My major? I liked business classes so, advertising seemed like a natural fit. What should I get for lunch? Let’s wait and see what the table’s ordering before deciding. Do I want to have kids? Yes. Without a doubt, yes.
Like everyone - I weighed my options when it came to any decision – big or insignificant – but I always knew that someday, some day in the far, distant future, I would be a mom.
I’m not what you would call maternal but I always knew that after years of being someone’s daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, fiance and wife, I’d eventually earn the name – Mom.
I didn't plan on having the titles fiance, wife and mom all within 10 months.
After nearly a decade of dating, after awkwardly stumbling to answer the favorite family-gathering question “So, when do you two think you’ll get married…?” My boyfriend proposed. My fiancé and I started planning our wedding and our future. And eight weeks later, I went from wedding planning to planning for motherhood.
We moved up our wedding date. Our friends and families were happy for this accelerated union. Our parents were thrilled to hear the news of their first grand-baby. And they were all pleasantly surprised with our backyard shabby chic wedding that felt more chic, than shabby.
I kept waiting for feelings of sadness. To mourn the big white dress that would never be, the extensive
wedding planning, multiple showers, and bachelorette party - but it never happened. I never mourned my planned wedding because our unplanned wedding felt authentic, simple and appropriate.
If I could have waved a magic wand and not have been pregnant at my wedding, would I? Yes. I drank a Capri Sun at one point in the evening. So, there was a little “shabby” to compliment the chic. But it felt right because it was ours.
A few months after our wedding, and a few months before our baby arrived, my employer of five years moved all of their operations to Birmingham.
At that moment it felt like I was being punished for my lack of planning. It felt like the last piece of some fragile puzzle had been lost. And as frantically as I searched for the pieces I couldn't put the puzzle back together. I couldn't make sense of the situation. I threw myself a good ol’ fashioned pity party. A pregnancy pity party! Complete with Sour Patch Kids and probably a grilled cheese.
At my former-job, we helped our sales consultants write 30 second commercials, elevator pitches if you will, to explain their business.
During my engagement-pregnancy-wedding-unemployment period, I developed my own "30 second commercial.” And then, expanded it. Everyone heard a one thousand, nine hundred and nine second speech about my relationship, our engagement story, unexpected baby and – the icing on the cake – unemployment.
I apologized for my lack of planning. I spewed facts and dates at you - letting you know that our relationship - and this baby - were completely legitimate, despite our recent marital status. Because, we've been together forever, we've lived together for years and we always wanted kids.
My due date was April Fools Day. And after 8 days of waiting and 2 days of dramatic labor later, our beautiful daughter Ingrid arrived. Her unplanned plan must have been to keep us waiting, as her gender was also a surprise.
One day during the blur of newbornhood, I was rocking Ingrid to sleep and telling her stories. I was telling her the story of “us” – how I married my childhood crush, told her tales of camping and our favorite places. I explained to my tiny, wide-eyed two-month-old how we met and how we got married in Grandma’s backyard and danced under the stars. I threw in a self-deprecating joke as my husband was walking by and without skipping a beat he turned to us and said "She wasn't planned, but she was always part of the plan."
It was so beautiful. So simple. And so true.
I had to start planning for a family of three. To start standing up for my family and accept my unplanned reality. I had to start acting like a Mom.
Now, if anyone does the math - married in October, baby arrived in...April? I let them go ahead and think what they want to think, knowing that any pathetic attempt to explain "our story" isn't worth my time or energy.
We know life is buzzing all around us yet, we attempt to march through on a path we determine as “right.” But in the end, it’s true, she wasn't planned, but she's always been a part of the plan.
I had the honor of reading this piece for the Listen to Your Mother show in Milwaukee on May 5, 2013. What is Listen to Your Mother? A national series of live readings by local readers in celebration of Mother's Day. It's simplistic and wonderful!