What It's Like to Feel Fear Before Love in An Unexpected Pregnancy | By Central IL's Birth Photographer Brittney Hogue
When Fear Comes Before Love…
The story of carrying my third child through an unexpected pregnancy.
Our last baby was not a planned one. She graced us when we least expected and when our hearts were closed to growing our family any more. I was literally planning a trip to Disney World for the following year.
I had this super sensitivity to the smell of popcorn. My acne was voracious. I was unkind to my family and just miserable. Getting ready for work I was going through shirt after shirt after shirt. I finally ended up in an old maternity top and sent a picture to my best friend. “I look six weeks pregnant”. Two hours later… crap. That’s a dollar general one dollar test and it’s not lying. Crap. Crap. Crap. Now replace those four letter words with some worse ones.
That was me. It was really hard to accept our little Genevieve. As I said, my heart was closed to another baby. And it took many months for me to be excited to meet her (though I was adamant she was a boy). I went from feeling incredibly sad to care for another child to indifferent as time passed.
At 35 weeks the office began talking induction. I have a complicated health history and some not so great predicted outcomes at delivery. The recommendation was induction at 37 weeks and I was terrified. That was too soon. Much too soon. I pushed and pushed on extending the date out, but we eventually agreed on 38 and 4, or 38 and 5 at delivery.
Looking back I see my scared antepartum self terrified of not being able to bond with a baby. I was scared I wouldn’t love her. I didn’t love her in my mind yet. Or should I say he… because she was definitely supposed to be a boy. Ha. What I didn’t understand then was that fear was love. That fear was not an idealistic mother cradling the bump of her full womb, smiling with the certainty of confidence. It was love born of “Am I good enough for you?” It was love born of “Can I be what you deserve?” It was sacrificial love. I laid to rest an entire life I had planned for just the four of us: my husband, Clark, Alanna and I. I mourned that perfect Pinterest life I planned in my head. And I walked toward a new life of uncertainty. I walked toward greater financial debt. Toward another intense induced labor. Toward the possibility of an arduous breastfeeding journey. I walked towards months of no sleep, of dry shampoo and an existence built on caffeine. I walked toward meeting a new life of someone I never wanted to meet, someone who would cause me great pain in life both physically and emotionally. But I walked toward her. Every day I carried her was one step closer to meeting the child I did not understand I needed. Every day I carried her was one more day of building a love I could not fathom in those moments.
Every day I carried with fear, trepidation, remorse. Every day until the day she was born.
From the moment I met my darling Genevieve, she has ignited a tenacious warrior spirit I didn’t know I still had in me. She pushed me to be a stronger mother than I ever thought I could become. She created in me a selfless heart. And when I recall back to the days of carrying the baby I was scared of meeting, I can only think… oh what plans He had for you, Brittney.
If you have carried an unplanned child, you’ll likely relate to so much of what I have told. If you’re in this story right now, I can only say that joy beyond your understanding is coming. Trust that it is. Believe that it is. Some of us need only to hold that babe in our arms for the first time to truly believe in the love they feel.
Photo credit: Lady + Light Photography
Feat. Me 28 weeks pregnant with Genevieve.