Dream & Inspire
So we weren't trying, but we weren't not trying, if you know what I mean. We had been kind of "winging it" since we got married in 2016, and I even went as far as taking the morning after pill after a time when I thought there was a chance of getting pregnant. That's how much I didn't want to get pregnant at the time. (Hey, we were going away to Vegas for a friend's birthday and I did NOT want to be pregnant in Vegas.) Married and still taking the morning after pill...I felt sort of ashamed for that, but not ashamed enough to NOT take it.
(And if you're wondering why we didn't use birth control - I got a DVT blood clot while on birth control in 2015 and had to immediately discontinue the use of BC.) I was severely invested in my career and my husband, Joe, really supported that. I figured that we were in the clear for a while since past slip ups resulted in zero babies. It was almost scary how in the clear we had been, which had me sometimes wondering if I could even get pregnant.
After a day at wine fest, complemented with a night of partying for Cinco de Mayo, I stumbled home and fell asleep, not knowing the next day would change my life. The next morning, Joe woke me up so we could get ready for church--he does the videography every Sunday at our church--and I just felt off. (And don't act like you haven't been to church after a night of partying lol.) Now trust me, college and being over 30 taught me what a crucial hangover was, but this feeling I had was not that. Nonetheless, I pushed my way through. We went to brunch after church, still feeling sick. Joe suggested we stop and get a pregnancy test on the way home, and I begrudgingly agreed. We got home and as I opened the test in the bathroom, I was nervous as hell. Literally, as soon as I started to pee on the stick, that test immediately showed the plus sign and the vertical line, signifying 'Pregnant.' I brought the test back in the room where Joe was laying on the bed watching TV, handed it to him...
And then I just cried...and cried some more. It wasn't tears of joy: it was honestly tears of sadness. All I saw was my entire career and our current comfortable lifestyle flash in front of my eyes. I always wanted kids for sure, just not right then. After I finished crying, I said to him, "What are we going to do? How are we going to do this? What about my career? What about us? We aren't where we want to be in life yet." Joe held me and just responded, "We're going to have this baby and be fine. I love you." And that was the end of that convo. Still in shock, I texted a picture of the positive test to a few close friends with some expletives, and trust me, they understood my mental state because I was always very honest regarding how I felt about having a baby in this current space of my life.
I really didn't want to be pregnant. Joe is an amazing, supportive husband and we have a healthy marriage, and I STILL didn't want to be pregnant. Marriage is hard enough in itself, and we were totally mastering and killing that aspect of our life. We had a good groove going, but to add a kid to this mix was super scary. Outwardly looking in, we may have been "relationship goals" and it looked like a baby was our next step; however, we--well I--was so far from it. Of course when we told our families, they were SUPER excited as this will be the first grandchild for both sets of parents, so for that, I was happy...for THEM. Within a month of us telling our families, Joe and I both lost our grandmothers within a week of each other; moreover, the new baby became the new joy for both sets of our parents. Though we had told Joe's grandmother we were expecting (she was so excited!), I felt guilt that I didn't tell my Grandma the news the last time I saw her. Even still, I was mad that I had to disrupt my current life on the account of someone else unexpectedly showing up.
Nonetheless, being pregnant meant I would really have to break up with my current lifestyle and was now forced into a new blind relationship without ever mourning the loss of the old me. That was devastating.
Being pregnant now meant I couldn't enjoy my glass of wine or champagne after work or with friends. That was my thing, and to have to give up that freedom, was a big deal for me. My happy hours turned into me being a homebody. Being pregnant meant that I couldn't rip and run and travel like I used to do whenever and however I wanted both physically and financially. All day nausea curved this on-the-go spirit too. Being pregnant meant being super moody and dependent upon Joe for the most basic things whether around the house or for our business. I'm really big on partnership, so having to depend on someone to do basic stuff just didn't sit well with me. Nonetheless, being pregnant meant I would really have to break up with my current lifestyle and was now forced into a new blind relationship without ever mourning the loss of the old me. That was devastating.
I spent the first trimester, and the early parts of the second trimester, really coming to terms with this. I cried....A LOT and just felt down about this experience. Not because it was physically draining (besides having to give myself a shot of blood thinners daily, I physically felt fine), but I felt mentally traumatized. Though I was never worried about how I would look while pregnant, I now regret every single time I ever thought I was fat. (Man, we as woman are hard on ourselves!) I was depressed, but no one talks about being depressed while pregnant. I Googled my symptoms, of course, and I was surprised to read that nearly 14-23% of pregnant women experience depression; however, publicly, conversations are usually all about postpartum depression which is definitely more common. It even got to a point where Joe asked me, "Are you even happy that we're having this baby, and that you're having it with me?" That question broke me, and made me feel even more sad and guilty for feeling this way. One night I was crying hysterically and tried to explain to Joe how I felt, and I just couldn't get it out. He knew something was seriously wrong and instead of becoming frustrated by my lack of communication, he became very empathetic, realizing this was more than just "pregnancy hormones." Joe was so excited for this moment, and I was happy...for HIS excitement. But how could I, someone who seemingly had it all together, be so depressed about this blessing in my life?
