According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about half of all pregnancies in the US were unintended.
First, let me start by saying, I solemnly swear to give MY truth, MY whole truth, and nothing but MY truth, so help me God (*lowers right hand*). Here goes it…. My introduction to motherhood was, let’s say, a bit more unconventional. For starters, I never wanted kids; I wasn’t really fond of the crumb-snatchers and I couldn’t imagine how one would possibly fit into my schedule. Between my 3 hour hikes, book club meetings, sorority meetings and happy hours, having a child was the last thing on my mind. My life’s mantra was “kid-free, the way to be.”
Needless to say, I had a real WTF moment when my period went missing (while on birth control, might I add) in May of 2012. I waited until the following month to actually take a home pregnancy test and when the results appeared, my entire life flashed before my eyes. To this day, I vividly remember staring into space for what seemed like hours in utter shock feeling like I had just been sentenced to death row.
I finally snapped out of my trance when my friend asked, “So girl watchu gonna do?” I could tell by her tone that she didn’t know whether this was good or bad news. “I guess I should make a call?” That legendary call went like this…
Me: Hey….How are you?
Him: Hey I’m good. How are you?
Me: I’m good. I’m great. Couldn’t be better. How are you?
Him: Ummmm are you okay? You already asked how I was doing.
Me: Right. Yeah….So….
Him: P is this important because we’re filming right now and I stepped away to answer because I saw it was you, but I really need to get back.
Me: I’m pregnant.
Him: Ummmm ok I need to get back on stage now, they’re waiting for me.
At that point, I did what any reasonable 28-year-old would do…I hopped my ass in the car, dared my friend not to get in the passenger seat and drove 6 hours to Los Angeles to tell him to his face. By the time we finally arrived to LA, he had just finished filming and he greeted me with a hug and a kiss. All I could say was, “sooo…about earlier?” This man looked at me like I had smooth lost my mind and sternly asked, “Do you really want to talk about this right now?” The truth of the matter is, we wouldn’t discuss the subject for the rest of the night or frankly, for the next two weeks.
During that time, I guess I figured if he didn’t bring it up, I wouldn’t either and somehow it would all just go away. How often do you put off discussing important things in hopes that the whole situation will just go away?
Fast forward two weeks to the next time we would discuss this impending dilemma. All I kept thinking was, did I have an out of body experience? Could the alcohol company involved in the night of conception be held liable? But the main lingering question that kept taunting me was, “Will he ever forgive me for keeping this baby when I was so adamant about not having kids?” I had to sit on that for a moment and then I snapped back to reality.
Now let me set the scene…It was a beautiful day in June and we were waiting at my doctor’s office, shortly after getting married. Yes, you read correctly we got married…wait for it, it gets better….on our lunch break…after only five weeks of dating! Now before we start judging and laughing at Pam’s life choices, let’s back it up a little. Boy meets girl in college. Girl falls head over heels in love with Boy. Girl soon finds out that Boy has a girlfriend, several situationships, plenty of friends with benefits and so on. Boy and Girl go their separate ways only to wind up back together about a decade later as husband and wife. Now, back to June 26, 2012, after hitting up the courthouse, sliding through Chili’s and then returning back to work, we ended up at my doctor’s office. I am 100% certain that’s where it all hit me like a ton of bricks, my life was officially over.
Every day I would wake up just mad! Mad at the world. Mad at myself. Mad at him. The recurring question of the day was, “How in the world did I allow this to happen to me?” With all respect to women who experience or have experienced infertility, my plan in life was never to have children and I completely understand the difference between not wanting kids and not being able to have them. Nevertheless, at that point in my life, I would have gladly donated my uterus. So why the change of heart? A question that both he and I would ask repeatedly and to this day, the only answer I have is, “I just knew.” We as women have a keen sense of discernment. How many times have you just known something in your heart with no explanation needed? Don’t dismiss that as just an inkling or your gut. That’s your gift of discernment so listen to it. Jumping off my soapbox now*
Back to my anger…After years of processing, it finally occurred to me that I was mad for several reasons; the most prominent being that I had instantaneously warped into being two moms (step and bio) and I never wanted to be a damn mom in the first place! I literally stepped into being a stepmom which is a role I’ve never felt comfortable in and it’s taken courage to finally admit. Learning to love a stranger on top of the persistent fear and anxiety that came day in and day out about how a whole human being was going to slide out of my vagina was overwhelming.
