My birthday is coming up on Sunday, which means it’s almost a year since M. and I took an extended weekend trip to Warsaw to celebrate my turning 30. Around that same time, he and I also had a discussion about future plans. From a young age, I was the type to have things figured out, and when I first moved away from home and started university, I had a plan for my life. Needless to say, most things didn’t turn out as I’d thought they would, and as a result, the last decade has required me to be flexible, to deal with uncertainty, to take on new challenges and risks, and to let life happen.
Today, I am someone who still makes plans, but I’m realistic about them. Usually they’re short-term, and I always try to keep an open mind.
Where am I going with this? Well, one of my “readjusted life plans” was that I wanted to be pregnant some time in my 30th year. To be honest, I’ve had this maternal urge for years, but it wasn’t something I wanted to force if the time wasn’t right (or as right as these things can be). So when I turned 30 last year, M. and I had a “checking in” conversation. By our third date, we’d already discussed the fact that we both want kids, and the age 30 “deadline” wasn’t so scary then. And so we decided when I turned 30 that we’d wait about six months and then start trying. That gave us time to go to the doctor, make sure vaccinations were up to date, start taking folic acid, drink all of the beers, etc. etc.
On September 30, 10 days post-conception, I learned I was pregnant (though I’d suspected it for about five days prior to that). We kept it under wraps, waiting until we visited my family for Thanksgiving so that we could tell them in person. Then we told M.’s family, and finally we could tell our friends and extended family members. We sent out Christmas cards to our closest friends, and told others as we saw them in person. We didn’t make any social media announcements (though a few people have figured it out), but now here I am almost six months pregnant, and considering a baby will be a large part of my life pretty soon, I figured I should probably blog about it sooner rather than later.
That said, I’M PREGNANT!
There are a lot of people who might wonder why I didn’t talk about this that much, and there are a handful of considerations.
1) Privacy. Pregnancy is such a “public” thing in that once you are visibly pregnant, everyone knows it, and a lot of people make it their business. I have not experienced any unwanted touching from strangers, but yesterday was the first time a stranger commented on the fact that I am pregnant (as if I didn’t know already). I realize the intentions are mostly kind, but my reproductive choices and happenings are really no one’s business but mine and my partner’s. Not putting it on blast was a way of keeping it a personal thing that I could control in some sense.
2) Respect. A lot of people I know are dealing with infertility, loss, and other conception-related issues. And while I don’t feel I should censor myself around them, as I know that not talking about it for fear of “hurting feelings” can make people feel worse, I realize that it can be really annoying and painful to have someone posting shit about being pregnant all over Facebook all day long. Even when friends of mine have been pregnant in the past, while I am happy for them, the moment being pregnant becomes a defining aspect of their lives is the moment I lose interest. There is more to people than that, and while your parents might be interested, I for one don’t want to read about your problems sleeping, your bowel movements, your aches and pains, etc. So I decided not to subject people to that either unless they explicitly said they wanted to know (and for those who do want to know the specifics, ask privately and I can give you a link).
3) Work. Navigating being pregnant and working is not necessarily easy, and while there is job protection here in Germany (e.g. you can’t lose your job once you tell your employer you’re pregnant, and they are required to have work for you when you come back from parental leave), it doesn’t necessarily apply to freelancers. As such, I wanted the opportunity to notify my regular clients in person and negotiate how that will affect my work in the coming months before coming out in public. While I am lucky enough to live in a country where women have established rights that allow them to have children and work, it’s still something where I wanted clients to find out from me, and not from online or other random people.
On to the baby part of it. I am lucky in that this has been an insanely easy pregnancy. Two weeks of morning sickness from weeks 6-8, and a few bits of nausea here and there, but overall I am healthy and happy, and my mood is generally good. The first trimester was exhausting, and just as promised, the second one has been a smooth ride, though I am starting to get uncomfortable as the third hides just around the corner. In fact, the hardest part has been getting used to my own body changing so much and the ways that it affects me, such as how I sleep, how I am slowed down, how my center of gravity has shifted, etc.
We had our major diagnostic ultrasound a couple weeks ago and everything is just about perfect. No developmental issues, no markers for any kind of genetic problems, and this baby (or Baby Tiger as we have taken to calling it) is pretty much in the middle for all the things like weight and length and growth. Baby Tiger is also super active these days; I have been feeling things with frequency for at least a month, and M. can feel harder kicks from the outside as of the past week or two. We do know the sex, and we do have a name, but we’re not telling anyone either of these things. Right now we are narrowing down the midwife and hospital searches, and next will be signing up for classes and doing all the paperwork for maternity and parental leave. It’s a big change, but we are excited for what it will bring and how it will grow our relationship.
TL;DR: I am having a baby.