I found out I was pregnant on St. Patrick’s Day.
I remember it distinctly because I was planning to go out with friends later to get green beer at some bar.
Did not happen.
Instead, I called my best friend and bawled on the phone for an hour.
Clearly, a baby was not a part of my game plan at the time.
I was 22, recently graduated from college, and trying to survive my first year teaching middle school at an inner city school rough enough to scare any person out of parenthood.
I had always wanted to become a mom and I always knew it would probably be in partnership with my then boyfriend, just later.
After we saved up and traveled, got married and bought a house.
Sixteen years later I can look back on my surprise pregnancy and note that it was probably the single most important thing to ever happen to me -you know, once the shock wore off.
Facing a surprise pregnancy?
Here are some things to help get you through from someone who survived one!
Surprise! You’re Pregnant: Dealing with A Surprise Pregnancy
Take a Beat
Your mind is going to need to adjust to this big news. When you’re planning to become pregnant and actively trying, you are in a much different mindset. You’ve prepared yourself mentally for the lifestyle change, you’ve planned the next few years out in your mind, you’ve adjusted to the fact that everything about your day to day life is about to change. When you’re facing a surprise pregnancy, you haven’t done any of the prep work, mentally, emotionally, physically, or even financially. You need to give yourself some time to adjust. Don’t make any major decisions, or even feel to share the news with outsiders, until you’ve had time to process.
Give Your Partner a Break, Too
I remember calling my boyfriend and him hanging up on me when I told him. In hindsight, I figure I should’ve told him in person, but I was freaking out a little and couldn’t keep the news a secret for days until I saw him. His hang up was processing panic and he eventually called me back and was ready to face the facts with me. Initially I was angry, and then hurt by his reaction, but looking back on it, he did the same thing I did when I found out -panicked! I just didn’t have anyone to hang up on!
Start Taking Care of Yourself
The first thing I did when my 10th pregnancy test came back positive was whip out my calendar and count back to when this could’ve happened. I wanted to make sure it was after the girl’s night I’d had with friends that included way too many cocktails. Naturally, my OMG-I’m-a-mom brain was already panicking about the many ways I may’ve already harmed my baby. Turns out I was good, but I still needed to do a little healthy living catch up. When you’re planning a pregnancy, you’re already taking care of your body to help create an optimal environment for a healthy baby. When you’re not, you may need to immediately adjust your habits -cut out the happy hours, throw away the cigarettes, and start popping those prenatal vitamins.
Call Your Doctor
Prenatal care is a super important part of a healthy baby. Call your doctor, explain our situation, and they will help you determine when you need to be seen. Because my pregnancy was so surprising and I’d been having some ovulation issues, my doctor wanted to see me immediately to determine gestational age and care.
Don’t Let Others Tell You How to Feel
Or how to deal. Whether your pregnancy was welcomed and planned or a total surprise, how you feel and what you decide to do about it is your choice. Feel overjoyed, feel excited, feel anxious, feel sad -no matter what your feelings are they, like your body, are yours and you are entitled to them. Don’t let other people’s fears, feelings, or judgements determine how you feel about the news of your pregnancy. And know that, just like your body, your feelings about this may change. That’s why it’s important to give yourself time to think it through, tune out the people who are trying to influence you, and do what is best for you and your baby!
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