I spent the majority of my adolescent, young adult and adult life actively trying to avoid pregnancy. In fact, being able to tell someone that, no, I was thankfully not pregnant was a pretty damn incredible feeling, especially when I knew I wasn't ready, willing or able to be a mother. Then I met someone I knew I could parent with, and as we built a life together we realized we wanted that life to include children. Before I knew it, I was thinking the thoughts every woman has before telling her partner she's pregnant; slightly scared, relatively nervous and so very excited to inform my partner that our entire lives were going to change.
Of course, my experience is not universal in any capacity. In fact, I have had the "I'm pregnant" conversation before, but under very different circumstances. When I was 23 and told someone I was pregnant, I wasn't excited or anxious in that happy, this-is-going-to-be-an-incredible-journey kind of way. I was just terrified and sad. I didn't want to be pregnant, I didn't want to be pregnant with this particular person, and the thoughts that flooded my mind before our inevitable conversation were nothing like the thoughts I had years later, when I told my now-partner that I was pregnant. Not every pregnancy is a "blessing" and not every woman is happy when she realizes she is pregnant. I've experienced both ends of the "pregnancy coin," and the thoughts a woman experiences when she realizes she has an unwanted pregnancy are nothing like the thoughts a woman has when she realizes she's pregnant, and actually decides she wants to be a mother. Of course, there's also situations in which a woman wants a baby, but her partner doesn't, or visa versa. I can't begin to imagine what thoughts go through a woman's head when she knows the choice she is going to make with her own body (to either terminate or keep a pregnancy) will be a choice her partner doesn't support. If you are that woman, I hope that you get the support and help that you not only need, but deserve.
So, having said all that, I can guess that when you are in a healthy relationship and you and your partner have discussed pregnancy as something you both (individually, and as a couple) can not only handle, but want to experience, you'll have a few thoughts going through your mind before you tell your partner the good news. Again, every woman is different, but I also like to think that we are somehow connected by these shared experiences, even when they can vary so greatly.
"Are They Ready For This?"
I had a solid amount of time to sit and process the information, before I took the picture out to my partner and showed him that not only was I pregnant, but I was pregnant with twins. In fact, the ultrasound tech gave me as many moments as I wanted and/or needed to wrap my head around the news, before walking out of the room and down the hall to the waiting area where my partner was anxiously sitting.
So when I started that long walk, I started wondering if my partner was really ready for this news and the inevitable changes that would follow. I mean, I was ready, but I am not a mind-reader. We had talked about and discussed what we would want to do if we did get pregnant, but fictional circumstances fall short when compared to the real deal.
"Am I Ready For This?"
Then again, I wasn't entirely certain that I was ready for a twin pregnancy and motherhood and all that both entail, either. I mean, yes, I knew I was ready, but being ready never means you feel completely and totally "ready." Moments of self-doubt are very common and, for me, they came in unapologetic waves. One minute I felt completely empowered to take on this life change, and the next minute I felt like this was a horrible mistake and there was no way that I had it (whatever "it" is) in me to parent not one, but two babies.
So, not only was I questioning my initial gut reaction that told me I was ready, I was simultaneously wondering if I was ready for my partner's reaction. What if he isn't happy because there are not one, but two growing fetuses inside my body? What if he is stressed out and, in turn, stresses me out? Would I be able to handle a reaction that I don't (in my mind) consider to be acceptable or appropriate? So many questions, you guys. So. Many. Questions.
"I'm About To Change Their Entire Life"
It's pretty standard to automatically start thinking about how your life is going to change when you realize you're pregnant. I know that my body is going to change and my priorities are going to shift and my life, while it won't be entirely uprooted, will be altered.
It's another thing, however, to think about how your partner's life will change. They won't be going through the physical changes, mind you, but they will now be thinking and worrying about two human beings (or more, if you're pregnant with multiples). I knew that the moment I told my partner I was pregnant with twins, he was going to be worrying about three people every second of every day. I only had to worry about two.
"I Wonder If They'll Start Crying..."