...nearly 14-23% of pregnant women experience depression.;however, publicly, conversations are usually all about postpartum depression which is definitely more common.
I had plans for what I wanted to personally accomplish this year and was in the process of making them happen, yet being a Mom was not a part of my plan.
It got worse once we announced the pregnancy on social media and everyone would say, "Oh my God! How exciting, you must be so happy!," or "Wow this is such a blessing..." and proceed to ask 10 million questions about pregnancy and the baby. My joyful response to everyone to avoid seeming ungrateful and in discontent was always "Yes! We are so excited...," and then politely answer their questions in a positive manner. I had to force myself to post pictures of myself pregnant on social media because honestly, I just wasn't feeling it, and I hoped this would make me feel better about being pregnant. It wasn't that I was not happy for our baby blessing, I just mentally could not get over my former lifestyle, didn't have time to process the change, and now had to focus on taking care of a human life when I was still in the stage of getting my own life together.
I was still working and doing my TV appearances--which I LOVE--but I still didn't feel fulfilled. I knew I was slacking and wasn't putting my ALL into anything I was doing or had planned to do. Several months before I found out I was pregnant, I had done a photoshoot, worked hard for 6 months with a brand designer on my new designs/logos and personal brand, and had planned to really step out my comfort zone in this TV field to reach new heights, hence my new website. I had plans for what I wanted to personally accomplish this year and was in the process of making them happen, yet being a Mom was NOT a part of my plan. I felt mentally defeated and immediately put everything on hold. Yes I prayed, went to church, and talked to close friends about it, but I was still sad. I was making pregnancy and my lifestyle look good, but mentally, I was holding on by the thinnest thread.
Though she is probably our biggest blessing thus far, I saw her as our biggest distraction because she upset our current lifestyle and routine.
The turning point for me came after one of my late second trimester ultra sounds...I felt a sense of guilt wash over me as if my child was speaking to me. People try for years to make this happen and for some, it never happens: we weren't even "trying" and it happened for us. That's God. I'd just seen this beautiful girl in my belly, kicking around, super healthy and on track. How could I not be excited about this little being that me and Joe created in love? Though she is probably our biggest blessing thus far, I saw her as our biggest distraction because she upset our current lifestyle and routine. Feeling her daily kicks, I HAD to think about what I wanted her to see when she comes out. I want to be able to give her the world and have her be proud that I'm her Mom, and I fear she won't because I'm not where I want to be.
Working in media--and now with the emergence of social media--gives you a false sense of reality if you're not careful. From 22-30, I was staying up until 3-4AM working on editing videos and 'burning the candle' on both ends, exerting all my energy for my passion, getting a few hours of sleep, and then heading to work at 8AM. Television is a very competitive field, and I felt like being pregnant, especially after 30, would slow me down from reaching my goals because others can exert more energy and dedicate more time to the field than I could. I feared being left behind and having to play "catch up," but then I had to keep replaying this phrase in my mind every morning: What's meant for you will never pass you by.
As we await the arrival of baby Aria, I wrote this article as my own personal therapy. If you're not pregnant, I hope you understand that not every pregnant woman, or married couple, desires to be pregnant (So please stop asking people when they're having babies!). For the pregnant women like me who are struggling with the loss of their old life and really trying to mentally get it together before their baby arrives, keep fighting for yourself. For the pregnant women who are overjoyed, I am happy for you and hope you enjoy every single moment, pain and all. I AM getting there. Though physically my pregnancy has been amazing, God knows that the break down of my mental peace is my biggest hurdle in life, pregnant or not. My journey is just one of millions. I pray for all of us women--with or without child--who are really just trying to be successful and handle all of the baggage of our former lives, whatever stage that may be for you, while striving to reach your dreams.
I've now seen this pregnant pause as an uncomfortable move into my next beautiful phase in life. Though I miss my old life, and still have a few more bags to unpack, I'm finally looking forward to creating new memories with my husband and our ultimate manifestation of love, especially because we have so much love and support surrounding us. This is the time to show our baby girl who we really are.