As the right side of my brain started to burn a fiery hole through my head, I felt a familiar brand of rage at all of my fellow shoppers well up inside of me. I had three birthday presents to buy for my daughter’s classmates and of course, every Frozen product in the store was entirely sold out and nothing else would do. Instantly, the store seemed teeming with annoying people intent on ramming my cart.
I stood in the craft aisle, exasperatedly trying to get my daughter to choose a headband or rainbow bracelet loom craft kit when my cell phone rang. I felt a sudden wave of nausea and the buzzing fluorescent lighting overhead became much too bright for me. I just wanted to go lie down.
“How’s it going?” my husband asked brightly when I answered.
“How’s it going?” I snarled into the phone. “I’ll tell you how it’s going — I’m standing here in this freaking packed store spending a million dollars on a stupid kid’s birthday party, I’m hungry, I feel like I’m going to puke, and my head is killing me. Oh — and my period still hasn’t started.”
Needless to say, in addition to the useless birthday presents (we went with the headband maker) that filled my cart that day, I also added one other essential item — a two-pack of pregnancy tests.
And needless to say, the second test in that pack was completely unnecessary. After locking myself in our downstairs bathroom and tearing open the package when I burst through the door (leaving all the groceries still in the car) the test turned a blaring “positive” instantly — just like all three of its predecessors.
And just like the very first time I had met with two unexpected lines, I did the only thing I felt like doing.
Which was to burst into tears — and sob for a good hour on the bathroom floor.
To a backdrop of concerned questioning from my other children, aged 5, 3, and 1 — “Daddy, is Mama ok?” — and the purposeful lack of concerned knocking from my husband, I sobbed for a million different, mostly selfish reasons. I was tired. I didn’t want to breastfeed again. I felt stupid for another unplanned pregnancy. I was finally sleeping through the night. I had just reached an amazing milestone in my career. We were leaving in a few weeks for our first-ever kid-free vacation with all-inclusive alcoholic beverages. I didn’t want this to happen so soon. I wanted to enjoy my next pregnancy. I didn’t want to get fat again.
Today, when I look into my four-month old daughter’s beautiful face, I sometimes feel like the most wretched human being on the face of this Earth for crying when I found out she was on her way. Because she is a complete and total joy in our lives. Not only is she the world’s sweetest, most easy-going and beautiful baby who sleeps 12 solid hours straight at night (and people, I never believed parents who claimed those types of babies existed), but she is just so, so loved. Watching her older siblings love on her is enough to make my heart burst right out of my chest and make me weep into my hot chocolate at Starbucks on a Saturday afternoon while contemplating it. Ahem.
Everything I feared about being pregnant again was so foolish. It’s all been fine and more than fine — well, except for that all-inclusive vacation. I won’t lie, that was pretty miserable with the height of my morning sickness hitting down in the tropics of Mexico equaling not fun times.
And although I may never be able to shake the feeling of guilt I have over the fact that I cried over that pregnancy test, I’ve come to a place where I can accept that there will always be times in my journey as a mother when I simply won’t feel up to the task. I am flawed, I am human, I am selfish, I am weak.
I may doubt my abilities, doubt my strength, and doubt the limitlessness of love and in the face of my own fears, I may just let the tears fall.
Because nothing brings us face to face more with our deepest, darkest fears and insecurities than motherhood. On the journey towards it, in the moments we are born into it, and in living the wondrous, mundane, glorious, and haunting moments of it.
So wherever you are on your journey in motherhood and whatever reaction you may have to that pregnancy test, whether it’s a positive, negative, or a non-test, don’t feel guilty —
We’re all in this together.
Image courtesy of ThinkStock