Dear Single and Pregnant (A Letter To My Former Self)
Just about this time two years ago I found out that a child was hanging out in my uterus – without an explicit invitation to do so. In a matter of minutes, I went from single and social, to single and pregnant. When I took the pregnancy test and saw that plus sign, the first thing I did was call my sister. And no matter where I go or what I do, I will never forget what she said to me, “Car, no matter what happens, you are going to be okay.”
I think about those words very frequently, reflecting on how incredibly scared I was then, and how incredibly happy I am now. And there are so many things I want to say to the me that was crying so hard that she made herself throw-up, while feeling like the weight of the world was on her shoulders…
Dear Single and Pregnant,
I know you are so scared that you don’t have words to explain the depth of the fear. It’s okay. Someone by the name of Ambrose Redmoon (which may or may not be a pseudonym) said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” In the next two years you will see that this quote was meant for you.
There will be nothing more important than building a stable and loving home for your child, and by doing so, you will clear out all of the clutter in your own life. Not intentionally of course. This spring-cleaning of your life will be a byproduct of your pregnancy, and it will separate the trivial from the important. Your mind can only focus on so much, and it will let you know what to forget about, and what to focus on. Follow its lead.
Let’s talk about your family - your Catholic, close-knit, and in some capacities, conservative, family. They will be fine. Actually scratch that, they will be more than fine. They will be excited. Your parents? Yes, I know you are very worried about being a huge disappointment to them. Stop being silly. They will tell you that they have never been more proud of their daughter.
One or both of them will be at every major doctor’s appointment. Your mom will hold you hand in the operating room when you deliver your daughter by c-section, while your dad and sisters wait right outside those swinging doors. They will love your daughter instantly, and see nothing other than perfection in her amazing little face. They won’t leave you alone in the hospital, helping you when you are your most vulnerable – and only making fun of you when absolutely necessary.
And then there are your friends. You are worried that they will abandon you because life will not be nearly as carefree as it once was. Well, 2 years later, you will look at your daughter and thank her for showing you who your true friends are. There will be a steady stream of them filing into your hospital room, and standing by your side, both virtually and in person. You may look at yourself differently, but they treat you just the same, regardless of whether or not you are single, pregnant and single, or a single mom. They love you, for you. And they will love your daughter because she is an extension of you.
Type A personalities like yourself have a hard time doing anything other than achieving and surpassing your own goals, and the goals you think others around you have set. You will worry that this pregnancy is a derailment of your goals, and maybe more importantly – your dreams. You will realize that you are completely wrong. This pregnancy will result in an amazingly beautiful daughter that is a redefinition of your dreams. In the next two years, you will come to accept the fact that very few people are living the life that they imagined for themselves. Instead, you will embrace the fact that true happiness is falling in love with the life that you have.
The fear you once had, will slowly dissipate, and make way for the love that not only fills your heart, but causes it to burst wide open – every single time your daughter says, “Mama.”