I always thought that I would be a mother. I grew up having this vision of the white picket fence, the charming husband, and children running around my yard as I stand there with a ten-mile smile and a pie in my hand calling everyone in for dinner. I couldn’t have been more far off with the understanding of what I actually wanted for myself. I grew up with very Christian views that this was the way things were supposed to be. You could say that I have mixed feelings about Christianity right now. I believe in God; however, I am not so partial to the limited belief system. Because of the people that I chose to surround myself with there was an understanding that you DID NOT have sex before you were married and that there was only one special person out there for you.
Sorry that I'm not sorry, but this is such a load of bull. I feel sick to my stomach about the belief systems that are laid on children at such a young age about their bodies and what people will think of them if they choose to use them. For one, there could be so many people out there for you, and two, marriage is not for everyone. I have to stop myself right now because I have ten million things to say about religion and I do not intend for this to be a post about that. Anywayyyyy, as you can very much see where this is going, I did NOT refrain from having sex before I was married. I dealt with SO much shame because of this, and I’m sad that I had to experience shame instead of understanding and mutual compassion for another human being. FYI: I very much value marriage and the importance of sexual intimacy with your partner and I am not shaming any point of view regarding specific values in relationships.
So here I am, 25 years old, I had been with my boyfriend Jeff for about a year (my current husband), and we were living together and leading a sexually intimate life. We weren't particularly safe about our relations, and I think something happens when you don't use protection? I remember taking a walk with him one evening; we loved walking everywhere together. We were headed to go grab some swisher sweets from the gas station up the road (classy I know), and I had this overwhelming urge to ask him “Hey, what would you do if I was pregnant?” He just looked at me and was like “Then we’d have a baby.” It was so non-chalent. He totally could care less. There was a piece of me that took comfort in this, and then another side of me that was like “how can you be so chill about something when we aren’t even married?!”
Fast forward two weeks, I'm sitting at work, chatting with my office mate and telling her “ya know, I'm totally late on my period. I don't track this shit, but like, I'm definitely late...I think”. The anxiety was welling up inside of me like a balloon that was about to pop. I had mentioned to Jeff (hubs) that I felt like I was late a week earlier and was going to keep an eye on it, but everything was probably fine. Well, when I didn't start that following week, I decided I had to take a test. I left work on my lunch break, grabbed a pregnancy test and scooted home as fast as I could. I grabbed one of those two lines and “congrats you're pregnant” pregnancy tests and immediately upon use the “you're not pregnant” line shows up. Once I saw that I was like “oh it's fine,” then had to remind myself that I needed to wait a few moments to see if the second line appeared. Sitting on the toilet, test in hand, head down, eyes closed, 30 seconds pass by, I open my eyes. Surprise, you’re fucking pregnant.
At first, I was in disbelief. No no no no no, this wasn’t happening. I wasn’t pregnant. Wait, yep, I’m pregnant. I cleaned myself up, entered the hallway, pace pace pace. Then the hyperventilating. Then comes probably the worst thing I could have done. Which was grab my cell phone and text Jeffrey that he needs to come home ASAP because I'm pregnant. HAHAHA. Ok, I can laugh about it now but like what was I thinking? My poor husband, he gets a text from his girlfriend at the time, that she’s pregnant and quite frantic. I had to wait two whole hours for him to come home, which felt like a lifetime to me given my state of mind at the time.
Upon seeing him enter the house, I broke down sobbing. The number of mixed emotions I felt was enough to nauseate the thickest of stomachs. I always wanted to be a mom, right? But Jeff wasn’t my husband, and I didn’t know if I was ready to be a mom. I did NOT feel good about this. I was NOT excited. I did NOT want to have a baby. I probably sobbed for a good week straight. I remember texting my mom at one point saying that I couldn’t do this and I didn’t want to be a mom. Then the SHAME seeped in oh my God the SHAME. I remember texting a some friends who I had been close friends with for a very long time (after the initial shock wore off). I was the odd duckling out with them, for they grew up with Christian parents, and mine were agnostic. They didn’t have sexual relationships, and I had a few. I told them that Jeff and I were going to have a baby and that we were in love and very much looking forward to a happy, healthy life together, and I will NEVER forget what one of them said. They told me they would pray for me and that I needed to make sure that I sought out time with God to make things right with Him and basically ask for forgiveness. Ok, thanks, I’ll get on that (insert drastic eye roll here and with a wave of shame to smack you in the face).
Again, this is probably where the offending people will come into play, but I’m not going to hold back on the pain that I experienced because of other peoples unrealistic religious expectations of me. Ok, I guess this post is turning a bit religious. It took me a long time to get over the fact that I was having a baby before I was married. Can you believe that? I had to endure feeling pain and shame and self-hatred because someone taught me that it was WRONG to have sex before having a husband. Like somehow the people who decided to get married first had things more figured out than I did, or were more equipped to bring children into the world. There are plenty of arguments for this, and I understand them thoroughly, and I can even find validity in pieces of why things are beneficial when done a certain way, BUT I should not have felt anything besides joy, and love, and support during this time. However, for the most part, I had a beautiful support system and friends who I would consider part of my “Christian community” that were beautiful lights during this time.
Discovering that you’re going to be a parent and knowing your whole world is about to be flipped upside down, is a cataclysm of emotions. Whether you're a momma or papa who has been trying for a long time to conceive, you’ve adopted, or whatever the situation may be, knowing you are about to become a parent fills you with every emotion imaginable. If you don't have kids or don't plan to have any kids that's cool, to those of you in or on the path to parenthood, I honor your journey.
The day Lydia was born was one of the most magical days of my life. I learned so much about myself during my preganancy and espcially after giving birth. You can count on me sharing my birth story with you, as it's complicated and yet quite beautiful. Holding Lydia in my arms for the first time flooded me with unspeakable love. I knew there could be no more room left for shame surrounding this beautiful little humans life once I cradled her tiny body next to mine. Oh, and to top it off, my (now) husband got down on one knee just hours after giving birth, and asked me to be his wife with our baby girl snuggled by our side. TAKE THAT SHAME.
This journey, my journey, to Discovering Chelsea is all about me being completely candid with you. I was not ready to be a mom. In fact, when I found out I was having a girl, I cried. I didn’t want a girl. I fear for women. I did not want to spend a lifetime fearing for my child. But we cant choose the identities of our children, and at the end of the day my little one is Lydia, and she is not confined to her gender. I am so honored that Lydia chose me to be her momma. She makes me want to laugh, scream, cry, and cuddle all at once. Ending this blog post here feels a bit premature, because becoming a parent is most definitely a long-ass, very winded journey. We genuinely don’t ever have any actual time to acclimate to becoming a parent; it just happens as we go, because every human beings existence and experiences in their lifetime are unfolding literally before our eyes. I promise to share some of the more crazy-frustrating, pull your hair out, lock yourself in a closet moment(s), but without actually sharing the journey of my initiation into motherhood, you all would think I’m off my rocker. But I also may be off my rocker, and for today, I’ll take that as a win.