There has been a lot of talk about babies around here lately.
I never thought about family planning before now—I always assumed pregnancy would just happen to me. One day I’d miss my period, take a pregnancy test, and the rest would be history. The reality—at least in this marriage—is that we don’t have sex so often that it’s that hard to keep track of, and, well, if you aren’t trying then it’s pretty easy to NOT get pregnant, even without birth control. So now I find myself in the awkward and unfamiliar territory of having to “decide” and like a white girl with a PSL, I just. can’t. even. Here are the things I am currently worried about…
What about my body? – While I can hear you rolling your eyes the ugly, dirty truth is that I am terrified of pregnancy wrecking my body. It’s not that I’m afraid to put a few scratches on the ol’ wagon (as evidenced by my poor judgment here) quite so much as I am sad to think that I may never get the chance to like my body before its destroyed. I’ve never felt all that satisfied with my body, and I am especially self-conscious about my belly, and in this–the 25th year of Courtney–I have had to come to terms with some seriously distressing changes to my figure (RIP butt). As I get a little bit older things start to move around, I’m showing a little wear-and-tear, and I wonder: if I get pregnant now, will I ever get my butt back? What if I get fat EVERYWHERE? I’m talking feet, fingers, neck… I don’t have enough hair to have a fat face! And most importantly, what will happen to my vagina?
What about my job? – Now here is something you never thought you’d hear Courtney say! The people closest to me joke about me being lazy, and for laughs I perpetuate the idea that I am allergic to work (also exercise which is a form of work that is also torture), but I am finally starting to get some traction in my professional life. I am doing something outside of my house and family that is both personally gratifying and stimulating AND adding value to other people’s lives. I am excited to do my job, eager to see where saying “Yes” will take me, and glad to have an answer when people ask me what I do. But I’m just getting started, and a pregnancy right now would derail all of that… right? I mean, even if I could tough it out until the baby came, eventually the baby would need to be born and then who would breastfeed it and how could I work with my poor vagina falling out for a month afterwards? For the first time I’m barely starting to feel like I am figuring myself out, finding out what I am capable of and what I care about—I’m carving out a place for myself. What will happen to all that momentum?
What about my house? – Sigh. But seriously, we JUST MOVED IN. It’s barely been two months, and I have spent hours and hours dreaming, planning, and building our space to be stylish, comfortable, and welcoming to adults. I just picked out my furniture. Just put up wedding pictures, and art, and decided how the office should be. I have an office! I just color coded my books and put them on shelves in different rooms based on their likeliness to be re-read. I have nice things close to the floor. There is cat litter, cat AND dog food, various animal toys, and electrical cords from all walks of life. Not to mention the actual cats and dog who live here. A baby means baby stuff, and eventually it means baby proofing which means all of this painstaking effort will be for naught! And really the stuff is just a reflection of our lifestyle which is what I am most afraid of having hijacked. What will we have to give up if I get pregnant? Will we still go to the movies, and have friends, and love our animals, and do projects, and drink beer, and shower together, and take long walks where we publicly hash out all of our marital problems? Scariest of all is the possibility that I will become so obsessed with my child that my life will slip away from me and I won’t even care.
What about my mind? – In 2012 I chose not to take Accutane due to the increased suicide risk. After several consultations my doctor sent me home with a novel of warning labels that I had to read and initial before moving forward. The pamphlet kept harping on the risk of suicide, and at some point I thought, I am already pretty emotional… What if I am that person who goes nuts on this stuff? It freaked me out enough to pull the plug on the whole operation, and my tears, my acne, and I all walked away. When it comes to pregnancy and birth people are always talking about hormones—those crazy out-of-whack hormones—and there is a part of me who is legitimately unsure whether or not it is a good idea for me to get those crazy pregnancy hormones. I struggle. I’ve shared about living a life of high-highs and low-lows and that’s under normal circumstances. What will happen when John and I start fighting over whether or not I’m going to brush my teeth before bed and I have CRAZY PREGNANCY HORMONES?! Even if I survive pregnancy with anxiety and depression AND crazy hormones, what will happen after I’ve pushed the baby out and all of those crazy pregnancy hormones go away? I truly worry that I might become an episode of Snapped. Will I hurt myself post-partum? Or my baby? And if by a miracle I don’t suffer any post-partum issues, what about the part where there is a baby in my house screaming at me all day and night, and I am no longer permitted to sleep until I am done sleeping? I don’t want to become a shell of a person, or be dangerous, or neglectful. I smile at mothers who tell me how wonderful motherhood is, how much it changes everything and makes you so strong, but I am afraid that I will actually go crazy if I get pregnant.
Perhaps you are reading this and thinking, “Oh Courtney, you’ll see. Your baby will be so worth it. You will love your baby more than you love your body. You will love your baby so much that you won’t feel sad when everything changes and your whole life becomes about them. Your baby will be the sun and the moon, and the stars!” Deep down I believe you. I believe that somehow I will morph into the kind of woman who is not afraid of bodily fluids and that my baby will fill me with as-yet-unknown joys, and yet… I am scared.