I was freshly 23 years old when I found out I was pregnant. Matter of fact, I took the test exactly one month after my birthday. I can’t say that it was the most ideal time to find out that I was about to be a mother. I was already at a very, very low point in my life. I had been kicked out of my major and forced into making my minor my new focus. I was a Sales Lead at Foot Locker. We had a new store manager and the staff was only myself, the manager, and a few new hires. I was basically working full time as a part time employee and “attending” school as a full-time student. I was very depressed and extremely stressed out. I was broke, so much so that I didn’t even have the money to purchase a pregnancy test. In addition to everything I was going through, I constantly had panic and anxiety attacks. Like I said, I was at a very low stage.
I had realized that I still hadn’t received my menstrual cycle. Whenever I’m under extreme amounts of stress, my period would come a lot later. That’s what I assumed when I kept telling the app on my phone that my period hadn’t come. I called my mom, crying. I said “Mama, I am so stressed out. I don’t even have my period yet. It’s been a week. I don’t know what else to do!” My mom told me that I should take a pregnancy test. She also told me that no matter the result, she would still love me and be there for me every step of the way. So I called my boyfriend and told him I was heading to the store to buy a pregnancy test.
I cried the entire way to the store. I picked out a pregnancy test and as I checked out, I felt this deep feeling of shame. When I got back to my apartment, Jay (my boyfriend) came into the restroom with me as I took my test. I took the test and waited for however long it said to wait until the results came back. Pregnant. I cried. Actually, WE cried. I sobbed and wailed and trembled. I kept saying, “I can’t do this. This is the worst part of my life. I cannot bring an innocent human being into my messy ass life. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!” For forty-five minutes, that continued. I called my mom and told her the results. She asked me to come home the next day.
I think the second hardest part was telling my dad. He’s an associate minister at our church, so technically that makes me a “preacher‘s kid.” He didn’t judge me. He hugged me and told me that he would be there for me. He cried, but he also poured a lot of love into me too. Eventually, Jay and I told our families and close friends. Those that were supportive are still very supportive today. And those that felt negatively, well… they don’t particularly exist to either one of us anymore.
The first trimester was okay. I had morning sickness for about four to five weeks, throwing up at least twice a day. I couldn’t even get through brushing my teeth because I would gag. And not having an appetite sucked. I slept. A LOT. It was a rough time for me because I felt (and looked) ugly all the time. Eventually, things eased up.
The second trimester was a lot better. I regained my appetite! I ate Chic-Fil-A almost everyday, Fuzzy’s, street tacos, and Whataburger. I found out that I was having a girl with my mom and that was probably my favorite part of my pregnancy. Everything was going well, until it wasn’t. I took my gestational diabetes test and I didn’t pass. I was diagnosed with it and my whole world came crumbling down again. I felt like it was all my fault and that I had ruined my child’s life even more. Thankfully, it was manageable and I could keep it under control. I just couldn’t eat all my favorite foods. I had to prick my fingers to check my sugars four times a day. Also, I had to document EVERYTHING I ate and how much of it I ate. It was a little stressful, but I was able to get through it. I had my baby shower and that….. it wasn’t the best, but we certainly received plenty of gifts for our baby girl.
The third trimester seemed like a blur. I had double appointments per week for my regular check up and GD checks. Towards the last couple of weeks, I quickly realized that I was really about to give birth. So many other moms that I knew had complete horror stories about their deliveries. Was I scared? Not really. I mean, childbirth is a life or death event. But I wasn’t completely terrified. I was more excited about meeting my daughter.
The Moment of Truth
I had to be induced the night before my due date because I could not carry Avery any longer with GD. My OB wanted me to have a smooth delivery without any complications. The part that no one told me about during childbirth is the pelvic checks. That was the only time that I actually cried during my entire labor and delivery. I got my epidural quickly after my third check because I could not take it anymore. I remained in labor for about 26 hours. What they don’t tell you about labor is that you can’t eat and you only eat ice chips. You can’t even drink water! It was tough, but I managed. The only people I had in the room were my boyfriend and my mom. They were absolutely amazing. My nurses and OB were fantastic. During my delivery, they encouraged me and supported me with each push. I delivered Avery in exactly forty-five minutes. The feeling was euphoric. My moment was here. My child, someone that I was able to grow in a body that felt useless, was here and tangible. The feelings I had before when I first became aware of my pregnancy suddenly went away. I could feel God’s presence with me and within me.
As I reflect back on that time, I am reminded of how precious life is. There is such a thing of having a second chance. Having an opportunity to restart your life. Do I still have moments where I feel worthless? Absolutely. But my daughter is who makes me feel worthy. To have someone love you, unconditionally is the best feeling in the world. Someone that you helped create. Someone that looks at you and fills you with the motivation to do better. Avery is that for me. She literally saved my life. I was at a point in my life where I wanted to end it. I struggled heavily with suicide ideation. I wanted to be gone and not deal with my failures. But, a tiny human changed that for me. And I’m thankful. She brings me so much joy, even when it’s super hard because being a mommy is NOT easy.
My advice to any new and expecting mother reading this is to take it easy. Give yourself time. No mama is perfect and we shouldn’t expect to be perfect. What is perfect is your child(ren).Your pregnancy journey is YOUR journey. Do not let anyone ignite fear into your heart because their journey wasn’t the best. You are wielding an unfathomable strength within you. Enjoy this time to watch your body transform and grow. And most importantly, REST WHENEVER POSSIBLE! I hope that my story inspires you to love on your child, yourself, and those that love you.