'Surprise! You're pregnant!'

The story of my pregnancy announcement is now family folklore. When my sister casually shot out the “are you sure you’re not pregnant?” question, I responded with guffaws and lamentations over my weight gain. Despite my protests, she demanded we purchase a test before we headed home. In retrospect, I should’ve known. 

I’d put on weight, but my kind friends hadn’t commented so I reckoned it wasn’t too awful. My boss was convinced I’d either lost my mind or was pregnant. She knew, all too well, to let me just figure this one out for myself, and that it would probably be easier to question my sanity, than question my gestation process.

Unplanned pregnancies

I was reading up on unplanned pregnancies the other day, and all of this came flooding back - the weird self-judgment, the furrowed brow and the almost intangible excitement over becoming a mom. The University of Glasgow, not so long ago, found that women who have an unplanned pregnancy often fair better in many ways than those who meticulously plan. It was found that surprise pregnancies often led to women scoring higher when it came to cementing relationships, improving their work and social lives. I can understand that – an unplanned pregnancy catapulted me into an extreme desire to succeed, plan ahead and tie up every single loose end in my life. That jolt of surprise spurred me into action and, in many ways it is that jolt that still gives me momentum every day. 

After we’d told our families, shrugged off our denials and come to terms with this unexpected turn of events, we discovered I’d had the easiest first trimester ever known to anyone. I was, in fact, into my fourth month of pregnancy.

Whenever I tell this story, fellow moms are often in awe of me for having survived the first trimester without noticing it. Other moms freak out on my behalf with protestations like “I’d lose my mind if I didn’t plan for it!”

Here come more surprises!

But the surprises were far from over. We spent the seemingly-shortest-pregnancy-ever rushing around trying to fit our lives and home into welcoming a child into the world. The incoming arrival of my daughter became like a job to me, and preparing for her life a task I needed to complete. I felt almost like I just had to get this pregnancy over and I’d get a gold star at the end.

One evening, however, she decided to remind me that she was very real, by kicking her foot out so hard and far, I could see the perfection of her toes pressed against my belly. In that moment, she became real. Her strong announcement of her self as a reality, stuck with me.

My best friend also had a surprise pregnancy, and another friend of mine is currently reveling in this strange yet lovely upheaval. I’ve been privy to their secret fears, and their total wonder over how their lives have already changed. I look at that surprise unwinding its way into their lives, and I smile.

The surprise of my daughter stays with me every day. From the incredibly fast labour, to her quick migration into walking, to the moment she first blurted out “mama” on a rainy Thursday evening. My surprise pregnancy led me to my surprise life, and I’ve never been more grateful.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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