This is the story of my first pregnancy: the one that made me into a young mama.
I believe in sharing my story because I am confident that there is someone out there who can benefit from hearing it. I would never recommend that you follow the same path that I did, or that you do the opposite. The beauty of hindsight is that I have processed most of the lessons that this pregnancy brought with it. I can now see that the challenging times were actually life-changing moments in disguise.
I want to share my experience so that if you’re reading this and you’re facing the decision of becoming a young mum, you might find comfort in my words and know that whatever you choose to do, you will be ok.
Growing up I always knew that I wanted to be a mother. I had names picked out for my future children. I imagined that some time in my (late) 20s I would meet the love of my life, get hitched and have four babies. My prediction was three girls and a boy.
But life didn’t pan out the way that I imagined.
I did fall in love, but I wasn’t married until our eldest was nearly two. That beautiful bouncing bubba was a boy, not a girl. And all the names I had chosen were vetoed by my husband when the time came for naming our babies!
Less than a month after my 21st birthday, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite normal so I bought a pregnancy test and peed on the stick. After the mandatory three minute wait, I looked down at two little pink lines.
Positive. Pregnant. Knocked up.
I had met Zane less than a year earlier.
I was 20 years old; he was 32.
It was the definition of a whirlwind romance. We fell for each other instantly and were inseparable from Day One. Eight weeks into our relationship I moved in with him, and not long after that our relationship became a long-distance one. Zane’s in the Navy, and in our first year together we spent six months separated by the sea.
The theme of our first year together was Change.
We fell in love. I moved out of home, and into Zane’s place. I left my casual job at a newsagency and started working longer hours in a “proper” job as a receptionist. Zane and I moved house, which was left up to me as he was away. I started my Diploma in Business Admin – not my dream course but a step in the right direction for a girl who was previously very lost. One of my best friends moved to another state. I turned 21. And then I fell pregnant.
In the space of 12 months, virtually every part of my life changed. My job, my home (twice), my relationship status, my social life, my body, my freedom.
The day I found out I was pregnant, Zane was away visiting his family. I remember pacing back and forth in my apartment, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. I called Zane and his phone rang out. I wanted to call my Mum, but I was scared to tell her as I had no idea how she would react (FYI – she reacted amazingly when the time did come to tell her 🙂 ). The house felt really empty; just me and my sesame seed-sized baby.
Sick of waiting for Zane to return my call, I dialled my best friend Emma instead, and our conversation went something like this:
ME: “Hi, so umm, I think I’m pregnant. I did a test. I’m pregnant.”
EMMA: Slight pause. “I’m coming over.”
Half an hour later, Emma appeared at my front door, bearing some essential supplies: a block of chocolate and a block of cheese! We ate all the food – which I would have loved to wash down with vodka! – and we wrote a list of things I had to do before the baby was born. It was about 100 items long, and included things like Tell my parents I’m pregnant and Buy pink curtains (at this stage I was still convinced I was having a girl!)
That day, my emotions oscillated between panic and hysterical laughter.
At some point that afternoon, Zane called me back and he seemed completely unfazed by the news. Excited even. About the exact opposite of my reaction.
The next week passed with a mix of doctor’s appointments, mild morning sickness, extreme fatigue and excessive Googling of pregnancy symptoms.
I visited my GP, anxiously gripping Zane’s hand as I told her, “I think I’m pregnant”.
“What makes you think that?” she asked calmly.
“Well, I did a pregnancy test and it was positive. SoI did a second test. It was positive too.”
“Then you’re definitely pregnant,” she said smiling. “Congratulations!”
Congratulations. I never knew what to say when people congratulated me on being pregnant. It all felt so out of my control, and definitely not like an achievement. “Congratulations” was the kind of thing you said to someone who had just graduated from uni or been given a promotion.
What I really wanted people to say was, how do you feel?
I was waiting for someone to acknowledge how utterly freaked out I was, but no one did. Nobody asked me, are you sure this is what you really want?
Just to be clear – I am beyond grateful for the way my friends and family supported me through my pregnancy. They never judged me or made me feel different. They celebrated me and my growing bump, and they looked after me when I needed it.
But sometimes I wonder how it could have turned out if somebody had asked me that question.
Looking back, I can see that the challenges of being a young mama were present from the earliest weeks of my pregnancy. I had already started to experience the isolation, confusion, relationship conflict and self-doubt that was exacerbated once Jack was born.
If I could go back to that day – the day that I learned I was having a baby – and give myself some advice, this is what I would say:
Trust yourself. Listen to your intuition. You are the only person who can give you what you need to be happy and healthy. Whatever decision you make, make it from a place of love. You’re going to be OK.
That was Part 1 of my first pregnancy story. I hope you enjoyed it, and please check back here next week for the second half of the story: The Day That I Became a Young Mama.
Now it’s over to you: Who was the first person you told about your pregnancy? How did they react? How did you feel when you saw those two pink lines on the stick? I would be honoured if you shared your story in the comments below.