I wasn’t sure that I was going to have more the one child. It’s not that I didn’t want more kids after Beezus was born, it’s just that I didn’t know if we were meant to. I had always dreamed of having a big family. But being so young and unprepared…and after struggling so much to just survive, I shoved all those dreams in a drawer. Whenever I got asked if we were having more kids, I just got in the habit of saying no. It was easier that way. I said it with such conviction, I think that I even started to believe it. Somewhat.
Deep down in my heart, and in the very back of my mind, I grieved the big family that I’d never have. I watched friends get married and starting their families. I often wondered what that felt like. They made married life look like such fun. And then when it was time for them to start having kids? Excitement. Everyone was so excited for them. Including me. I was. I really, really was. But I couldn’t help but wish it had been that way for me. And I knew…I KNEW that it was part of the deal. Unplanned, teenage pregnancies don’t get celebrations. They don’t. And they shouldn’t. I knew this. But that doesn’t make it any easier when you believe that you will never have that. That you will never be on the receiving end of that kind of joy and celebration.
And so I pretended that kind of sadness and disappointment didn’t exist. I continued surviving and fighting for my little family of three. It was hard. God knows it was hard. There was so much baggage to deal with. So much uncertainty. So much hurt. And I kept on being happy for my friends and for my family and all of their joy and triumphs. I threw myself into being supermom. Or trying to be. Whatever that is. But I never stopped wondering. No matter how deep back in my mind those thoughts were, I never stopped thinking about it.
All of a sudden it was time to celebrate Beezus’ fourth birthday. We were planning a (cup)cake decorating party. The family would be there of course, but a lot of preschool friends would be joining us this year as well. I used my lunch hours to run all the errands. And the Friday before the party, I was finishing up. I was busy making sure I had everything on my list. I had one more stop to make when I started to feel awful. I remember thinking “If I don’t eat something RIGHT NOW, I’m going to puke.” And then I couldn’t think of anything else. And then I started counting days and months and…realizing that maybe there was a reason that I was feeling like I might be sick. And then I worried. And wondered about all those little pills I took every day. Well, then that would be impossible, right? But that small percentage people would talk about? Would I really be a part of that small percentage that could get pregnant on birth control pills? Of course I could. Because, of course. And all of a sudden, there was one more errand I would need to run on that lunch hour. Not that I needed it. I knew what I would find out. And I knew that I was already at least a couple months pregnant.
I kept it from everyone at first. And I’m not even sure I slept at all that night. But I had a party to get ready for and a four year old to celebrate, there was no time for me to feel any feelings or tell anyone about what was going on. I think my sisters suspected something. My husband suspected nothing, bless him. But thankfully, the party went off without a hitch and the kids had a blast. I ate plenty of nachos to ward off any morning sickness.
I can’t remember if I told my husband I was pregnant later that night or early the next morning. To be honest, I don’t even remember how I told him. Just like I don’t remember how I had told him four years prior. Once again, we were looking at a pregnancy that we hadn’t planned. At least this time we were married. And in our twenties. And owned our own home. But we were still unprepared for this turn of events. There were about two to three hours of “HOLY. SHIT.” before something changed in both of us. And then it was “this is ok!” and we thought of the office and how it would need to be turned into the baby’s room. And then it was “we’re having a baby!” and it started to get exciting. And then we were excited. My heart pounded.
My dad happened to call a little later, just after we had told Beezus the news. My older sister had stopped by their house and I think he invited us over as well. My brothers were already there – they still lived at home, so we called my younger sister and told her to meet up at Mom and Dad’s. We said nothing and gave them no specific reason, but practiced with Beezus what she would say while we drove over. I think we were the last ones to get there. And as we gathered in the kitchen, Beezus suddenly became shy and forgot everything she was supposed to say. And so I brought my face close to hers and whispered the prompts in her ear. In the tiniest of voices, Beezus announced.
“My mom. Is having. A baby.”
My mom said over and over how you could’ve knocked her over with a feather she was so surprised. She had believed me when I had said no more kids. My sisters knew something was up from the birthday party. My brothers probably reacted just as you would imagine teenage boys would. And even if my family was still worried about us, or were in disbelief, they were happy for me. For us. There wasn’t the sadness and disappointment and fear that had been there years before. It was my moment. Right there, in the kitchen in the home I grew up in, my family handed me my moment of joy and celebration that I never thought I would have.
I know it might sound a little silly. And the more I read over this, the more I wonder if I’m going to hit publish because it makes us sound like the most irresponsible little turds on the planet. But somehow I have to find a way to let that go. Because what I’m learning as I go back and write about all of this, is that I’m the person I am now because of all the unplanned. We are this awesome family of four made out of the unplanned. For whatever reason, this is how our family was blessed to be ours. It wasn’t meant to be easy. But this is part of our story. An important part of our story. And as unconventional as our family is, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.