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It was a gloriously sunny summer day. The weather was mild for summertime, and thankfully so. I was ridden with morning sickness. At just ten weeks, I felt like a mutated fraction of myself. I could barely keep anything down. I was lethargic, drained, wanted coffee, couldn’t even stomach the smell of coffee, and was oh so sensitive. I had just got together with a bunch of girlfriends for the first time after finding out I was pregnant. The date had been scheduled to catch up on everyone’s lives, but mainly to talk about my wedding. Oh yes, I was a Catholic girl, about to get married in the Catholic Church, and had recently found out I was expecting three months before the Big Day. Whoops! Despite what the clergy might say, I thought amongst my peers, family, and associates, my martial status would be perceived as redundant. Sadly, I was wrong. The Church was fine; some of the people in my life weren’t so much. As my girlfriends and I sat at a spot by the river, they were abuzz with my news. They asked all sorts of questions about the details of the pregnancy: When did it happen? How did I feel? Was I showing? Ya. They could see something. Maybe. Then the question I’m sure each of the girls wanted to ask came, Was it planned?
In my early stages of pregnancy, I’d already been asked this several times. In theory, I was fine with the question. In reality, despite the words being the same, the intonation of the question ended up coming in two forms. The first was matter of fact. Did we plan the pregnancy? The timing? I would get the question and answer with a chuckle, “Ummm… No! The plan was to be able to have a stiff drink to calm my nerves, not to be 13 weeks pregnant on my wedding day!” They would laugh too and we would move onto something else. Totally fine. The second type of delivery was a hard one to digest, as it was laden with judgement. I knew I was getting married. I had passed high school biology. The undertone was, What was I thinking? With this same undertone, I was also told that in this day and age, there is no such thing as surprise pregnancies, and was recommended that I maybe I not talk about my pregnancy too much as it might upset some people.
The judgement cut deep. Unlike some girls who dreamt of their wedding day since a young age, my wedding only became a big deal when I met my husband. Before meeting him, I didn’t know if marriage would be in the cards for me. However, I had spent my life from before preschool onward dreaming of motherhood. My life had been spent playing house, then babysitting, volunteering with younger kids, and tutoring. As an adult, I took any chance I could to helping my friends with their kids. If I wasn’t able find a way to adopt, foster, or have my own children, my vocation in life would not be filled. Why was the worth of my news being met with such strain and reservation?
The timing was not planned. We did understand how babies were made. Nevertheless at the time it happened, we weren’t thinking that maybe nine months later I’d be waddling around town desperate to have one sign baby was on its way. Sure, throwing up on my wedding day was not my favourite. And, I sure would have liked that stiff drink I’d previously laughed about. But my unexpected pregnancy had been very, very much planned. It was all my husband and I wanted in our future. When our daughter was born, fortunately I never heard another utterance of negativity. She was beyond celebrated and welcomed with such unconditional love by everyone in my life. What’s funny though is that when we got pregnant with our second only six months after our first, the reception was totally different. I no longer qualified for maternity leave, I was still nursing, my daughter very infrequently slept through the night, I hadn’t lost the baby weight, and had just began to take time for myself. But, the news was harolded with immediate excitement and showered with approval. In many ways, I felt less ready. Still, we unequivocally wanted a second child. So we were very happy, albeit tired.
In the case of both our kids, the timing was far from planned, but our children absolutely were. On the day of my wedding, my dress was a bit tight; I fatigued easily; and my dancing was certainly less frivolous and carefree as it may have been otherwise. None of that ended up mattering. What I will always remember is the introspection that came with carrying my baby that day. Saying my vows with my little girl growing inside of me was one of the most beautiful gifts ever given to me. As I stood at the foot of the altar, I carried inside of me a profound sense of how rich our marriage would be. As the day went on, I no longer cared about linens, or centrepieces, if the music was to everyone’s liking. It was almost as if all the busyness of frivalities faded away. And all was left was the love and anticipation for my husband, baby, and me <3
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