Working Pregnant Mom: Allowing myself to breathe

Working Pregnant Mom Learning to Breathe

It’s been a while. And honestly, I could sit here and up come up with a million excuses. A few of them would actually sound forgivable. But, to be completely honest, I stopped because I found myself wanting to spend those moments I could have been writing, with my family.

The truth is, juggling a new job while halfway through a pregnancy has been harder than I could have imagined. I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t realize in what way. Of course there are the expected hardships – learning a new environment, working diligently to prove myself, a new routine, and trying desperately not to get lost each day.

And ironically, every part of my new job has been a welcome blessing compared to my previous one. John’s noticed that I’m happier, less stressed, and generally excited about the projects and adventures waiting for me each day. But, it’s the emotional obstacles that I didn’t expect. And, on top of that, we lost my Grandmother a week after I started. The emotional toll of that experience was far more than I could imagine. One day I’ll put those emotions on paper. The realization that this was the only Grandparent still alive when Abby was born. Hearing the news when I was 8 hours away from my father’s side. And experiencing loss while a child grows inside of me. It was an entirely new side of loss for me.

I think one of the biggest challenges about this new job, aside from the aforementioned, is being so excited about it. When I was pregnant with Abby, my mind was focused on her — on the tiny baby girl kicking me during meetings, the thoughts of what her first laugh would sound like while I completed filing, and creating a maternity plan so nothing would go unchecked while I was off enjoying motherhood.

And yes, I worked hard while I was pregnant with Abby, but it was a different type of hard. I knew the job I was doing and I was good at it. I knew the upcoming deadlines, who would be best to lean on for support in case I ended up out earlier than expected, and how to handle any obstacles that may come. It’s to be expected after two years. Being on autopilot allows you to daydream a bit — the sound of her first cry, laugh, word; the scent of her hair; and the feeling of her head on my shoulder.

But now, I’m 26 weeks pregnant and have been at my new company for a month. I just stopped getting lost going to the bathroom (which being 26 weeks pregnant, means I frequent often so that’s an entirely different kind of blessing). I’m still in the onboarding phase and learning the ropes, so there is no time to think about the baby boy inside of me, or the deadlines coming up (as I’m still trying to learn all of the acronyms). I find myself forgetting that I’m pregnant and, nstead, focusing on the interesting program I want to implement.

At this point in my pregnancy with Abby, we had put the finishing touches on the nursery, complete with her name, which we had finalized months before, in wooden purple letters above her crib. I spent every morning talking to her, excited for the day I would get to hold my baby girl. This time around, I can’t even think of a name, his crib has been sitting in a box in our basement for a few weeks, and the only time I find myself talking to him is when Abby points to my belly and says “baby.”

With Abby I would daydream about the day she would be born, the day we would bring her home, if she would look more like me or John. My mind would wonder constantly, imaging how incredible it would be to finally be a mother. Now, when my mind has a chance to wonder, it’s usually about Abby. How will she handle needing to share mommy and daddy? Will she resent him because she’ll have to give up half her room? Will she understand this tremendous change?

The fear and self-doubt plagues me. I start questioning everything. How will I be able to handle two kids when my house looks like a bomb went off with just one? Will I do right by my children? Am I good mom?

And then, that beautiful baby girl who is no longer a baby runs to me screaming “My Mommy” with her arms spread wide open waiting for a hug. And all is right with the world. Somehow she knows I needed that extra bit of encouragement. She is my greatest adventure and my best example that I can do this. Of course I’ll make mistakes. The house will never be “perfect.” And probably, one day this baby boy will too lick the cat just like his sister, I’m sure of it. But through it all, we will do our best. We will survive. And both of them all of us will be just fine.

Accepting a Job Offer While Pregnant

Accepting a job offer while pregnantAs someone who has always tried to follow a path in life and prides herself on staying three steps ahead, when I do something out of my comfort zone, my heart pounds and my anxiety boils. So, of course, this means, parenthood has been a constant struggle of not being able to control life. The positive thing about it all, though, is that I’m learning to live outside of the path I thought I needed to stay on. And all of this brings me to yesterday and what it represents. [Busy working mom/mom to be and need advice? Jump to “Things to keep in mind for accepting a job offer while pregnant.”]

