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Monday, January 31, 2022

Microstory 1811: Overwhelming Emotion

I never wanted to have children until I became pregnant, and my entire outlook suddenly changed. I heard stories of people like that, and things seem to always change once they lay eyes on their child. It was seeing those two pink lines that really got me. The pregnancy test didn’t look anything like a baby, of course—and of course, I always knew that pregnancy was, like...a thing—I just didn’t think it would happen to me. It became real in that moment, and I fell in love with this little person growing inside of me who I wouldn’t be able to meet for the next nine months. What I didn’t know back then was that she and I would actually never meet. I was scared to tell my husband the news. We weren’t stupid; we got married knowing each other’s feelings on the matter. We discussed a lot of things about the future before we agreed to set a date. Both of our families and friends were so upset when we told them about the wedding, but didn’t have a cutesy story to go along with it. He didn’t ask me at a sports competition, or hide a ring in my dessert. He didn’t even get down on one knee. We were responsible and thoughtful about this decision, and I honestly can’t think of anything more romantic. There is no doubt in my mind that, had I survived, we would have grown old together. I didn’t wait a really long time to tell him about the baby, like they do on TV. That’s like asking for people to find out some other way while hilarity ensues. I sat him down next to me on the couch, took a deep breath, and just said the words. I remember him staring into my eyes, darting his own back and forth, looking for the truth written across my face. He was shocked, and worried, and then his face changed the same way I felt mine change when I found out myself. He felt overwhelmed by his emotions, but one thing was for certain, it all added up to joy. He was excited. We had both changed our minds.

Our family and friends were so excited for us as well when we started spreading the news a few months later. It was like they had forgotten what we had put them through with the whole marriage proposal thing. These reactions started to change when they learned how we were handling the process. No baby shower, no gifts, no opinions about how I should give birth, or who I should choose as my doula. We especially didn’t have a gender reveal party. We let the technician tell us what the sex would be at birth, but we weren’t going to assign a gender to an individual without their say-so. We would call her a she for the first several years of her life until such time that she figured out who she really was. My mother was not happy about this. She wanted to have a party, and she wanted to have another party where people gave us things that were either pink or blue. My husband and I painted the nursery with monster trucks, sports balls, and volcanoes just to piss her off. Don’t worry, we painted over it with a nice neutral green afterwards. As you might have guessed, we still got a lot of gifts, even though we didn’t have a registry. We didn’t need charity regardless, but I kind of always liked the idea of risking getting two of the same item. That’s how they did it in the olden days, and ya know what, people survived the emotional trauma of knowing that their particular gift was returned to the store. I will never know what gender my child would ultimately choose, or what toys she would end up liking the most. I’ll never know how great a father my husband is, or how good a mother I could be. I know one thing, I’m enormously grateful that I chose to give birth in a hospital. Because if I hadn’t, my child probably would have died too.

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