River District Counselling & Wellness

Pregnancy – Not As Advertised!
The Journey to Parenthood - it's not all it is cracked up to be. REAL TALK with Melissa - Follow along!

It is October and I decided to write an opinion piece on my journey into parenthood because I found it comparative to an alternate reality. Now, I know my child will probably find this on the internet, or whatever future platform they use to access information and I am okay with that. This piece is to bring awareness to those moments and feelings that are not always recognized in the conversations you have with people, or the perceptions of other people’s pregnancies, or even what is advertised online.

From the moment that you see those two little pink lines, your inside flips. You might not know if this is excitement, shock, fear, or dread. But either way, you begin to down this rocky path of trying to figure it out. There are so many questions that run through your head immediately after: “Did I do this test properly? How hard is it to pee on this stick? I wonder if I should do the other two tests in this box. Is this brand reliable? Maybe I need to buy the other brands to confirm.” Your brain has gone on fast forward all of a sudden, anxiety kicks in and tells you that you have to have everything together right away. Anxiety tells you that you need to be organized because “this” is happening.

Whether or not you were actively trying or if it was an unexpected surprise, this confirmation is life changing. You try to understand how you are feeling and also trying to figure out how to share the news to people in your life. Those first few minutes become overwhelmed with surprise, happiness, shock, fear, and worry. The worry starts almost immediately – and it is about EVERYTHING. You question how healthy you have been eating, whether or not taking prenatal vitamins should have been done from the beginning, whether or not drinking that bottle of wine will be a problem.

The worry does not seem to stop because everything flashes in your head and it isn’t your past – but it’s your future. You see yourself doing school drop offs, and swimming lessons on Saturdays followed by skating lessons on Sunday and soccer lessons on Tuesday evenings. You see yourself throwing birthday parties and taking your kid to Toddler groups. You see your once peaceful mornings in bed now being taken over by a jumping bean who plies your eyelids open while you try to keep them closed to because you are just so tired. Meanwhile, you are still sitting on the ledge of the tub and only 1 minute has passed while you are holding a stick you have just peed on.

You put the stick down, pull your phone out and take a pic – this is the first photo that you take to document your journey. This is the photo that you text to your friends and your family.  This is the photo to confirm you are pregnant that you look at until you can contact the doctor and get a actual confirmation. Meanwhile, you are sitting with all those feelings and trying to figure out how to process it all.

You have gone through your whole life knowing what to expect in certain situations and how you will react. For instance, you know if you go on a rollercoaster that you are nervous for those big drops but exhilarated after you get off because the thrill of it all jolted through your body. With finding out you are pregnant, and knowing your life is going to be a rollercoaster, is different. There is no preparation for these waves of emotion you feel. There is nobody who will tell you how to feel during these moments, because your experience is your own. It then becomes about the process and how to recognize what you feel, the good and the bad.

I’ll be honest, everything I have seen online is often times a story about how joyful that moment of confirmation was. It is positive. I thought to myself “Well, I should only look at how incredible this is and I shouldn’t look at those other feelings, like fear of guiding a tiny human though the most important years of their life.” Am I being honest with myself? Am I allowing myself to acknowledge that fear and am I able to sit in this fear without judgement against myself? This is the hardest part of processing, is the judgement carry towards yourself. The answer simply is not a yes or a no. It is a feeling of surrender when you are able to sit without thinking you are a horrible person.

I called this experience an alternate reality because I had always thought these moments were the ones you see on Instagram or in movies. These moments were where you come out of the bathroom and it isn’t anything but sunshine and smiles. If you really stop,  and slow yourself down to process the experience however it is more than that. It is a reality of initial shock and trying to figure out how to get it all right from here on out. It is a pressure to try and take care of yourself and someone else, all while staying out of feelings of guilt that you ate that Big Mac for dinner two nights ago. It is the anxiety that you feel knowing that you need to start being perfect, because perfection is the only way for this little being to be successful.

As a youth and family counsellor, it is important for me to be attune to my own feelings. In realizing that the “advertised pregnancy experience” is not as marketed, I have begun to have real conversations about the feelings and thoughts that might sound negative because this honesty is what will keep you grounded in who you are. A part of why this blog is called “Real Talk with Melissa” is because it is a look into how feelings guide our experience and what we choose to acknowledge or ignore.

As I continue to post, my hope is that you are able to find something to grasp on to in this blog. If it is the ability to relate to those feelings or just help you understand how to process everything then it has served its purpose. If you are simply reading this for a good chuckle, I’m loving that too!

Until next time,