Eventually my anger subsided and transitioned into sadness which quickly spiraled into self-pity. All of these emotions were dismissed by myself and others as me being hormonal. One day I woke up and said “Nope, I’m not doing this.” I got down on my hands and knees and started to pray, “Dear God, if it’s not your will for me to keep this baby, I understand.” I would pray this prayer and beg God to take this cup from me for the remainder of my first trimester. Looking back at this time in my life, I feel so ashamed, guilt-ridden and unbearably remorseful. Did I really ask that God take away what would ultimately be His greatest blessing on my life? After studying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, one of the dopest female pioneers in death and dying studies and the grieving process, it soon registered to me that this abdominal prayer was simply my way of seeking in vain for a way out.
I can say without a doubt that my second trimester is when I finally came to the realization that I was a real-life mom. By this time my home, which was once the quintessential bachelorette pad, had been morphed into something I could barely recognize as the Powell family of four (soon to be five) quickly settled in. I would find myself sinking further and further into oblivion while living in this make-shift kiddie land which was once my escape from the woes of the world. Who in the hell were these people living in my house? Who was this blasted Mrs. Powell that everyone kept referring to? Who swapped out my bladder? How was I, as a grown-up, getting acne and backne for the first time ever? Were my feet ever going to shrink back to size? Would this foreigner invading my body love me? Would I ever remember what sex in the missionary position felt like? I’m sure you’re probably thinking this girl was bugging out, but how many irrational questions do you ask yourself when you feel inadequate? I would perseverate on these questions and so many more to the extent of severe despondency.
But what exactly did I have to be depressed about? It wasn’t about the people cramping my space because I eventually learned to enjoy the company. Was it the changes going on with my body? I’m not that superficial so it couldn’t be that, plus I was finally growing breasts! So what was it? The answer to this question wouldn’t come for another six years. I was depressed because I was grieving a loss.
I wish I could tell you that I finally reached the final stage in the grieving process which is acceptance, but that would be a bold face lie. Albeit, I have come to terms with the fact that the thing I once referred to as “it” has grown up to be the remarkably amazing Miss Aniyah-Chrisette Powell. However, in keeping with my pledge to honesty, I haven’t fully accepted losing myself as I once knew me; nor have I fully immersed myself into this lifestyle of motherhood. And maybe that’s because I, like so many other moms, have created this unrealistic expectation of what motherhood is really all about. I’ll never be Clair Huxtable and once I liberated myself from that pressure, I became more comfortable with the mother I am. These days, my daily self-reminder is, “Pam, you are more than enough. You don’t have to be perfect, just be present.” Some days my presence is volunteering at the school; while other days it’s ordering a pizza and turning on Netflix. And you know what? I’ve finally learned to be okay with that.
I now realize that Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Depression were all very real phases that I went through during my pregnancy. I’ve never heard of pre-partum depression (the term itself is an oxymoron); however, what I do know now is that I was grieving a terrible loss. I lost me as an individual. For years I tried to find that person and bring her back. Every now and then I would see glimpses of her but these images were just about as real as the Tupac sightings in Cuba. As I’m learning to accept the death of the old me, I’m growing fonder of the new me. I’m patient and kind to myself now and I’ve accepted that just because I didn’t want kids doesn’t make me a bad mom and I say that more so to myself than to anyone else. We as mothers, take on so much and overlook our daily sacrifices, but I want to let you know that it’s okay to experience grief in any stage of motherhood. When you feel like you aren’t yourself, it’s because you’re not. I leave you with this…the birth of your child signifies the true meaning of a mother’s love, which is dying to self so that others might live.
Talk to me ladies, what part of you diminished or left completely when you became a mom? Did you always have dreams of becoming a mom or were you like me and just so happened to become one?
Thank you for reading! I hope you stick around as I share my ups, downs and WTF moments, but remember it’s all based on MY truth and nothing but MY truth!