Monday will mark 20 weeks into this pregnancy – halfway there! During my first pregnancy, I meticulously planned every aspect of our lives in order to feel in control. I strategically saved money to account for maternity leave AKA unpaid leave. I alerted my supervisor and coworkers early and created a plan for my leave, in case it started earlier than expected. I closed out all of my projects in plenty of time. And I stopped traveling once I entered into the third trimester. (Of course, nothing about Abby’s delivery went to plan, but that’s an entirely different story.)

When the test rang positive this time, I started planning out my time and money with even more diligence. I had a better idea of the aftermath of delivery and having a newborn. I worked out our budget. I put extra into savings to account for unpaid leave (and was excited to learn that New York State would pay part of my leave this time around). And I planned for the paid 18-20 weeks of leave I was entitled to based on my employer’s policy. Everything was going to happen according to plan once again. And then, something came along to shift everything and interrupt my perfectly laid out plan – an incredible job offer. And after debating it in my head and with John for what felt like years, I decided to jump at the chance.

That’s right – the planner, the one who stays on the path to ensure she’s always three steps ahead left the comfort of her job in the middle of a pregnancy to start a brand new one.

So what does leaving my job and accepting a new job actually mean?

What am I losing?

It means that I’m giving up job protection under the Family Medical Leave Act (and putting my faith in my new employer). I will no longer be eligible for paid New York State leave (which was recently passed). And those 18-20 weeks home with my baby boy have now vanished.

But what am I getting?

The chance at my dream job. The chance to try something that scares, challenges, and excites me all at once. I’m terrified and thrilled all at the same time.

And the decision to accept was not an easy one for me. Even after putting in my notice, I went back and forth in my mind if it was the right decision for my family and the baby boy growing inside of me. My husband, the optimist, told me I should stop worrying about all of this as he believes I’m doing the right thing. I’m hoping that positive attitude rubs off on me, especially as I near closer to the end of this pregnancy and the thoughts of spending a limited amount of time home fill my mind.

Questions and thoughts that plague my mind

  • Will he suffer entering daycare earlier than his sister?
  • Will he resent me in the future if he finds out that I waited 20 weeks before leaving her but far less with him?
  • Am I bad mom for changing our structure for my own career?

It’s hard to put that type of pressure on yourself. I’m not sure if it’s my own anxiety fueling it or society telling me that as the mom, you worry about the family and nothing more because me choosing to take on an entirely new job is (mostly) for me. Of course there are perks that my family will benefit from but it is my career, not their career, so you question it, every step of the way. I had someone ask me why I didn’t just stick around at my current job and then stop working afterwards. How does one explain the importance of their career but also not make her family sound like the second string? It’s a fine balance, even today, to figure out how to be a mom and have a career, but appear to be successful in both (even if you’re struggling every day).

The reason I was able to take the leap

Every step of the way, when attempting to figure out if choosing the new job was the right decision, I thought of my family. I thought of my baby boy growing inside of me, of his needs during the rest of the pregnancy and following, of the weeks after his birth and the new life we will have with two children. My family (and my new employer’s positive attitude towards this pregnancy) was a huge factor when I finally said yes. So yesterday, as I drove away from my office for the last time, I smiled at the fact that I actually did it. I took a huge risk, something I honestly never thought I would, and right before I turned on the ignition, I smiled at my growing belly and thanked my baby boy for giving me the strength to do it.

Thinking of accepting a job offer while pregnant? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

You may not be entitled to job protection

The Family Medical Leave Act (US) entitles you to job protection after the birth of a child, however, there are some stipulations to this as well. For example, you are only eligible if you have been at your employer for at least 12 months. Despite the fact that the last month of pregnancy feels like a year, you are only pregnant for about 40 weeks. For more information on the Family Medical Leave Act, visit the US Department of Labor. Please note that after you have a baby, you will not want to / probably wont be able to go back to work just a few days later. You will need time to heal and bond with your baby. In addition, most daycares will not accept a child who is under 6 weeks old.

