Imagine you are in your late twenties and have just reached what you feel is the summit of understanding adulthood. On this summit is where you feel a beautiful breeze that seems to reward you for creating the life you have envisioned. Now, picture yourself exhaling and settling into this feeling for a mere five minutes before looking up and realizing the summit you are standing on is actually a ledge on the side of a mountain whose actual peak stretches far beyond what you can currently see.
This has been my 2020, a year that served me one of the biggest surprises that caused me to stretch beyond my limited views.
I started this year on cloud nine; I had paid off a car that was in my name and I felt like I was living the life in Midtown Atlanta with a couple of roommates. Things were not perfect, but I had let go of the idea of perfection. At least that is what I told myself. You see, I thought I had somehow cracked the code of what being an adult felt and looked like for me. Me with my full-time job with benefits, a partner I was discussing marriage with and a set of lifelong friends I felt lucky to have.
Imagine my horrified surprise when I found out I was pregnant.
Maybe it was pure arrogance or extreme denial, but I initially shrugged off the idea that I could be pregnant. “Of course not,” I thought to myself. “I would know if I was pregnant.” I simply refused to accept that pregnancy was possible because it was not part of my plans this year. My plan was to start trying for a baby after I turned 30. In my mind, waiting a year would give me time to prepare to become a mother and welcome a new addition to my life.
After waltzing through life in complete denial for a while, I realized that I needed to face the reality of having a living embryo in my uterus. The idea that I would have time to prepare to become a mother was blowing distantly in the wind and all I could do was decide to continue with my pregnancy or decide to terminate it.
When I made the decision to allow the pregnancy to progress, I simultaneously decided to face reality and learn how to surrender my expectations. It took a lot of pep talk, swallowing my pride and asking for support to get through the first stage of acceptance.
Now that I am a couple of months away from giving birth to my son, I have realized that my unplanned pregnancy is not destroying my plans—though when I first found I was pregnant, I thought it was. I need to accept the way I felt then, as well as the lessons I have learned since.
The more my body has transformed, the more I have relinquished my idea of trying to control every scenario and outcome. I do not possess a magical life wand and as soon as I started making peace with that, I began to breathe easier.
Here is the thing: Life will pivot whether it aligns with our expectations or not.
I am a fan of Deadpool, and I think often of when Wade Wilson states, “Life is an endless series of train wrecks with only brief, commercial-like breaks of happiness.” While some people may think that is morbid, I like to think that it serves as a reminder that life is full of imperfect moments. It does not happen the way we think it should. Many times, life just happens. We have to decide if we will deal with the reality of life’s moments or if we will bury our heads in the sand, holding on to all our expectations about how things are supposed to go.
Maybe I did not plan to become pregnant this year, but it turns out that pregnancy caused me to mature a little more. It has taught me how to slow down and appreciate life’s moments instead of living inside my head.
Although I know that I still have a lot to learn, I am grateful that my baby decided to choose me to carry him this year. I can only imagine the lessons raising him will bring over the years.