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From Mud to Motherhood

Let me make something completely clear: I am a tomboy. I have always been a tomboy. I didn’t have many girlfriends as a child because I preferred to be with the boys on my block. In fact, if Michael or Andy is out there somewhere reading this, I am pretty sure you will admit that you didn’t even know I was a girl until you saw me in an occasional dress. It was those moments when you looked at me like you’d never seen me before. In fact, I was typically covered in mud on my dirt bike, so I can see how the pink ribbon in my hair threw you off a bit.

In high school, I preferred soccer and throwing javelin to field hockey or cheer leading. Don’t get me wrong, I always envied those girls a little bit. They always seemed to look so perfect and know how to wear make-up and dress right. I tried to look like a girl form time to time, but usually ended up in t-shirts and jeans, no make-up, and pretty plain hair. I had crushes on boys in school, but never knew how to talk to them like a girl. It was easier to just be their pal and hang out with them platonically.

When I got to college, my sister had her first child. I had always been closer to my dad and brother and didn’t pay much attention to my sister’s pregnancy. I never really thought of myself as someone who would have kids, so I didn’t think it was important to know what pregnancy was like or what to expect. On the day my nephew entered this world, however, I held him in my arms and felt a love I had never experienced before. I felt like it was a new day and a new world. I knew at that moment that I needed to figure boys out, get married, and have kids. How I would ever handle the pregnancy part, however, was still mind boggling to me.

As I got older, I traveled to Kenya, India, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala. I saw thousands of children in my journeys who had no parents. I quickly found a solution: I could still have that love of a child, but I didn’t have to do the pregnancy part. I could adopt children and live happily ever after. This was so perfect because the thought of an actual baby coming out of my body seemed about as unreal to me as an alien sprouting from my belly button. To top it off, the longer I stayed single, the more I enjoyed it. I never felt that push to have to get married. Adoption would for me be perfection.

Not only was this pregnancy a surprise and so far from my plan for my life, it felt foreign to me. What a bizarre thing to have a little critter with arms and legs floating around inside me. For my first trimester, I stopped running. I thought maybe the baby would get lost because I was bouncing around so much. Then, I stopped doing squats because I was worried that the baby would simply fall out. The things that go through my mind are so strange and ridiculous. Still, no matter how clueless I am or how much of a tomboy I feel like on the inside, I still get the sense that I was meant to do this. I have never felt so much like a woman as I do now. That sense of protection, love, patience, and peace are what it is to be a mother. It doesn’t matter if I would prefer to be in jeans and covered in mud, I am still a woman and am blessed with the most amazing experience that only woman can have.

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flutters.

Today is not a day for long drawn out essays about right or wrong or what is going on with my crazy emotions or opinions. My little baby has been doing laps around my abdomen and making flutters and bubbles float inside me. I thought this would freak me out, but it is incredible. I have had moments of utter loneliness and fear in all of this, but how can I possibly feel either now? This little child is growing inside me and with me everywhere I go.

When I lay my hand on my tummy and feel the miniature kicks and tumbles, nothing exists outside of me and this little wonder. Nothing and no one matters anymore. I’m not sure how this happened to me because I certainly don’t deserve anything this wonderful.

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pregnancy test

After losing my father to a 3-year battle with cancer, I began realizing how precious life is and how everyday matters. When he died, I decided that I would begin visiting friends again, catch up with people I hadn’t spoken to in years, and go see places I never saw before. It would start with a race. A couple I am close to and have known since high school suggested the three of us spend some time in Nashville and run a half marathon. We had run before and had plenty of time to train, so I thought it was a great idea.

After a successful run and an almost perfect vacation, we said our goodbyes. I was the last to leave the hotel and had a feeling something was off, so I took a pregnancy test. There was a very light plus sign that appeared, but it was so hard to see that I assumed it was wrong and I had done something wrong. I shrugged it off as nothing and I headed on to Memphis to visit Graceland in honor of my Uncle Tad, who was a lover of Elvis. By the time I reached Memphis, my period was a day late, I had no appetite, and everything around me smelled weird. I tried to ignore this and enjoy my trip, but was already worried. Two days after I was late, I had arrived in Little Rock for the next part of my trip and was staying with Tim, one of my closest friends.

I woke up on my first morning in Little Rock and took the next test. This time, I took a digital test that clearly read “pregnant.” My heart sunk. This could not be happening. This test must be dysfunctional. I recently finished grad school and started a new job. I was going to get settled in there, get married, and THEN have a family. I had only slept with two men in my entire life and the last one was an old friend from high school who was supposed to just be a summer fling. We had chemistry and had a great time together, but we were not serious. I could already hear friends and family saying things like, “How could you be so stupid? What were you thinking?, How could you be so immature?” I didn’t even know where to begin with those questions. I was asking myself the same things. I couldn’t even remember how I got into this mess in the first place. All I could feel was everyone’s surprise and disappointment. How did I let myself get so far from who I am and so far from where I was only a few months before?

test

I came out of the bathroom and looked at Tim and his roommate who I had never met before, “I’m pregnant!” Tim chuckled, looked at his roommate and said, “This is my friend Bekah.” Not exactly the introduction we had hoped for, but definitely not something we would ever forget. Tim just stood up, hugged me and asked what I needed. Considering the fact that I did not get the same reaction from the father of my child, I now believe God sometimes puts us at the right place with the right people for a reason. With Tim, I feel comfortable, safe, and know I will not be judged. He is more than a friend to me, he is family. At what is probably one of the biggest moments of my life, he made me feel like this was a good thing and that everything would be ok. It is exactly what I needed.