You may be entitled to some leave

Before accepting a job, look through the benefits policy, or speak with Human Resources. In my case, I’m entitled to Short Term Disability from day one. Depending on your policy, this can entitle you to 6-8 weeks depending on your delivery. In most cases, this is also paid (either through the employer or your state). Look into all of this before accepting any offer as you will need time after you give birth.

You have many doctor appointments while pregnant

In my case, I go to the doctor every four weeks until I’m 28 weeks along, then it will be every two weeks until I’m 36 weeks, and then every week until I deliver. In many cases, these appointments happen during typical working hours. You will need to be prepared to take unpaid days off, or work something out with your new employer to attend doctor appointments.

Your insurance coverage may change

If you will be using your own insurance policy (and not on your partner/spouse’s policy) look into everything about what is covered and what is not covered, and how long it will take for it to go into affect. You never know what may happen during your pregnancy so having a lapse in coverage may be a determent to accepting a job. In addition, check with your doctor to ensure they accept this new insurance carrier. If you will need to change doctors or practices, it is important to know that in advance of accepting an offer.

If the new job will make you happier, then it may be the best decision for your family

For me, this was a difficult thing to keep in mind. There were many reasons to stay at my previous job, but the biggest motivator to leave was the regret that I might feel for not taking an opportunity that could make me happier. While you grow a child, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Honestly, your mental health is ALWAYS just as important as your physical health (not just during pregnancy). So, if your new job will make you happier, give you less stress, and overall improve you, then it is probably the best decision. If, for some reason, the new job will bring you more worry, more stress, and more anxiety, then perhaps it isn’t the best path. Ultimately though, you need to figure out what is best for you and your family.

Are you thinking of making a switch while pregnant? What are your biggest fears? Did you make a switch while pregnant? Tell me how you survived. I will take any advice I can get. 

 

The day you realize you’re not superwoman

You're not superwomanI think the hardest realization that has come from my time as a parent has been discovering I’m not superwoman. When you spend your life having the world deem you as the fixer, or the problem solver, or the one with all of the answers, you spend every minute trying to exceed that expectation. It’s a thrilling feeling – to be needed, for people to look to you for answers. Being able to stand on a pedestal and let the world know that you’ll solve anything and that no problem is too small or too big is all that matters, until the day you crash. Suddenly, its obvious that you’re not invincible, that your strong exterior can’t deflect every hit, and that there are problems that you cannot solve. And the biggest downfall is that I’m the one who put myself up there. I’m the one who spent my life convincing myself that I needed to hold this title because it’s what made the most sense. A need to be needed is only valid if you, yourself, never need anything.

As a mom, I’ve felt the crash on more than one occasion and each time it still feels like the first time I ever fell. You never know when it’s going to hit. It could be when your husband finds you crying on the bathroom floor after the fourth failed pregnancy test. Or when your being wheeled into an operating room after your body failed to deliver your baby the way the world said you should. Or when you’re crying in the corner of the bedroom as your baby begs for food but your mental state will not allow you to keep breastfeeding. Or maybe it’s when your entire family is taken over by the stomach flu and while your baby girl just wants you to make her pain go away, you can’t because you, yourself, are trying to get the world to stop spinning. Or perhaps it’s when you find defeat when attempting to put your 20 month old into her crib but your body can no longer cooperate due to the bulging belly and lower back pain that seems to accompany pregnancy.

That last one, even though it was most recent, has been the hardest one to comprehend. My daughter is in a constant daddy phase, so when she allows me the opportunity to hold her, to cuddle her, or to be the lucky one to lead bedtime, I jump at the chance. But when it became apparent that bedtime routines may no longer be an option, I crashed, hard. I remember mentally crossing off the list of things I could no longer do as I progressed while pregnant with Abby – no more lifting heavy objects, no more sleeping on my stomach, no more long runs. And I guess, to a point, I knew this would happen again this time around, however, I thought I’d have more time. And I guess I thought I’d never actually end up as a mom who could no longer lift her toddler, even if my toddler is nearly 30 pounds. I assumed that I would be the mom who could go through this without having to change any routine, but now I’m slowly realizing that my list of no mores will soon include no more laying on the floor playing blocks, no more letting her sit on my lap as we read a bedtime story, no more jumping and dancing with my baby girl to her favorite songs. It’s hard to imagine that the next five will include missing out. I know once her brother is here, I’ll need to spend more time with him and less time with her, but I thought I’d have more time before I’d miss out.

