As I sit here on my sofa with my seven-year-old son, Norrin, leaning against me as I type, I think about the day I found out I was pregnant. The Friday of Memorial Day weekend 2005.
I never wanted to be a mother. I certainly wasn’t trying to get pregnant. At twenty-nine-years old, I had never been pregnant; not even a scare.
And I wasn’t the kind of woman anyone would call maternal. I didn’t coo over babies or rub pregnant women’s bellies hoping I would be next. I liked after work cocktails, late night parties, and sleeping till noon.
My husband, Joseph, and I had been married for less than two years. We were both working and going to school. Doing all the things that young couples do. When our families asked, “When are you going to have a baby?” I cringed and changed the subject. I am certain at some point I was the topic of conversation around someone’s Thanksgiving table. “She probably can’t have kids,” I bet they said. Because the inability to have children was the only reason why a woman wouldn’t have one.
When I took the pregnancy test that Friday after work and saw the positive result I laughed out loud and took another test – just to be sure. When the second test came out positive, I called the 800 number on the back of the box. I needed to know if there was any way the test could be wrong.
What would I do with a baby? I didn’t even like babies. And babies didn’t like me. They usually cried in my arms; I didn’t know how to comfort or talk to them.
The day after I found out I was pregnant, Joseph and I met friends in the park for a barbecue. Our friends had a young daughter. We didn’t tell them our news. I spent the day sitting in the grass, trying not to be sick from the smell of grilled meat. Joseph and I exchanged smiles every so often, both of us thinking by this time next year, we’ll be a family. He was excited, I was nervous.
I spent the first few weeks of my pregnancy uncertain of what kind of mother I’d be. Wondering and worrying whether my baby would find comfort in my arms. I had read and reread Sylvia Plath’s “Metaphors,” a poem on pregnancy. And all I kept thinking was, I’ve boarded this train and there’s no getting off. It seemed like my life was going in a direction that I wasn’t ready for. I felt disorientated and out of control, the way I feel when I mistakenly jump on the wrong train during rush hour.
I did not like being pregnant. I didn’t like morning sickness or feeling exhausted, unable to keep my eyes open past eight at night or running to the bathroom every five minutes. And I absolutely didn’t like my heightened sense of smell especially living in New York City, during the summer months on the subway.
And then I heard my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I wasn’t expecting to cry or get as emotional as I did, but I was in complete awe. It was the moment that I fell in love with my baby. I still worried throughout my pregnancy wondering what kind of mother I’d be, but for the first time I was at peace. I was glad to take my seat on the train, looking forward to the journey ahead.
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.
image via iStock Photo