January 2nd, 2019 I found out that I was one month pregnant with our first child. I’m currently six months pregnant – barely fitting into my shorts and craving chocolate milk all day long – and the fact that I’m going to be a mom still hasn’t set in yet. I think of a million questions and run through every emotion in a single day.
Johnathan and I weren’t necessarily trying to get pregnant. I always feel bad admitting that. We’ve had people ask us if we were trying or how long we tried and I always clam up. I know how difficult conceiving a child can be and I didn’t ever want to sound like I was flaunting the fact that it just happened for us.
I also feel guilty when people ask me how I’ve been feeling. I’ve had a ridiculously easy pregnancy. The nausea was manageable with a breath mint, the vomiting only happened one time, and the fatigue was completely tolerable due to the fact that I work from home – close to multiple places to take a nap. I know that this is not the case with most women. I’ve had friends who threw up nonstop for nine straight months. Or friends who couldn’t get out of bed due to pain. The only symptom I’ve had is guilt.
After the pregnancy test was positive, the only emotion I felt prior to that first appointment was “oh my god.” I kept telling myself that the emotional connection and reality of being a mom would kick in once I saw the baby. The second his little body fluttered across the screen I looked over at my husband and he was fighting back tears. He was speechless. He had the moment.
I didn’t. The only thought going through my head was, “What do I do next?” I made spreadsheets, read every mom-to-be forum on the internet, bought maternity clothes and baby clothes. But nothing seemed to make me really connect with the reality that I was growing life inside of me and that I was going to be a mom.
We heard the heartbeat for the first time. Found out we were having a boy. Did the 20 week anatomy scan. Started prepping the nursery. Still nothing. I keep waiting for this moment when I will feel like a mom.
Mother’s Day was this past weekend and I felt like a fraud. I looked like a mom-to-be with my belly leading the way, but I still didn’t feel it. My husband showered me with first mother’s day gifts. My parents and in laws celebrated me; I even got several well-wishing texts from friends. But the whole thing felt wrong to me, like I was a fake.
Don’t get me wrong – I already love this little boy a lot. Sometimes when I’m in the nursery I can picture him sitting there on the floor playing with blocks. When I walk into the basement I can picture him playing video games with his friends. I already have so many hopes and dreams for this baby. I just can’t get out of the planning mentality and into the mom-mentality.
This feeling of guilt over how easy it was for us to conceive, how uneventful my pregnancy has been, and how I’ve had a difficult time emotionally connecting with my unborn child has led me to keep relatively quiet about the whole thing. We made a public announcement around 12 weeks – mainly so we didn’t have to keep sneaking around Buy Buy Baby with the fear of running into someone we knew.
I don’t want guilt to drive my entire experience with motherhood. I’ve heard friends talk about the mom-guilt and never thought it could start this early. Worrying about what other people think runs deep within me. It was the driving force behind my anxiety and my eating disorder. I don’t want it to carry into motherhood too.
Which is why I’m thankful to have such an incredible support system. I am beyond grateful that Johnathan is along for this ride with me. He is my rock. I have incredible grandparents-to-be who are already head-over-heels for this little babe. I also have a good circle of mom-friends to bounce my worries and insecurities off.
I know one day that feeling will kick in. It could be when I feel the first real kick. It could be when my water breaks. It could be days after giving birth. It could be when he takes his first steps. But I know it will hit me eventually. And when it does, I’m going to look back on this feeling of mom-poster syndrome and laugh.