I knew I was pregnant. I had never been so sure of something, and yet, so uncertain. Although my partner and I had been dating and living together for a couple of years, we weren’t married, and hadn’t exactly mapped out our future together. In fact, I had recently lost my father, or “papa” as my brothers and I called him, to Stage IV Esophageal cancer, and had left my career to be an apprentice on an organic vegetable farm. To say I was ready for a baby or anywhere put together enough to embark on the journey of motherhood would be a gross understatement. Perhaps, what nagged at my soul the most was having a baby out of wedlock. It just wasn’t me. I was a straight A, student athlete. Responsible. Sensible. A girl that never caused much of a fuss, let alone, got pregnant without planning it. It felt shameful. And it broke my heart because everything I envisioned for my life path seemed to shatter.
The morning I saw the “+” appear, I was flooded with emotions – excited, terrified, and a stomach full of butterflies. Peter had already left for work, and I soon left for the farm. I formed a sisterhood with two of the girls on the farm, and as we were harvesting some hot summer crop, I shared my secret with them. I’ll never forget their squeals of delight, warm embraces, and big smiles. No judgement was passed, just support and pointed questions about my feelings about it all. They took extra care of me that day, checking in and making sure I was drinking enough water. It was an expression of kindness and love, pure and simple – exactly how every woman who gets pregnant unexpectedly deserves to be treated.
As the day went on, I admitted my joy, but also my fear – a baby wasn’t part of the plan right now. But, my beautiful friends reminded me to feel it all, and take some time to really think about what I wanted. With any unplanned pregnancy, shushed tones about abortion permeated the humid summer day. Although 1 in 4 women will have an abortion by the age of 45, and will choose that for a multitude of complex reasons, I couldn’t handle the thought of it. I considered myself lucky. I was 28. I was in a solid, happy relationship. But, I couldn’t help but wonder, we’re we ready for the life changing addition of a child?
As my thoughts swirled under the hot sun, all I wanted to do was get home to Peter. I needed to see his face and have him hold me. I needed to know what he thought, this man I loved, but also the man I was still learning. Would he be happy? Would he rather I get an abortion? I honestly didn’t know, and waiting to tell him was like a balloon getting filled with too much air – I was about to pop from the pressure.
I made my way home, talking it through with my always supportive mom. She was elated by the idea of another grand baby. I found myself in our small kitchen, still in my dirt-crusted farm clothes, he in his fishy fish clothes, and I blurted, “I have something to tell you.” Tears welled in my eyes, and before I could say another word, he pulled me close to him, and with a wry smile said, “You’re pregnant, aren’t you?” We burst into tears, hugged, kissed, and started and stopped a million different thoughts.
We started doing the math, and realized our baby was due almost a week to the day that my dear papa had passed away. Divine intervention? Many cultures believe that when one soul passes, another soul is born. Without a shadow of a doubt, our Lachlan Theodore (my dad’s name) is the truest expression of life – beautiful surprises wait around every corner – try to see them.
You Got This,