On February 3, I took a pregnancy test, in the way you do when you’ve sort of been trying to get pregnant and you sort of hope you might be but don’t really think so (because, after all, why would this be the month when so many others weren’t?). Which is to say casually. I expected to pee on the stick, glance at a single line, and throw it in the trash so I could carry on with my day.
It was late in the day on a Friday. Since I expected it to be negative, I didn’t worry about the whole first-morning-urine thing, and when I looked there was a very, very faint second line. It was so faint I wasn’t even sure it was there, so I hollered down the stairs to my husband.
“Um, can you come up here for a minute?”
“Did you pee on a stick?!”
He knows me so well.
He came up and agreed that, yes, there was in fact a second line there.
As the internet says, a line is a line. But, preferring definitive results, I got a digital test and peed on that the next morning.
“Pregnant,” it said.
That was definitive all right.
I was excited, briefly, but that expected reaction was quickly eclipsed by something totally unexpected. I felt as though it was something I didn’t deserve.
Given my experience with postpartum depression after Connor was born I expected to be anxious. I figured it would be normal if I worried a little bit, and wondered if I could do this again. But I didn’t expect to feel completely unworthy.
But that’s how I felt. I was totally overwhelmed and, like crashing waves, a single refrain played over and over in my head:
“I shouldn’t be allowed to do this again.”
I had no idea what to do with those emotions. And my husband certainly didn’t know what to do with them. How do you talk someone down from a reaction like that? But that’s the thing about it – there’s nothing rational about that sort of reaction, just like there’s often nothing rational about an anxiety attack. I’ve had enough of those to know that, but I also know that in the moment it doesn’t matter whether it’s rational or not.
There was really no talking me down from those feelings. I had to let them in, let them wash over me, and then eventually let them go.
And they did eventually go.
I do worry about how it will go this time, of course. And at times I wonder if I’m crazy to risk it again. But with a little bit of space and time, and some deep breaths, I no longer feel undeserving of the chance to become a mother again.
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