute I can spend with Owen, while trying to excel at work. It’s the best I can do.