I can’t blame anyone besides myself for assuming nothing would change when I became a mother. I remember hearing or seeing mothers struggle during parenthood and thinking, I’ll have it all sorted out, I’m a planner so I’ll be able to foresee any obstacle in my way. And then reality set in. But before I had Abby, I was naïve. Now, as a mother, I should know better now, but I still keep convincing myself after each downfall that I’m still a superhero. And that I need to be that superhero for my family – it is my title and my place in our lives. If I lost that title, then who am I? Where do I fit in our dynamic?

I just hope I’ll learn to compromise and find new ways to engage with my baby girl over the next few months before we officially welcome her baby brother home and we become a family of four. In the past, after I’ve crashed, I’ve learned to adjust and to come to terms with the fact that sometimes you need to fall, if only to teach yourself how to get back up. And through this, I’ve learned to trust even more in my husband. When I gave myself the impossible title of Superwoman, I was setting him up for failure because in order to do everything you have to assume no one else can do anything. I had to learn to be comfortable in trusting him and trusting in him. Allowing him to pick me up when I couldn’t bear the thought of going through another month of failing to become a mother, or putting my fears in his hands as I couldn’t push our baby girl into the world, or giving him the power to feed our baby formula so I could finally bond with my child. And perhaps soon it will be letting him take on the physical demands of a toddler when my pregnant body is unable to and understanding that neither of us are truly invisible and being a true superhero is asking for help instead of allowing yourself to feel defeated.

Why Pregnancy is Slower the Second Time Around

Slowing down for the second pregnancy

If you have been following along, or are within 100 miles of my mother, you’ve probably heard we’re expecting a boy this time around. I’m officially 18 weeks along and, it has felt like the longest 18 weeks of my life. For some reason, with Abby, it felt like pregnancy rushed by (except for the last month which lasted a year on it’s own), but this time around, everything is painfully slow. Maybe it’s because I already know what to expect at the end of this marathon, or maybe it’s because motherhood has made me even more impatient, or, more likely it’s because I honestly cannot remember what milestone I’m supposed to be at and I’m constantly worried that I’m missing something. That last one sounds more like me.

With Abby, I checked the calendar constantly, counting down to my next appointment. I looked forward to Wednesdays because it meant I got an alert for the new week – what size fruit was she this week, what was developing, what mommy may be experiencing. This time, I honestly have no idea what is happening. I almost missed my last doctor’s appointment because I put it in for the wrong week in my phone. It’s times like this that I’m so happy for automatic reminders from my doctor’s office. Those must have been built with second-time moms in mind. And then, at my last appointment, my doctor asked how my AFP screening went earlier. Zero idea what she was talking about. Apparently, I was supposed to get blood drawn before my appointment. And, obviously, that didn’t happen. And when I went to reschedule that, the sweet receptionist attempted to comfort me by saying it was a newer screening so of course I wouldn’t remember it from the last time, as I probably didn’t have it. And of course, then she remembers my daughter isn’t even two years old yet, so I definitely had it with her.

And none of this is because I don’t care about this baby or this pregnancy. Quite the opposite, actually. I’m constantly thinking about this baby, just in many different ways. With Abby, I thought about what was developing this week, when would she start to hear and recognize my voice, what color eyes she would have, and how painful labor would be. This time around, I think about how will we afford a second baby, what impact will this have on Abby, will they get along, and how will I explain to Abby that mommy cannot play right now as she has to take care of her brother. And, this time around, I worry more about the baby’s health and well-being. I’m older now, if only by two years. But for Abby, we were trying desperately to conceiver her. I changed my diet, I worked out everyday, and I focused on my mental health as much as possible. This time, we were lucky to have this unexpected surprise. I expected another painful year of negative tests and tears once we officially started trying for another child, along with the preparations for this baby. For this to happen so quickly, I was thrilled but also anxious. I didn’t have time to plan, to get my health back on track, to focus on clearing my mind from the negative space. And, I worry if all of this will effect my baby’s development.