I looked at Tim and told him I needed to be alone and take a shower. Shaking, I climbed into the shower for what I thought would be a nice long cry in a steamy room. After standing there for about 30 seconds, I began laughing uncontrollably. I was hysterical and couldn’t squeeze a tear out if I tried. I just laughed until I couldn’t anymore.

After three more days and 8 more positive tests, I finally began to face the reality that I was pregnant and I would need to tell the baby’s father; A man who suddenly felt like a total stranger.

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brave.

“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.” ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton

We hide so much in our lives. We lie to save face, to look good, to avoid trouble. We lie so others will accept us. I am done lying. I am done being a coward. I believe lies are only used by cowards because it is the truth that takes bravery. You must be brave to admit you messed up. It takes bravery to admit you drink too much, over eat, are lazy, have cheated, or have hurt someone. These are the things we would like to forget and hide from the world. These, along with hundreds of other things, are the things that we are good at covering up.

I have a baby inside me. This child has never lied or cheated. Both of his* parents have and they have become experts at it, but he is pure and clean and has not yet made a mistake. I will be responsible for this child and will be responsible for teaching him how to live. I do not want to teach him to hide his problems so that others will not judge him. I do not want to teach him to lie to his spouse so that he can get what he wants. I do not want to teach him to lie about his beliefs so that others feel more comfortable. I want to teach him that he is human. He will make mistakes. He will hurt people. He will hurt me. I want him to know that those mistakes are ok. They are part of who we are and they are part of life. But lying about them, hiding them, and living one life while he is alone and another while he is around others is not ok. That is what society will try to tell him is right and that is what society will expect of him. The problem is that he is an exceptional child and he is better than what society will try to teach him to be.

*I still do not know the gender of my child, so this pronoun is not a reveal. 🙂 I simply use masculine pronouns to make the writing a little easier.

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To My Unborn Child from your Unwed Mother

I am cheating again tonight. I found another thing I wrote about six weeks ago before I could publicly announce my pregnancy. It was just too important to me not to share it. I’ll write something all new tomorrow.

I do want to share that this baby, this little butterfly inside me, has been fluttering around all day today. I think he or she is ready to come out. Perhaps we are both impatient and just want our meeting day to come already. I feel like I have been waiting my whole life for that moment.

11-24-2012

I want to celebrate you. I want to scream out loud how I excited I am that you are coming. I want people to throw you welcome parties even though you are only the size of a peach and still in the womb. I want to blast Bach’s Cello Suite and make the world think of you when they hear it. You are that beautiful sound weaving in and out and making everyone stop to listen. You are my only thought as the sun rises and my prayer when the sun goes to bed. I am already thinking of your tiny toes and your soft skin.

When married women get pregnant, everyone wants to talk about it and rejoice with them. They cannot wait to spread the news to everyone they know. When you are not married, even in 2012, people seem somehow afraid to talk about it. They do not want to tell their kids because they will have to explain how a baby is coming and I am single. It seems so strange to me when I feel like this is the most wonderful thing that has and probably will ever happen to me and I have to act like there is nothing new going on in my life because I don’t want to upset the people around me.

It is not your fault that your father and I are not married. It is not your fault that people around me do not yet realize just how awesome and amazing your very existence is. You are a miracle. Your life is no less important than the life of a child whose parents are married or who planned their birth. You will not be defined by who your parents are or what people think about how you came into this world. I will spend the rest of my life making sure that much is true. God help the person who says the words bastard or out of wedlock in front of me.

You are my masterpiece. You are my Cello Suite…

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worry.

I wrote this in my first trimester when I was about 10 weeks pregnant and only a week after the baby’s father stopped talking to me. I was scared everyday about every little pain or cramp. I know things can always happen in pregnancy that we don’t expect, but I have come so far since I wrote this and am focusing on only positive outcomes.

“Every time I pee, I check for blood on the toilet paper. Part of me hopes to see it. Part of me hopes that the last month has been some kind of crazy joke nature is trying to play on me. Part of me wants to have my period. Then there is another part of me, the one who is in touch with reality. The one who saw 11 positive pregnancy tests and knows that they were as real as can be. That part of me dreads seeing blood. You see, the painful breasts, the metal tasting mouth, the teen like pimples, the horrible gas, the heartburn, the headaches, the diarrhea, the urge to want to throw up most of the day, the cramping in my abdomen, my legs, and even my arms, are all what the doctors call “normal.” These horrible things happening to my body are the normal signs of being pregnant. They are healthy and are supposed to be part of something wonderful. However, if I see one spot of blood, I am supposed to call my doctor. The thought of having a child and raising it on my own is terrifying. The fact that I am about to change my entire lifestyle and my plans for the next 18 years is daunting. But the alternative, the dreaded miscarriage, is a hundred times scarier. All of the hope and dreams that I have begun to imagine and accept disappearing in an instant totally out of my control…”

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bump.

January 1st. Today I posted my first official picture of my baby bump. I also stayed up late because baby started kicking around midnight and I didn’t want to miss it. I am scared that I am doing this alone. I always imagined having a loving husband beside me while I was pregnant. I went through a period where I was so angry at the father of my child that I wanted to punch him in the face. Without him, however, the joy growing inside me would not exist. It is hard to stay angry with someone when they gave you the best gift a human can get.preggers

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