At some point in every woman's life we're all confronted with one simple thought - babies. And from this one thought, a million questions arise. Do I want to have a baby? Can I have a baby? When will I have this baby? Will I want more than just one?
Regardless of how many different people ask the same questions, there will never be a set answer. One fact is certain though, things rarely work out exactly as you plan.
I am a mere statistic among the millions of women out there who have had an unplanned pregnancy. It's quite a game changer, I can tell you that much, but it's also certainly not game over. You just have to work your way around fitting this new person into your life whilst maintaining your own life too. It's easier said than done especially for those who are teenagers and in their early twenties when your life is about to kick off in terms of studies, careers and relationships - but when there's a will there's a way.
"[An unplanned pregnancy] is quite a game changer, but it's also not game over"
I know plenty of mums who, just like me, were young and not really settled when they first got pregnant. It's a hard time for anyone, but when society's judgements and gossip catch up to you, you can only ignore them for so long. I've heard them all: "ah, she tried to get pregnant to trap the daddy" or "miskina, her life is totally over" or "illa she can't finish her studies now". More often than not all the gossip you hear about pregnant women is rubbish, and in most cases you would be wise to just nod and smile.
Aside from learning to deal with unwarranted comments, an unplanned pregnancy is a big test, with many challenges. Is this relationship going to work out? Do we love each other ? Are we going to raise this child together? Where will we live? Will our baby be healthy and happy with our decisions?
"Holding your newborn for the first time is probably the most overwhelming experience ever... All the gossip and nasty comments are out the window."
Ultimately the love that manifested for this tiny human, coupled with a whole bunch of hormones, is what kick starts an urgency to sort out a loving home and all of baby's needs. But as so many are aware, the responsibility that falls on your shoulders as soon as you find out you are going to be a parent is huge... for both mother and father! It's so huge that some crack under the pressure, but for those who are able to move forward and see the light, the reward is magnificent.
Holding your newborn for the first time is probably the most overwhelming experience ever. All the pain and hardships are suddenly gone. All the gossip and nasty comments are out the window. All the challenges thrown at you to get your life together are far away. Your baby is your bliss. There is nothing more heart warming than hearing their first cry, and then calming them down with an instinctive cuddle.
I've heard them all: "ah, she tried to get pregnant to trap the daddy" or "miskina, her life is totally over" or "illa she can't finish her studies now"
As time passes, you begin to wonder if it's time to extend the family, and in my case it was. Through everything we stayed together, we raised a beautiful daughter together, and made our home exactly what we wanted it to be. But it's not all rainbows and fairy tales, sometimes life likes to throw you a curveball. We wanted to try for another baby but try as we might, it just wasn't happening.
Clearly, you don't just wake up one morning and boom, suddenly have a baby. After months of trying, and an appointment at a gynecologist booked to investigate why it wasn't managing, I got pregnant. We were thrilled. Finally, after 7 years our daughter was going to have a brother or sister. We were settled, older and wiser. But it wasn't meant to be. At my second ultrasound scan nine weeks in, we couldn't find a heartbeat. Just like that - everything was over. Those 4 small walls at my gynaecologist's clinic came crashing down on me and I didn't know how to face the world anymore.
Thankfully we hadn't told our daughter yet, which in hindsight was a great decision as it would have been too much to take on for a 7-year-old. Although we were glad she wasn't aware, there was a lot of work involved in hiding my three-day stay in hospital, or why I cried so much for a couple of months afterwards.
"We were settled, older and wiser. But it wasn't meant to be. At my second ultrasound scan nine weeks in, we couldn't find a heartbeat."
From every experience of pain and sadness there is a lesson to be learnt. My lesson was that maybe for me, pregnancies just couldn't be planned! Upon doctors orders I was to wait three months for my body to heal until I could start trying for another baby (should I wish to, of course). Part of me said no way - never again. Another part was craving to feel the little tummy kicks and the amazing 'newborn' smell.
Six weeks later I was pregnant again - and this time she was a fighter. It was a challenging pregnancy to say the least, both physically and emotionally, particularly because it was so soon after the miscarriage. Nonetheless, our beautiful baby girl arrived in my arms safe and sound and of course, oh so very loved!
Everyone has different experiences when it comes to pregnancy. Some good, some bad, but for everyone the whole experience is just the start of the roller coaster ride you're on when you bring children into the world - and we all know it ain't all roses! Planned or not, children are a blessing and after the cards I was dealt I have this strong feeling that everything really does happen for a reason.