An Unintended Pregnancy

graciedarianWhen you think of an unintended pregnancy – you normally think of an unwed mother, or teenager – or woman who accidentally finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand.  The last person you routinely think of is an established married mother of three living in middle-class American suburbia. 

Funny thing is that according to the National Institute of Health, well over half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended.  And many of these women, who have consciously put their reproductive years behind them, are married mothers of children in middle-income families.  This statistic sort of blows away the typical stereotypes about unintended pregnancies.  And for these women, the pregnancy can come as a shock and cause quite a bit of emotional turmoil. 

I know.  I was one of them. 

After having three children my husband and I agreed fully that we were completely done. 

And despite the fact that I was in love with my children, I will be the first to admit I was in a state of shock and horror. 

With my youngest entering kindergarten, I had just landed a job and was set to re-enter the work force.  Much to my surprise, a late period led to buying a pregnancy test, which turned up positive.  And despite the fact that I was in love with my children, I will be the first to admit I was in a state of shock and horror.  Heck, we had just made the appointment for my husband’s vasectomy, and I was looking forward to this new chapter in my life.  Then BAM!  Just like that, the Universe decided differently.  I was reverting back to diapers and all-nighters and breastfeeding and there wasn’t a darn thing I could do about it. 

Once you make the decision that your family is large enough – a surprise pregnancy can cause a hodge-podge of emotions.  At first, I was upset.  I was also fearful about telling my children who felt strongly that their family was already large enough.  Then, there was the worry that the large age gap (11 years) between my oldest and my newest would be difficult to navigate.  I admit to feeling resentful; being disappointed that having just worked hard to get my pre-child rearing years body back, I would inflate like a balloon again; and simply feeling very much overwhelmed.  After all, 3 kids was already a handful.  How, pray tell, was I going to handle more? 

And of course, there was heaps and heaps of guilt for feeling negatively about what should be one of the happiest moments in life.  What kind of selfish butthole was I to feel angry that I was pregnant? 

Worse, was being ‘older,’ I knew that the doctors were going to freak out and put me through all sorts of testing because I was of ‘advanced age.’  (Silly how 36 qualifies as advanced age to have a child).  And I worried about how I was going to announce this pregnancy to friends and family members who KNEW that I had considered my baby years as thankfully over.  I thought about sending out announcements that sang the lyrics to Britney Spears songs, “Oops, I did it again,” but actually opted to hold out telling anyone for as long as possible.  Mostly, so that I could get my own emotions in check. 

When I told my children, they were horrified.  My oldest did not like the idea of being the only kid in 5th grade whose mother was pregnant.  One child, upon hearing the news, told me she hated the new baby, and me – and barely spoke to me for over 4 months.  (But look at the two of them now in the picture above – inseparable soul mates!)

My husband, too, was in a state of shock. 

The good news is that after the first four months of pregnancy, in which I was sort of in a state of denial, I had an ultrasound.  And there it was – the heartbeat, and the tiny little feet and hands.  Another girl.  Despite everything that I had felt up until this point – I was in love, albeit slightly overwhelmed with the thoughts of having four children.  In that moment, I knew her name was Gracie – which translated means love, blessing, and favor

It was what it was.  I had faith that the Universe must know best.  And I prayed every night that everything would work out just fine.  And it did.  My oldest child (who was the most upset and basically ignored me during my pregnancy) was the first to hold her little sister – and despite the fact that she promised to ‘never like the new baby,’ couldn’t live a day without her. 

Today, I couldn’t imagine my family without my Gracie.  My advice to any of you with children, who find themselves unintentionally pregnant, is to go with it.  Allow yourself time to work through the feelings – and realize that in the end, there is a reason you a being blessed with another little one.  I promise, you too will realize that it was meant to be! 

What do you think?

An Unintended Pregnancy

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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1 comment

  1. Profile photo of dare dare says:

    I had a surprise baby. I am divorced and 44 years old. My two other sons are 22 and 19 and they were not real happy . They got double slammed because their dad and his wife just gave them a baby sister. I think my baby is a wonderful gift from God that I would not even have thought of doing but I realize now how much I needed him. My baby just turned 6 months.

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