And then I sit here, starting my 18th week (thank you to my husband for doing the math in his head as I had no clue what week we were in), wondering what this little baby boy is doing in there. Is he happy? Is he comfortable? Will I feel him kick soon? Should I have already felt that? When did I feel that with Abby? And the questions go on and on. And as I glance over at Abby playing with her blocks desperately trying to build the tallest tower and constantly bumping into it causing it to collapse and her to exclaim “oh no” as she begins to rebuild for the fifth time, I wonder if that little girl has any idea what is in store for her. Soon she’ll be sharing toys, her time with blocks, and her mommy and daddy with a stranger. Will she understand? Will she resent us? Will she love him? And, out of nowhere, she rushes over to me, hugs my belly and says “baby.” Maybe on some level she does understand that life is about to change entirely for each of us, but she doesn’t seem to let that bother her. She isn’t worried about tomorrow, the way things will change, or the new adventure ahead of us. She is only focused on rebuilding her tower, over and over again. And when her masterpiece falls apart, she only worries for an instant before starting again to build something even better. And maybe she’s oblivious to everything. Honestly, that is probably more likely, but I do hope I can learn from this tower building business and learn that everything may fall apart but there is always the opportunity to build it back up even stronger.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from all of this is to adjust. In some ways, having this pregnancy feel slower has given me the opportunity to pause. We only have a few months left as a family of three and while these memories may not forever stick within Abby’s mind, I’d like to make as many as possible and soak them until my brain is overloaded with her giggles and her smile versus my anxiety and fear. I find myself not opening any of the baby books or searching on the internet for answers to these pregnancy concerns, but instead playing dinosaur with Abby or sitting down to dinner without the distraction of my email alerting me that I have yet another unread alert from one of the many baby apps I redownloaded. And maybe soon I’ll stop worrying completely about how this addition will drastically impact our current routine but instead focusing on how our baby boy will add to the memories. Another dinosaur to run around the house. A longer bedtime story snuggled in the oversized chair. Another hug at daycare during pickup time. Life is going to get messier and more complicated, I know that. But, hopefully I learn that those messes and obstacles are what will make each moment worth it in the end.

First Pregnacy vs. Your Second

First Pregnancy vs. the second

If you haven’t noticed, things are a bit different around here. The new site is officially here! This has been a long time coming so I’m both thrilled and relieved that launch day is finally here! Especially since plans were to launch a bit earlier than this, but apparently growing a baby and raising a toddler changes your timeline dramatically. That’s right, if you haven’t been following along on Instagram, we are expecting once again! It’s been a crazy adventure already, and I’m only (almost) 17 weeks along. Everyone said the second time around would be different, and I guess a part of me listened but a bigger part of me was too busy raising the first kid to listen. Which has become a norm this time around actually. So, I figure with our new site, our first post should focus on this new adventure.

Startling differences in the second pregnancy:

Maternity clothes start earlier:

The first time around, I BEGGED for my bump. It took a good 20 weeks before even the slightest bump would be discovered. I was able to wear my normal clothes for a good amount of time. People even said that they figured I would have a tiny baby. Abby didn’t get that memo since she was over 9lbs at birth, but that’s a different story. This time around, I made it to about 10 weeks before breaking out the maternity pants. And in the 9th week, I was wearing only leggings so honestly, I was just cheating. Basically, the first time your body is learning how to do this. The second time, your uterus goes “oh please, I got this!”

People assume you know everything:

During my first pregnancy, I had an app that tracked everything that was happening with Abby – size compared to fruit, what was developing each week, and what I could do to ensure a healthy pregnancy. I knew my doctor appointments like the back of my hand and counted down to each ultrasound. This time around, I have zero idea what is going on. And that’s not because I don’t care; it’s because my brain is maxed out trying to remember what my toddler needs the next day for daycare or her own doctor appointments, on top of work responsibilities and trying to decide what to make for dinner (damn I’m always hungry this time). Honest example, at the beginning of the post when I stated how many weeks I am, I had to count multiple times in my calendar and kept forgetting the number each time.

