"Free spirited" and "easy going" wouldn't necessarily be the adjectives used if you were to ask friends and family to describe me. (although those would definitely be on my husband's list - we certainly balance one another). This past November when I was "late" (definitely due to stress at work), you can imagine how calm I was. Working at a consulting firm in New York City, my vision of a normal Friday night during a busy month is take-out sushi and hopefully leaving the office before my husband, Mark, is asleep. That said, it's not uncommon for my cycle to be irregular due to stress. After taking what I was sure were three false-positive tests, I headed over to the Astrahealth Center on Hudson Street to confirm. After receiving a few questionable looks when I explained my predicament, a blood test quickly confirmed I was, in fact, 6 weeks pregnant. Immediately, a warm rush of overwhelming and mixed emotions came over me. How could I ever be like Jessica Alba on those damn Honest commercials, dancing around in a field of organic cotton with her children (who on Earth dresses their infants in all white and does her detergent seriously work that well)? Was I going to be able to concentrate at work, or to work at all, amidst my incessant morning sickness? How can I be a good mother when I had those two glasses of wine and the non-pasteurized French cheese at the holiday party just days before I found out I was pregnant? If I'm being honest, it took my husband and I a few weeks to get over the initial shock that we were exactly where we wanted to be in our relationship to start a family. We had to remind ourselves that we are two happily married adults that planned to start entertaining the idea of starting a family when my husband turned 30 and when I received my promotion-- two milestones that have since passed. We are also extremely fortunate to live in a two bedroom condo in Hoboken so she-who-is-still-not-named will have the perfect nursery without the stress of Mommy and Daddy searching to find a new place. Almost immediately after finding out I was pregnant, I felt "different" and perhaps a bit outcast from the other pregnant moms-to-be that I read about or saw on TV. My morning sickness kicked in with full force by week 7 and lasted up until the second trimester. I could barely stay awake at work and would come home just to go straight to sleep by 10pm, and then was almost sleeping through my alarm every morning. The only "pregnancy glow" that I have to this day is the hormonal acne that came around week 16 and never left, likely a payback for my perfect skin in high school. Where was this mythical pregnancy bliss I was assured I would receive, and why do I feel this immense wave of guilt for not feeling those emotions? Truthfully, if you are the first of your friends to get pregnant (like me), it seems there aren't many articles that portray an unbiased view of pregnancy. All too often, it seems we forget to mention morning sickness, stress, and hormonal acne are all likely symptoms that will come knocking in some shape or form. Couple the fact that none of my friends have been pregnant with the added bonus that I was adopted. I felt there was truly no one close to me who could tell me that it was perfectly normal that Cupid's pregnancy arrow missed my heart all of those mornings when I had to run to the bathroom in between meetings to deal with my "food poisoning" (as I had not told my team at work I was expecting yet). Now, 28 weeks and accustomed to the physical, hormonal, and emotional changes that have taken over, I am much more empowered to tell my story and confident that I had just as "normal" a pregnancy as the mom that loved every second of her 9 months. We live in a generation that makes it all too easy to see a one-sided, fairy tale story that's been censored of its full truth. I know now that there are other moms-to-be out there who share in a similar experience, and that it's okay to not fall in love with physically being pregnant. That doesn't mean I love our little nugget any less, and it doesn't mean that I'm not excited for what is to come. It also certainly doesn't mean that I'm not grateful for being able to conceive, or wish that we hadn't. Mark and I can't wait for our little girl to get here, and who knows, maybe we'll even be lucky enough to have another soon. However, my expectations are now far more tempered and I know that certainly doesn't mean I'll be frolicking in a field of organic cotton with my daughter dressed in white.
Kristen has been a resident of Hoboken since 2010 along with her husband, Mark, and their Yorkshire Terrier, Fergus. She is an IT Risk Consultant in midtown Manhattan. She and Mark love to travel as much as they can, and can't wait to explore new places with their little girl!