Celebrations… without libations

Last week Cody and I announced our amazing news that we are expecting our first baby bean!

It was the day of my girlfriend Kim’s baby shower – the entire day I had felt so sick, tired and dizzy. I went to her shower with my other love, Ashley, by my side, smiled and cooed at all the adorable blankets and stuffies, all the while thinking about the day she would get to hold her baby boy in her arms. She would make an amazing mother, and all these women where there surrounding her and supporting her.

I excused myself early. I was ready for my bed, but had cleaning to do and dinner to make.

As I was preparing dinner, I thought and calculated as to why I would be feeling so crappy…and suddenly it came to my mind…it wasn’t a tumor…It was a little bundle of something growing in my belly slowly exhausting me.

I had planned before how I would tell Cody and suddenly it all melted away, I screamed, cried and jumped up and down, then ran outside to tell Cody the news.

Best. Feeling. Ever.

Cody has always told me he wanted to be a daddy. I remember a conversation when we first moved into our house 5 years earlier about how he could see us having a baby sooner rather than later. I wanted to wait, I wanted to be married and get into the groove of owning a house – but that conversation always stuck in the back of my mind.

To be able to tell him that he was going to be a daddy, and see the excitement flood his eyes will be a memory I forever hold dear.

Now, I am a researcher and I google EVERYTHING – and from previous searches I know that people, doctors, and other baby professionals tell you that you should wait until your 12th week to announce to the world that you are expecting – which I don’t understand.

Well, we didn’t wait. I called my mom and told her to come over. Cody called his dad and told him and then called his mom and told her. We wanted to share our news – and I am so happy we did! My mom has done this before. This will be her 5th pregnancy announcement coming from one of her daughters, but the hug I got was one of the tightest I have ever had. Cody’s mom screamed for joy and still has not stopped telling me how happy she is. I told my sisters right away, because that was one reaction I was BEYOND excited to experience. In our group of friends, we are one of the…actually, we are the last couple to have a baby (2015 will forever be known as the year of love with all the weddings and babies), so we immediately announced to our friends too.

We told our family, and our friends and then when we hit 12 weeks, we announced it to the Facebook world.

The thought behind holding off until the 12th week is because a miscarriage is more common during the first trimester, but for me, I thought if something happens, and this feeling of love and joy (which is also known as nausea) goes away, then I am going to need support. I am going to want to talk about it, I am going to want to try to get through it, and work through it.

Why was I waiting 12 weeks for something bad to happen instead of celebrating something good? The something good right now! I am pregnant! I GOT PREGNANT! Suddenly every neurologist who told me that there was a high chance that this could not happen, it happened. All the doctors appointments and the wishing and waiting – it happened.

This week we announced to Facebook AND I celebrate two years seizure free. I am counting my blessings, and holding my belly tight.

Cody and I are beyond excited to start the next chapter of our life, and we and can’t wait to share our journey with you all!

~ Jacqui and Baby Bean ❤

I want to be happy for you

It happens all the time.

It happened on Tuesday when I went to the hospital for therapy.

It happened when I was watching The Social.

It happens every time someone announces their pregnancy.

It happens when I spy on my neighbours across the way with their new family of three.

It happens with every person I love who tells me they want to have babies.

It happens All. The. Time.

I feel sad and worried for them. I feel engulfed in feelings of anxiety and fear for them. I want to tell them it’s a decision that is heavier than the fun they had or will have making the baby. That once they make it, they’ll never be able to un-make it. That it will be so hard. And not just hard, but the hardest. I want to say to them that they should run away, stay single, stay a DINK, do anything but become parents, have babies, make a family. ANYTHING.

I don’t of course. I smile and act happy, act excited, act enthused. I sit there and bite my tongue and cheeks and teeth, praying that my experience, my history, my perspective doesn’t come tumbling out of me and scare the crap out of them, especially if they’re announcing they’re expecting (a little late for a change of plans, you know).

But it’s my truth. It’s my experience. It’s what I know. You get pregnant and you’re happy. SO happy. You are a walking miracle. And then you have the baby and it’s awful. Your brain breaks into hundreds of fragments and only the worst parts of yourself rise to the surface. You fight every day to stay in your skin, to get out of bed, to keep tiny bundles of need alive, to not lose yourself, to not break-up your relationship with your partner, your family, your friends, to learn to love your baby, to grow into a mother instead of the monster you’ve become.

You hide because you can’t stand the thought of people seeing through the façade you’re putting on. You run away from home every chance you can because if you spend one more second in your house alone with your infant you’re not sure you’ll survive it. You seek out crowds or stay in your room. You are the extreme of unhappy in what should be the happiest moment of your life. And you have no control over anything, least of all what your brain is doing to you.

I’m not sure if there will ever be a time where I feel genuine happiness for someone when they share their stork-schedule news. I don’t know if I’ll ever get enough distance between me and postpartum depression and mood disorders to be able to conjure up anything but dread for the couple that is leaving the hospital, walking around Wal-Mart like disoriented zombies, or showing off their brand-new baby. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be ‘normal’ when it comes to pregnancy or birth announcements.

But let me be clear.

I love my babies. It’s a love that I’ve earned and that for me was hard-won. It’s a love that is complicated and messy, fulfilling and exhausting, absorbing and alienating. It’s a love and experience I wouldn’t change for anything in the world. Ever.

Sophie and me

Sophie and me

I wouldn’t send any of them back or not have babies. It was in the game plan since before I can recall ever making a game plan and there is no other way I would have my life or any other way that I see my life.

Lillian and me

Lillian and me

I would love to have anything other than a mental illness every time I had a baby, but it’s not enough for me to wish all of my babies, my loves, away.

Isaac and me

Isaac and me

And when you do tell me that you’re pregnant, or that you want oodles of babies, or when I see your Facebook announcement that you’ve given birth to a beautiful new member of your family, I will do everything in my power to be happy out loud for you. To recall how I felt in the seconds after we found out about Sophie, Lillian, Charlie, and Isaac, in the seconds after I got to meet them, in the days, weeks, months after I learned to love them. To focus on the moment you are sharing with me, not the moments that might be for you and have been for me. To be present in your happiness, in your joy, in the experience that will change your life forever.

Babies and me

Babies and me

Because I want to be happy for you. I do. And I’m so humbled that you are choosing to share it with me, even though I’m a walking train-wreck PSA of what not to do when you have a baby.

So tell me. And I’ll hug you and pray that your experience is what mine becomes, that your love and health is present from the start and carries through, always.

I promise.

~ Julia