Your doctor assumes you know it all:

It’s one thing when your friends, family and coworkers assume you know what you’re doing, it’s an entirely different thing when your doctor assumes it. My very first appointment, the nurse handed me paperwork about my pregnancy (as she had with the first one), and said “But I’m sure you remember all of this from your first one.” I literally stared at that piece of paper and said “Wait, I need to go to the doctor’s how often?” I remember going to appointments with Abby – and all the fun things like getting weighed and peeing in a cup – but completely forgot it happens every four weeks in the start, than every other, than every single week. I now ask my doctor to just treat me like a first timer because it’s just easier.

Your level of sickness will be different:

Apparently every pregnancy is different. Some people are never sick, some are always sick. For me, I was only sick with Abby in the very beginning if I was hungry. Easy solution: I was constantly snacking. And this resolved itself by the ninth week. This time around, I was sick if I was hungry, if I was eating, or if I was full, for 15 weeks. Basically, the only reason I took a pregnancy test was because for a solid week, I felt like I was hungover every single day and found myself eating greasy chips and guacamole. And, I only took it because John thought something might be going on. I didn’t even believe him that pregnancy was a possibility.

You’ll worry, but for different reasons:

With Abby, I was worried constantly that something would happen – miscarriage, preterm birth, diseases. I constantly thought I would receive bad news. And, luckily, for the most part it was a healthy pregnancy. This time, I do worry about some those but not to the same extent. Honestly, my brain is more wrapped around the worry of sharing with two children – sharing my time, patience, and love. The day Abby was born was the day I officially became a mom. I knew I loved her while she was growing inside me, but the day I met her that love tripled. And now, I worry about how I will love this child to the same extent. And I worry about how I’ll explain to my little girl that mommy can’t play with her constantly because her little sister or brother needs me too.

I expect to find even more differences as time goes on, but please share some of your own because I have a feeling I’ll need as much advance warning as possible.

The Journey to Abby’s Room

The Journey to Abby's Room

As you may have noticed, I’ve been on a hiatus for a little while. Life has basically been throwing me a few curb balls and sitting down to write something has been difficult. I try to keep this blog lighthearted, for the most part, but there’s been too much darkness these past few weeks – in the world, on the news, and recently, to a dear friend. Today, I was going to forget about the post again, and wait until the water cleared, but something makes me want to share. I started this post prior to the recent tragedy I learned about and the finished shortly after. The impact of these past few days will forever be part of me.

My favorite room in our house is Abby’s Room. I love sitting on her multicolored throw rug, just staring at the green walls, gray furniture, and detailed décor. It brings me back to the road that led to the Dr. Seuss sayings, the purple lettering spelling out her name, and gray crib that I knew she needed. And I smile as I remember the day we brought her home. But I also cry as it reminds me of the past and the struggles. It took so many tear-filled nights and fake smiles to get to where it is now.

We bought our home to fill with children. It was step two of our plan (step one was getting married, step 1.5 was getting a dog – our cat was part of the prologue. Step two – house. Step three – baby). We moved in, got settled and were ready to build our family. I played it smart – found a doctor first. Had a checkup and spoke about my plans. Everything was in order. I was healthy. We were cleared, in my mind, to start trying. I remember thinking how insane the concept of “trying” sounded. We weren’t going to “try to have a baby,” we were just going to have one – plain and simple. My doctor said if nothing happened for a year, then we could talk about other options. I saw no other option. This wasn’t going to take a year. It wasn’t even going to take months. It was happening. And then, the first month came and went. No baby. I shrugged it off. Then the second month. Still no baby. It was by the third month that I started blaming myself. It must be something I did to warrant this “complication.” So, I worked out harder. I stopped eating junk-food. And I stopped drinking (mostly) – hey, a girl has her needs, wine needs.

