Motherhood doesn't define me.
"Oh my God," That was the first thing I blurted out. I stood over the bathroom sink holding the pregnancy test, paralyzed. I never thought this day would come. Even though there was an inner voice that said otherwise, my brain couldn't make sense of it. As I slowly let go of the stick, everything hit me all at once.
I was going to be a mother… and I was terrified.
For years, I never aimed or wanted to achieve motherhood. While I respected women who longed to create families, the goal of having one never crossed my mind. Instead, I made it my mission to do the exact opposite.
My dream was to be a writer, an artist, a pirate, a rebel who broke the mold and made her own path. The passion to live life outweighed everything that I was viewed as reckless. As I grew up, the mission to live was ever-present. I traveled across the US, climbed mountains, read tons of books, went to rock concerts, smoked weed, had lovers, drank, got tattoos, and even showcased my artwork in gallery shows. This was the life I'd always wanted.
I was a free woman with no partner or kids and I loved it.
Then as life would have it, I met a man and fell in love. He was no ordinary man. I'd been with men who wanted to marry me and my response was to leave, but he was different. He was a dreamer, a lifer like me. When I asked how important it was to be married or have children, he agreed that it wasn't a priority as long as we were together. A man after my own heart.
We became explorers together, documented life around us, and got married at city hall years later. Each day we lived with so much passion and excitement. Life was perfect.
Then came the day. This day. The day I realized I was pregnant.
It was on the first day of July. After finishing up my morning meditation, a voice inside of me popped up and said, "You're pregnant." When I opened my eyes, I felt a bead of sweat travel down the back of my neck.
During our marriage, we had a few pregnancy scares. Once they proved to be false, I always had a sigh of relief. "Be careful," I'd tell myself. "Next time might be different." With every negative result, it was a confirmation that I could still live the way I wanted to. So naturally as I went to the bathroom and took the test, I prepared for the negative sign.
Except for this time, it was positive.
My eyes stared at the test thinking it was a mistake. This must be an old test, there's no way, I thought. So, like a character in a comedy movie, I ran to the drugstore and bought multiple boxes only to have them come up with the same result: Positive.
Although I believe that every woman has the right to choose what she does with her body, I decided to tell my husband before I made any decisions. Nervous about what he might say I felt myself pacing back and forth.
What had I done? What have I gotten us into? We were supposed to be life-long explorers!
When he arrived home and I told him the news, I prepared for a shocked reaction. Instead, it was the exact opposite. An enormous smile beamed from his face as he held me with love and said, "This is great news!"
I stood there, stunned. He was happier about the news than I was and it chilled me to the bone.
I laid in bed that night and rationalized the idea of getting an abortion. I'm not the mothering type, I told myself. The baby would have an awful mother. Why put it through years of therapy and grief to have a mother who never wanted them to exist? I fully support women who choose abortions or adoptions, so it only made sense for me to do it.
As I woke up the next morning preparing myself to go to the doctor, I stared at my reflection in the hallway mirror and realized that I couldn't go through with it. Not because I didn't have the strength or didn't believe in it, but because in my bones and in my core, I didn't want to.
I went to the bedroom and began to cry hysterically. The truth was I actually wanted to go through with this. How could this be!?
I didn't believe in marriage and motherhood, yet here I was married and pregnant.
How did I get here?
Had I wanted this all along?
Was I fooling myself this whole time?
Why was it that I wanted this baby but was terrified of becoming a mother?
Where did this fear come from?
Despite the fact that I was a free woman who lived my dreams and had more to fulfill, deep down this ideal life was based on control. Everything was controlled, orchestrated, and manipulated to my liking. I had controlled every action and outcome of my life. This time I was embarking on unknown territory and entering into a life of what I thought would be utter misery.
Then it dawned on me that if I wanted to have this baby, I needed to give the idea of marriage and motherhood a brand-new makeover. I didn't realize that I had the power to alter it, change it, mold it to what was best for me and my growing family. There's no definitive rule book to what a family is supposed to look like, what a mother is supposed to look like, so why pigeon-hole myself in those barriers? I could still be me.
I could still be me; all while being married with children.
Throughout each phase of my pregnancy, I would partake in self-healing. I made a promise that before my baby would be born, I needed to make peace and say goodbye to the scared little girl inside. The girl who controlled every outcome of her life for fear of living in misery. The girl who thought she never wanted to be a mother, when in reality, was afraid that she wasn't good enough. The girl who needed to understand that change is inevitable and it wouldn't ruin her, but mold her into a better human.
We don't have to change everything to be a good mother. I could still be myself.
But we can transform into something better.
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