Today a friend of mine found out she was pregnant and her fear and confusion shook me to the core because two years ago, I was in the same place. Slightly different circumstances. Same emotional response. (Hysteria would be an understatement.) Falling fast, the feeling of overwhelming confusion and shock. The fear of responsibility. Fear of time. Fear of change.
At first I thought about terminating my pregnancy. My boyfriend and I barely new each other and the time was all wrong. We were broke. We were careless. We were new. I cried for two days straight. I pretended like nothing was going on in my body. That it was a dream. I tried to smoke. Tried to drink. Tried to lie.
One afternoon at work I wrote myself a letter and it was vengeful and frustrated and full of rage. I wrote of the hate for my body, my anger at the situation, my regret and sadness over having to turn my body into a war zone. How could I have been so careless? It was as if I was being strangled by my fate. I hyperventilated.
I realized after reading through the pages of my moleskin that I could not bear to have an abortion. I couldn't do it. Always thought I could but no. I was far too concerned with metaphor, what it spiritually meant to empty my womb. I knew if I terminated the pregnancy I would feel empty. Sucked of life. Sucked of love. Sucked of stories. Sucked of my own.
I hated that I couldn't go through with it but that was the truth. I wasn't as strong as I thought I was. Or perhaps I was stronger...?
My friend will have her baby. She is about to be married and was planning to get pregnant in the near-ish future. In that way our stories differ but regardless of the circumstances, the surrealism of an unplanned pregnancy is just the same. I saw it in her eyes this morning. I felt it in her arms when she hugged me.
I shook with her.
When I found out I was pregnant I didn't have a friend to give me advice and would have liked one. I think it would have helped for someone who had been there to be there for me.
And so I wrote this letter for my friend and for anyone who might need one in the same situation:
I would congratulate you but I know you don't know how to say thank you right now and that's okay. It's okay to be afraid. It's okay to mourn your single life, your freedom, your yesterday. It's okay to look in the mirror and find yourself unrecognizable. It's okay to feel as if you are sleep-walking, sick to your stomach, speechless. There is nothing wrong with long silences and blank thoughts. There is nothing wrong with being afraid.
Forget morning sickness and weight-gain and childbirth, the hardest part is right now. Today. Trying to understand the largeness of the situation, deciding that the truth is actual, trusting the double lines, saying aloud, "I'm pregnant." There is nothing more difficult than unknowingly crossing the line, becoming two people overnight, touching your body and coming to terms with the fact that inside, a face is forming and with it, a new world- a giant door that leads to everywhere, a wild jungle and OH MY GOD. Yes, everything is different, now.
When I first found out I was pregnant I couldn't say so aloud for several days. I choked on my words and swallowed air in their place. It wasn't until I had written the words down on paper 100 times that I could finally repeat them aloud. "I. AM. PREGNANT." Me, pregnant. I am going to have a baby. There is something alive in my body and one day it will have a name. Holy Shit! How is it possible?
Give yourself time. You do not need to tell anyone if you don't want to. You don't need to be excited yet. You don't need to plan your future. You only need to plan for the moment. For today. Get yourself through today and tomorrow will be easier and then, next week, next week you will feel differently. I promise. The first few days are the hardest. The most confusing. Like in a dream.
It takes time to feel comfortable with a new friend, to get along with a roommate, to trust a stranger and so with the child growing inside of you, it is much the same. The key to any healthy relationship is time. Time and faith and honesty. Be honest with yourself and do not be afraid to be afraid.
Pregnancy was the most amazing physical experience of my life. I cannot imagine never experiencing those forty weeks of creation, the changes and the swelling of self. I cannot imagine my body without it's stretched tattoos and belly flab. I cannot imagine my life without Archer.
I looked into your eyes today and I so remembered the feeling. I remembered the fear, the lack of control, the loss of power. I remembered what I was wearing when I found out, (red tee and jeans) the way my hair looked, auburn roots coming through my black dye-job. Roots that have since outgrown completely. I remember the six pregnancy tests in a row and me unbelieving. I remember shaking my head for a half an hour, huddled under the sink and how my bedroom looked, messy on the other side of the room. I remember the damn dog next door and how he wouldn't stop barking and how for once, I was grateful. The silence was too much to bear. I remember feeling like my life was over. The end.
And I looked into your eyes, at your hair and thought, "you too will remember this moment. You will remember what you were wearing, faded work-out pants and sneakers. The banana clip in your hair. You will remember the smell of my car when I picked you up. You will remember the way the world suddenly looked different. A shade off. A new tint. You will remember it like yesterday. Like the turning-point in your life."
And then I came home, and I looked into Archer's eyes and all I could feel was gratitude and love and joy and I thought of you because one day, 32 weeks(?) from now you will feel it too. You will look into the eyes of something that was a part of you, is a part of you. A gift. A surprise. A beginning. And once again you will be speechless. And then I can congratulate you again and in a whole new way, you won't know what to say.
Most definitely your life has changed directions and the compass is all out of wack. Most definitely I know that you will find your way.