Most days it's hard for me to believe I'm actually pregnant and now less than 100 days away from meeting my baby girl. I've wanted to be a mom for most of my life and have struggled with finding the right partner and right time. I used to think I wanted to start having kids at 23 years old, but then I got to that age and it didn't feel right so I thought by 26 and again it didn't feel right. Had I been in a different relationship I would have, but I believe everything happens for a reason. I moved to San Diego after my 30th birthday and spent a couple years briefly dating but nothing serious, and so I contemplated what I would do if I didn't fall in love in the next few years.
Matt and I started dating in 2019 and it was a slow start, meaning we'd hang out about once a week for the first few months. After about 7 months (around the holidays) I started to sleep over and we became more "serious".
*cough* he stopped sleeping with other people *cough*. In March of 2020 the pandemic had started the lockdowns and our relationship became even closer. My dog Daisy and I moved into his studio apartment, but I kept my studio apartment for another 7 months. That summer we found out I was pregnant it went from good to bad real quick. His family didn't approve and got in his head about our relationship. Matt and I started seeing a couples counselor and decided it wasn't the right time for us to start a family. We "broke up" for about a week, but the experience of losing a baby we could have had brought us even closer.
We were both devastated and lived with a lot of regret. We moved into a new place together and decided to start "trying" to grow a family a couple months later. I would say it took about 5-6 months before I got pregnant this time. Each month when I would get my period it felt like my body failed me, and I was being punished for my sins or previous choices. I had started tracking my ovulation both on an app and with pee tests each month, and was making sure to stay healthy by eating enough, sleeping enough, and not over exercising. What helped me the most was talking to a yoga friend from back home who had experienced a miscarriage. She gave me some really good advice, and has been my pregnancy mentor ever since.
The day I found out I was pregnant was on the year anniversary date of when I had decided not to have a baby. It was a beautiful surprise and turned a depressing day into a joyful one. By this point Matt was ready to stand up to his family, and we have experienced a lot less push back and a lot more embrace from them with this pregnancy.
In the beginning of my pregnancy I was of course superstitious to tell people aside from my family. My body started to plump up but I still wasn't ready to tell anyone. I felt most sick from weeks 8 - 10, but thankfully my morning sickness was not extreme as it is for some people. I was tired in the beginning and had no energy to clean or do dishes. It was hard for me to drink water because I didn't like the taste so I started to add flavors to it so I didn't get dehydrated. Our first ultrasound was at a free clinic because we wanted to verify the pregnancy. It was my first time seeing my baby on the big screen and a memory I'll never forget.
Eventually after a lot of back and forth with insurance and upgrading to a PPO plan I was able to find an OBGYN. At my first ultrasound with her they determined I was about 9 days earlier than expected. This is because sometimes our bodies will produce a period even if we are already pregnant. Since I will be 35 when the baby is born I've had to do extra bloodwork and ultrasounds with a specialist to track the health and growth of the baby. I don't mind because it's nice to know everything is ok. Since you don't start feeling the baby move until about week 18-20 it's also nice to hear the heartbeat etc. before then.
Before we found out the gender I had imagined a boy. I think because I grew up with sisters and Matt's brother has two girls we both wanted to experience something completely new. The day we found out I had gone to get food and the check out girl had a necklace with the name we were going to use if the baby was a boy. I came home and told Matt claiming it was a sign, and his response was "ya, that it's a girl!". Sure enough two hours later, we got the call and learned we are having a baby girl. At first I was upset, not because I didn't want a girl but because I felt like my intuition had failed me and I had to completely reimagine what it would be like to become a mother. After a couple days we became excited about the news, and of course like any soon-to-be parents were just happy she is healthy. We also decided to keep the name we were going to use if she was a boy, and will choose a more feminine middle name to go with it :)
I decided to book some photos for when I was 6 months pregnant so we could create a holiday card for our friends and family. I had never taken couple photos before, and I was so happy with the photographer we went with. One of my friends had worked with her, and she had a fair price for quality work. Since I value photography and the art of storytelling through images I wanted to work with someone with her style.
After finding out I was pregnant and going to see my doctor for the first time I told Matt I was insecure about not having a ring. I know it comes from a place of ego, caring about what others perceive me or us as but it's how I felt and he agreed and understood. I was about 4 months pregnant when he proposed to me during a yoga class he was teaching. He is terrible when it comes to keeping secrets so he had said if he were to propose that's how he would do it. I also knew that he had asked his mom for one of her rings with a gold band, since I prefer gold over silver jewelry, and that she had given him one to get sized and cleaned for me.
The proposal was perfect! I was awkward getting all this attention during his class, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Some people take vacations or go to a fancy dinner, but we met at this yoga studio and it felt very romantic and sentimental. I think if we ever get married it will be a small ceremony at the beach or his parents backyard. To me, I don't care to be legally married, but love the idea of gathering our close friends and family together to celebrate.
Is it really "my turn"?
Most of my pregnancy I've been afraid to accept that truth, or allow myself to dwell in emotions of joy and excitement.
I knew I wanted to be a mom at 3 years old when my sister was born. I've spent most of my life happiest when I'm around kids. I started babysitting at age 12, and have witnessed the power of being loved by a child many times. Yet I waited and waited to create a baby of my own. I made choices I may never truly forgive myself for waiting for it to be the "right time", and now here I am...
Growing a baby to love, hold and cherish for the rest of my life.
How can I feel joy when so many are not as lucky? How dare I share my photos of being pregnant when so many women might be suffering to have what I have? I use my social media and this blog as a diary of my past and present, something for me to look back at. I hope that none of my images ever make anyone feel less than, because I know how toxic media can be when it comes to self-esteem.
That being said, thank you to the friends and family who have been there for me through it all.
photos by Schaelynne DeHaan