By Pamela Brownstein
There are many ways to describe my condition: Bun in the oven. Knocked up. With child. Preggo. However you want to say it: We’re having a baby!
On June 29, my husband and I went to our three-month doctor’s appointment. It marks the end of my first trimester, a mini-milestone for our growing family. I’m told that the symptoms of morning sickness should begin to subside now, but I’ll believe it when I see it since I’ve puked pretty much every day for the past two weeks. And here’s a joke I invented about my level of exhaustion: What do you call a pregnant narcoleptic? A sleeping baby incubator (pause for laughter). Seriously, some days I’m so tired it’s hard to function. But I always remind myself: it’s all for the greater good.
Being pregnant for the first time is a big deal in any woman’s life, and it is extremely significant for me considering what I’ve been through in the last year.
Daniel and I have been trying to have a baby for some time now. At 32, my fertility was a starting to be a concern, and it was hard to watch shows about babies.
When I was on my way to the doctor’s office, I thought, June 29, why does that date sound so familiar? And then I remembered: It was the exact day a year ago that I got laid off from my job. I apparently tried to block that day from memory, but it was an awful experience that I’ll never forget. I wasn’t happy with my job, but it was a position that I’d always wanted. I’d never been laid off before, and it came as a complete surprise. Luckily for me, my family was visiting from Texas at that time, so I got to spend two weeks among their love and support. When they left, then the cold reality set in: what the hell am I going to do with my life?
Everything happens for a reason. I rediscovered my purpose here, at The Island News, where I can make a difference and give back to the community in an incredibly supportive work environment.
But, initially, losing my job was a huge blow to my psyche. I felt unworthy, like a failure. I called my mom crying, we would talk for hours and she was always there to listen and make me laugh, as she had been my whole life. I thought it was the worst thing that could happen to me. I thought.
Until September, when my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. The breast cancer that had been in remission for six years moved to her brain. When I was alone with her in the hospital the day before her surgery, she turned to me and said, “Go have Daniel’s swimmers checked out. I want to be able to see the baby’s face.” I laughed then, and her choice of words still makes me smile. But it’s sad now because she never will be able to see the baby’s face. She died in October, and sometimes I can’t believe she’s gone.
Other unpleasant events happened since then, so I think it’s safe to say I’ve had a difficult year by any standards. But when I called my husband on a Monday morning in May to tell him that all five pregnancy tests I took came back positive, there was a feeling of renewed joy; it seems like such a blessing.
Of course, it is a mixed blessing. To know that I’ll never be able to call my mom for advice about the baby, or see her kiss her grandchild’s face, is really hard for me to grasp. So I choose to believe that she’s looking down and knows and maybe even had a hand in sending us a good one.
All I can do is focus on the future of my family and honor my mom’s memory by trying to be as wonderful a mother to my baby as she was to me.