Just for fun, I launch up the Timehop app pretty much daily, just to see what I posted to social media on this day in years past. Today, as I was scrolling through photos of my son, tweets about weight loss and running, and photos of snow, I swiped to see this face staring back at me, with the one-word caption, “Worried.”
It was a feeling I remembered well. It was the day I learned I was pregnant.
I wrote about it a little at the time — or, rather, several weeks later, when I went public with the news — but I didn’t feel comfortable enough with my internal conflict to go into any more detail. Even now, six years later, I feel like two different people: the person who existed before that day and had made the decision not to have children, and the mother who exists now.
I remember that knot of Now What? in my stomach. It was very similar to the helpless feeling of the miscarriage some four years prior, or when Aaron and I were dating and broke up for a week back in 1997, or when I was in 6th grade and felt so not OK with being on the brink of puberty.
The moment I took this photo, I was sitting in the lobby of my work — paradoxically enough, the most private place I could think of, where I wouldn’t be overheard. The ceilings are high, the lobby spacious, and the fountain loud. I was awaiting a call from my OB’s office. I’d called them the day before, from this same spot, to tell them I’d missed two periods (There must be something wrong with my Pill, right?) and of course, they had told me to take a pregnancy test. Just to be sure.
I’d stopped on my way home from work that evening and picked up a pregnancy test. I peed on it before Aaron left for work.
Positive. Of course.
When I talked to the nurse the next morning and gave her the news, it set off a whirlwind of appointments — an ultrasound to determine how far along I was (which turned out to be 10 weeks) and to determine whether the fetus was healthy, initial nurse visit at the OB’s office, etc.
After the calls and the scheduling and the anxious feeling of being at the crest of a rollercoaster, I attempted to return to a normal reality by attending my weekly Weight Watchers At-Work meeting, where I earned my 25-pound award.
I tried to seem normal and gracious, and I gave all the right answers when the leader asked me to share how I got there, how I felt, what the biggest difference was from 25 pounds ago. The truth was, my recent weight loss success had been bolstered by harboring a small being who also needed the calories I was eating. The whole meeting was surreal for me, and I really didn’t get to enjoy my accomplishment in the moment.
I’m a different person now than I was then. Not only am I six years older, but I’ve been through sleep deprivation, fed another human being from my own body, had to be fully responsible for that human being’s welfare with little regard to my own, dealt with that human being’s bodily functions, and snuggled that little human being every night before bed.
My son might have been conceived two months before, but that day was the conception of the mother.