Reality KICKS In!
Reality checks can come in lots of different ways: some are like slowly wading into the water, easing you into a situation, while some are short dives into deep ends! Watching friends and family go through pregnancy educated me on some of the steps and milestones you go through. From the pregnancy test, morning sickness, tight pants, and general body changes, I was more or less prepared. As we approached the 20-week mark, I was excited to go for the anatomy scan and learn the gender of our baby. But reality, and my baby, had other plans in mind.
As I lay there with ultrasound goop on my belly in a darkened room, nervously excited about finding out whether we were having a boy or girl, I let my mind wander and thought about how life would be with a daughter or a son. Finding out that information seemed somehow like it would make the pregnancy and the baby even more real. I anticipated a surge of emotion would roll over me at the technician’s confirmation of the gender. As time wore on my daydreams started to fade, and I felt myself coming back to the moment. Every time the ultrasound tech would almost be able to tell the gender, the baby’s legs would cross, and the umbilical cord was wrapped between the baby’s leg. It happened continuously over the course of the ultrasound to the point where we never did get a clean and clear look.
I left the appointment disappointed. I had imagined leaving that room knowing the gender of my baby, and I had anticipated the emotions I would feel. But that didn’t happen – I still didn’t know, and I didn’t even think about the possibility of not being able to find out. I had made the decision to find out the gender, therefore I was going to find out the gender! But reality had a different plan for us.
The next couple of weeks were a changing point for me, both physically and mentally. My belly went from could-have-been-a-big-burrito-for-lunch to very clearly pregnant. I began to feel movement in earnest – especially after anything sweet – and my husband could also feel the baby as they adjusted to their slowly shrinking living space. I found myself becoming used to the idea that we won’t know the gender and decided to let it be a surprise until the birth – a change in mentality that I didn’t think would happen.
And reality started to sink in, I found my entire perception started to change. My priorities for choosing the gear, clothes, toys, and general baby products we were going to use started to finesse itself in ways I didn’t expect. For so long, I’ve been viewing products as a retail buyer, not as a soon-to-be mom who will be using these products every day. As I begin to research and make decisions, certain features carry more weight for me than they used to, now that I’m imagining myself as the mother. While I’ve always believed that different products work for different people, and no two babies or parents are 100% the same, it was fascinating to realize what was a priority for my family. We always knew that we would support the brands we’ve been partners with at Kidcentral, as well as Canadian-made products, and obviously, everything would have to fit in our budget. But until I started actually looking at products for me specifically, I realized there were more considerations I would have to make: does the high chair fit in my kitchen? How will I use the highchair – at the table or somewhere else? What products will keep the baby safe and out of the way of our very large and affectionate dog? Does the product fit in with our gender-neutral theme now? Do we buy clothes now or wait for the birth since we don’t know the gender? Just how often are we going to do laundry, realistically? Will this brand or product fit our life or do I just want it to fit our life?
A friend told me that when her husband felt the baby kick for the first time, he quit smoking cold turkey. For him, that first little kick was the turning point where the pregnancy stopped just being something in the future to quickly becoming an immediate reality. For me, it was the opposite – not finding out the gender derailed all my imaginary plans and set me on a path of making decisions for me and my baby now. Not for a future son or daughter, but for us and for what we need that fits our lives as they are, not how I imagine they will be.
- Daniela, The Pregnant President