Nine months may not seem like much in the grand scheme of a typical human life, but for a pregnant woman, those specific nine months can hold some of the most life-changing moments she will ever experience. It’s not a constant roller coaster of emotions or flurry of activity. It’s a long, sometimes seemingly endless, progression of normal life, with one major alteration slowly taking more and more control. Throughout my pregnancy, I turned to writing quite often to help me work through my thoughts and emotions, but given my unusual circumstances, I was never comfortable publishing anything at the time. Now, I’d like to take a look back, compile the things I wrote, add some memories while they are fresh…
If my anecdotes make you smile or shed a tear or hug a friend or open yourself to new concepts, then I have achieved my goal. I hope the following installments will bring encouragement, information, enlightenment, or inspiration to someone reading.
Month 1 – January
Conception is estimated to have been somewhere around the New Year, but naturally, I was not aware of my pregnant state throughout the month of January. However, I was already pretty unhappy with life in general. I had been horribly ill over Christmas, yet had continued to show up to work every day despite a raging fever, sore throat, and being yelled at by my manager for being in a “bad mood.” I was already bored out of my mind with my job, and my relationship with that manager continued to go downhill after that, making work even less enjoyable. Despite the fact that my boyfriend and I were eagerly awaiting an open couple’s cabin so we could move in together, I was starting to have qualms about our relationship. By the time we got that cabin in early January, I wasn’t nearly as thrilled about the move as I had expected to be. My previous roommate, whom had been a good friend and confidante of mine, had already departed the ship, and as mid-January rolled around, my very best friend on the ship (the only person keeping me sane at that point) also ended his contract. Our separation was… complicated, to say the least.
So even without the knowledge that I was now carrying a child, January wasn’t the greatest month for me. The closer February crawled, the more concerned I was becoming with the lack of bloody outpourings from my vagina. Here’s the thing: I suck at keeping track of my period. Mainly because I just don’t want to think or care about it. Most of the time, there is some little reminder in my brain of when the last one happened – oh yeah, I remember I was cramping when we went shopping that day, etc. – but I could not, for the life of me, come up with any guess whatsoever as to when in December I had gotten my last one. When I finally asked my boyfriend if he had any idea, he said it had been over Christmas, but I never felt like that was right. If I had been that sick and bloody at the same time, I would have remembered it.
Regardless, by the end of January, I was pretty sure something had gone wrong. I was telling myself that I was pregnant and trying to get used to the idea, but it was so far out there for me – so against everything in me – that I really couldn’t believe it. It was more like a little game I was playing with myself. Not a very fun game, but still… There were only two people on the ship that I had confessed my fears to: an awesome Australian music duo who seemed to be the only friends I had left (and yes, I’m kind of including the boyfriend I was living with in that equation). They pushed for me to go get tested, but I made excuses. I refused to go to the ship doctor. Gossip and drama spreads like wildfire on a ship, and the last thing I wanted was to be the next pregnant girl. Truthfully though, I simply didn’t want a confirmation of what I feared. It was still a game. A positive test would make it a reality.
Do you know what it’s like to have the controls for your life slipping through your fingers and out of your grasp? My mother – love her dearly – was a control freak. I can’t pretend I haven’t inherited that trait. In fact, many of my relationships, including the one I was currently in, crashed and burned due much to my desire for control over my own life, choices, and future. I don’t often let something stand between me and my plans. Now one little test could confirm that there was a human life standing between me and my future. And I was terrified. Terrified enough to treat it like a game and laugh it away. Because in the end, the hardest thing was accepting that I was never holding the controls in the first place.
On January 30, my Aussie friends finally convinced me to take a pregnancy test. I should have gotten a clear plus sign or a minus sign. Instead, I got a single vertical line. What on earth was that supposed to mean?
I chose to believe it was negative and lived the next four days in a delightfully welcome but horribly unfounded state of bliss.