This is a tough one, folks. I don't like admitting what I'm about to admit, mostly because I know that there are so many people struggling with problems so different from mine, and those problems make my problems look more like "problems," if you know what I mean.
But I hope you know that I'm just trying to keep it real here. I just need an outlet to get my feelings out, and to be as genuine as possible, and to maybe help someone else who might be feeling the same, you know? I'm not trying to offend or hurt anyone. I promise.
So with that out of the way...here's the thing: I didn't want this pregnancy.
As in, I started crying uncontrollably when the word "pregnant" popped up on that dang stick on that dang Monday morning. And I went to the store immediately and bought three more pregnancy tests. And when one of them didn't really look super positive, I convinced myself that THAT was the real one. So I went and bought two more and took those (spoiler alert: positive!). And in between all the Sonic drinks and the peeing and the paranoid-that-I-would-see-someone-I-know shopping was a whole lot of crying.
I remember Dallin getting home that night and starting to talk about his day, as usual. And then he really looked at me, and he asked me how I was, and I said "I'm pregnant," and he was like "What?!" and so I said it again. And then I just broke down and he just held me.
I remember when we first got married, I thought the idea of a surprise pregnancy was oh so romantic. Like "Yeah, we weren't trying, but we just couldn't keep our hands off each other, so I guess these things happen!" #winkwinknudgenudge . And I remember being just the teeniest, tiniest bit disappointed when we started "trying." I mean, where's the fun in that?
And then, three "on purpose" babies later, you're like "Okay, maybe we got a little carried away," and you love your babies with all your heart... but you're really just ready to take a break for a while.
But of course, trying "not to" is a whole different beast. You think it's simple, right? Just take the pill. Get the IUD. Hold everything and grab a condom. Track your cycle and your temperature and become super well acquainted with things you never wanted to even think about (cervical mucus, anyone?). Something's gotta work. Just do it right. Just be careful.
And the next thing you know you're carrying a 44 oz drink around at your third CVS run for the day, praying that just maybe those other tests didn't know what they were talking about.
And you feel a lot of shame.
I felt so bad for feeling so bad about this. How could I not want this blessing that so many people were, at that very moment, praying for? How could I be crying in sadness at a result that would have most women crying in happiness and gratitude? How could I be so cruel?
I didn't like myself for a long time. And I held off telling other people about the pregnancy because, quite frankly, I couldn't say anything without crying. I just couldn't deny my sadness. And every time I threw up or hit that wall of fatigue that seemed to pop up so often, I would think "And I didn't even ask for this!" Every time I got frustrated or downright fed up with my kids, I would think "There is NO WAY I can add another one to this mix. I can't do it."
It was rough.
I wish I had some great story about the moment my attitude changed. But honestly, I think it just happened slowly over time. It started with a conscious decision, maybe around the start of my second trimester. I recognized that I had allowed myself to "grieve." I had given myself time to be sad about this, and that time needed to be over. I needed to get over the sadness and start to have a little faith -- faith that this baby was meant for out family, that I have people -- super awesome GREAT people -- in my corner to help me, and that I could become a better person and mother because of this experience.
And no, I don't remember when exactly that happened...but I do remember when I
it had happened.
I was driving to pick up two of the kids from my sister, who watches them while I work. For some reason, I had Charly with me, and we were talking about her upcoming birthday party. She had been insisting on a "Signing Time" themed party, but that day, she had temporarily changed her mind, and wanted a Sadness theme -- as in the character of Sadness, from "Inside Out."
My mind wandered and I thought about that movie. Have you seen it? (Side note: If not, GO SEE IT. It's seriously probably in my top 10 favorite movies now. Love it.) Well, as I thought about it, I thought about the surprisingly profound messages in it -- messages about emotions, and how they aren't always black or white (or yellow or blue as the case may be), but are often complex and complicated. Emotions play off of each other, affect each other, and rely on each other. The movie demonstrates this beautifully as the main character learns this specific lesson:
that sometimes, it is Sadness that allows us to feel Joy.
This phrase struck a chord in my head and in my heart. As I thought about the sadness that I had felt so many times over the past few months, I realized that it was gone, but that it hadn't been for nothing. I realized that maybe I hadn't wanted this pregnancy, but I wanted this baby. So much. I was excited to meet her and take her home and have her be mine forever. And remembering the sadness made the joy that much more meaningful.
And I thought about joy, and how I wanted my baby to feel it like Joy feels it in the movie, like I felt it in that moment -- unadulterated and absolute. I wanted her to know that she's wanted and loved, and that she always has been and always will be. It felt important to be deliberate about it.
Neither of my older girls has a middle name. I never had one and never felt like I was missing out. And with this baby girl, we had all but settled on a name, but it never felt 100% right. Not until that moment, driving in my car, when I knew that this baby needed a middle name. And even though it's possibly a little weird that that name was inspired by a Pixar character, it felt so right. And now that she's here, it still feels right.
Which brings us to an introduction. Allow me to present:
Amelia Joy Harris
One of the greatest joys of my life; and a product of one of the saddest times I can remember.
I hope this all makes sense. I hope no one hates me for writing this, and for these feelings I've had. I hope you know how much I love my kids, and how willing I would be to go through anything for any of them.
And I hope that maybe, if you're going through something that's bringing you sadness, it'll end up bringing you this much joy, too.