Every month had the same routine. Start out hopeful early on. Take an ovulation test daily. Try. Get disappointed. Cry. And repeat. And every month I would blame myself. Blame my body for not cooperating. Blame my mind for stressing out, which I was convinced was the reason nothing was happening in my uterus. It took a while for me to even admit this to John. I felt ashamed that my body was defying me. Having a baby is human nature – completely natural – but not for me it seemed. When I finally did let John in, he was amazing through it all. Trying his best to convince me that these things take time and it wasn’t my fault.  We refrained from telling the world or anyone that we were “trying.” In the beginning, I think it was mostly due to my desire to surprise the world by our incredible news but towards the end, it was basically to avoid people asking for updates. I think I feared their judgments as to why it was taking so long more than anything. It sounds ridiculous now, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was my fault. Something I did. I was being punished for some wrong decision. And through all of this, it felt like almost everyone around me was announcing pregnancies or giving birth. It was as if the entire world had attended the fertility party and my invitation had been lost in the mail. I smiled through baby showers and birth announcements, and pretended that we weren’t ready to start our family when people asked.

And this brings us back to Abby’s room – or the empty room, as I was referring to it then, because even the thought of referring to it as “the future baby’s room” was far too painful. Originally, this room consisted of blue carpet (then stained with cat puke because apparently that’s how our cat responds to us making her move), bright blue walls, and empty space. At around month four of trying, I would walk into the empty room and bust into tears. Shortly after, I kept the door closed, at all times.

It took us nine months before the pregnancy test read positive. And it would be another six weeks after that before it would be deemed a “viable pregnancy” by my doctor. And it would be another 12 weeks before I would walk into that empty room and allow myself to dream about the day we’d bring our baby home and the memories she or he would create in this space. During the pregnancy, we would still be faced with some concerning signs later on – that luckily turned out to have no negative outcomes but felt like the world was crumbling at the time. But, I still allowed myself to let the fantasy live again.

“Trying for a baby” was probably one of the hardest mental struggles I have faced, especially since the world has conditioned me to believe that because I’m healthy and under 30, I should have no problem. I never wanted anything as much as I wanted this baby. I hadn’t even met my baby, felt my baby kick from inside, or heard the heartbeat, but I knew I needed this baby. I loved this baby before she even existed. To some, nine months may seem like nothing. And to others it may seem like a lifetime. I know people on both sides of the spectrum – those who got their baby with little effort and those still waiting, years later. And when things didn’t go as planned, I immediately assumed it was my fault. I was being punished. A friend told me she heard that the average woman gets pregnant within three months of trying and if it takes longer, their must be something wrong. But there wasn’t. We are and were both healthy. It just took longer than we expected or wanted. But every month I was crushed just made me want my baby even more.

And today, I sit in Abby’s room and remember. Remember the struggles. Remember crying over a child I didn’t know and worrying that the world was punishing me. And I remember fighting past it. And I remember convincing myself each month that it would happen. And I remember the day the test read positive. And I remember tearing up as John and I picked out paint colors before we knew gender. And I remember feeling her kick as I held onto her crib, just weeks away from her due date. And I remember her first night in her crib – and barely sleeping as I kept staring at the baby monitor. And now I sit, on her multicolored rug, and watch my baby girl sleep in my arms. And kiss her forehead as she drifts even more into dreamland.

Getting to this day, to this finished room, was my hardest challenge. But it was also my most rewarding. I know that there are people out there, people who may be reading this, who are still waiting for their own baby. I want to let you know that I’m sorry you are struggling. And I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better – and I wish someone had said that magic phrase to me during my struggle. But there are no words.   I’m sorry that you’re struggling. I’m sorry that you feel alone in this fight. I’m sorry that it feels like the world is blanketed in fertility while you’re lying in the cold. Going back, I wish I had reached out to someone – aside from John. After Abby’s birth, I discovered other people who’s journey to parenthood was (or is still) long. I wish I didn’t let myself suffer alone. Reach out. Talk to someone, anyone. Everyone has a story – share yours and hear theirs.

As you can see, my story had a happy ending. But, unfortunately, not every story does. My heart breaks for those who haven’t gotten their baby yet, for those who are still trying and feel as though it is their fault, for those who had to say goodbye before even saying hello. My heart breaks. I’ve been struggling to wrap my mind around why the world would allow such pain to exist. I wish there was some thing I could say to make sense of it all, or some potion that would take away the pain. But there are no words. There are no potions. If anyone ever discovers it, please tell me, please tell the world. I want to say, I’m sorry you are hurting, struggling, and feel the world is going on when you’re standing still.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small”
― Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who! 

Abby's Roo