There’s that moment when you find out you’re pregnant. I had bought a test – generic obviously, I spend my money wisely – and waited eagerly with my husband. There was excitement, the realization our lives were changing. The realization that Coors Light over the weekend was my last beer. The brainstorm of names. And then it gets lonely. For me, it was a little bit of first trimester blues.
Society says you shouldn’t tell folks until you are further along. Here you are, with this most amazing piece of news, and you “shouldn’t” tell a soul. All we had was each other, and the one friend that we made as an exception. With this huge news, it felt like we were both going to bust, and we needed someone besides each other to talk to.
But still, it was lonely.
With such a big weight on my shoulders, I just felt like I couldn’t be myself. The light was (hopefully) at the end of the tunnel. We just needed to get through two months to tell our parents, three months to start telling friends in-person. But over the summer, I just found myself shutting down. I stopped calling my mom who I talk to daily because the only thing I wanted to talk about, I couldn’t talk about. While I sipped water out of beer cans to fool my friends at housewarming parties, I just found it easier not to engage in conversation. Here I was, sitting with some of my best friends who went through what I was going through 2 months ago, a year ago, and I couldn’t ask them anything because I wasn’t supposed to spill the beans.
So how do you get through it? Some folks go the route of saying screw it, and sharing the news anyways. After all, I slipped and told some co-workers a little earlier than I planned. I knew if something were to happen, I’d need to take some time and let them know what occurred.
For me, my solution was going online and finding women in the same shoes as me. So many things have happened to me online, so it was natural that this was the route I took. I met my husband online. I worked for an online deal site years ago and built a great friendship with one of the “members” of our site. I started blogging 8 years ago and made so many friendships. So it was natural for me to find a community on the internet.
I had downloaded the What to Expect app, and was cruising through the message board one night when I saw someone was putting together a Facebook Group for babies due in February. Naturally, I requested to join. From there, I was able to drill down further and join groups with the same due date week as me. With my due date fluctuating between two different weeks in the beginning, I became part of three Facebook groups.
Despite sharing about my life on this blog, I was quiet in the group, but read post after post. In the beginning, I sadly watched as our groups dwindled, with women facing some sad news about their babies. But there was hope, as I watched women who were just a few days further along than me continue to thrive. Along the way, I started to feel comfort, knowing a mom-to-be across the country also had weird food aversions too and solely wanted to eat mac and cheese. I felt like I truly began to know what to expect by learning from these women. From first ultrasounds to genetic testing. I felt prepared knowing what was coming next.
So to the ladies I will never meet – and the few people who knew early on – thanks for making me feel not alone those first few months. Are you reading this and harboring a big secret? Check the What to Expect forums to see if there is a group for your due date.
For those mamas (and papas) who have gone through these before, how did you keep sane those first few months?