Look, I'm not a sadist, OK? Like, I don't really enjoy seeing people in pain or upset. However, I usually aim to make my partner cry with heartfelt cards or presents on his birthday, anniversaries or holidays. I was hoping he would cry when I told him I was pregnant, too. Whatever, I'm a flawed human being.
(For the record, he didn't cry. He was just shocked. Damn.)
"Can We Handle This, As A Couple?"
It's one thing to know that you can handle something on your own, as an individual. Honestly, that's almost easier as you're the only person you can control.
So, thinking about how you and your partner will handle pregnancy, labor, delivery and parenthood together can be an entirely different train of thought. It's no secret that having a child can (read: will) alter a romantic relationship, regardless of how healthy and stable it is. My partner and I were in a fantastic place (as two people should be when contemplating having a child) but I still wondered if our relationship could handle parenthood.
"I Wonder What Kind Of Parent They'll Be..."
It didn't take me long to start envisioning the kind of parent my partner was going to be. I could almost see him throwing the football around in the front yard with our little boy and little girl. I could see him reading, each twin sitting on his lap, right before bedtime. I imagined him being pretty strict, but kind and nurturing and loving.
Of course, this was just me guessing, as no one really knows what kind of parent they'll be until they're in those moments that not only test your parenting ideals, but shape them.
"I Can't Lie, A Part Of Me Really Doesn't Want To Share Them"
I didn't really warm up to the idea of having to share my partner with another human being; even if that human being was super tiny and cute and someone that came directly from my body. I loved having my partner "to myself," not in a possessive way, mind you, but in a "we can lay around all lazy and naked on Sunday morning, watching football and being bums" kind of way. I know that a baby was going to require his attention and focus and energy, which meant less of his attention and focus and energy would be available for me (and visa versa).
In the few seconds I stood in front of my partner, before I opened my mouth and told him the good news, I mourned the idea of "just us two." There were going to be four of us now, and we would be dividing up our time in extremely different ways.
"OMG, What Do I Even Say?"
I mean, I know I really just needed to open up my mouth and say, "I'm pregnant with twins," but it seemed much more difficult than that, especially in the moment. I didn't want to take the time to do some elaborate reveal, as that would have required me to keep the pregnancy hidden until I thought of something clever and I am not that patient of a human being.
Plus, my partner was at the doctor's office with me, so he knew the news was going to go one of two ways. I was either pregnant, or I wasn't. It should have been relatively simply to just say the words, but in the moment I found myself at a total loss.
"Like, The Words Are Right There. Just Say It."
Then, once I figured out I was just going to say, "Congratulations, we're pregnant with twins!" I almost lost the ability to speak. The words were right there, hanging off my front teeth and stretching to stay inside my mouth, and I just couldn't seem to spit them out. I knew that once they were out, they were out. I knew that once I said something, my partner's reality was going to shift in a substantial, undeniable way. That's a lot of responsibility and pressure and so, yeah, it was much harder to simply say, "I'm pregnant," than I initially anticipated.
"OMG, I'm About To Say It. No Turning Back, Now."
I took a breath. I looked deep into my partner's eyes, while simultaneously noticing the two nurses who were posted up behind the counter and watching us. I felt somewhat nauseas (thanks hormones) and very excited; akin to how I felt when I went bungee jumping in college. It was an adrenaline rush, to be sure, and while I was somewhat scared, I was also ready for the next step.
"Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again"
Our entire lives changed that day. I didn't know it then, but the moment I told my partner I was pregnant with twins put in motion a journey that shaped who we are as individuals, who we are as a couple and who we are as parents. We ended up having a very difficult pregnancy (I lost one of the twins at 19 weeks, and was forced to birth a baby that was alive, and a baby that wasn't). We went through so many doctor's appointments, invasive procedures, heartbreak and happiness. My partner was there every step of the way, holding my hand and sometimes my crying face and always with a constant support and faith in my abilities as a woman, a mother and a human being.
In one split second, we were forever changed, and those moments in life (those big, unfathomable moments) are sometimes shared in the waiting room of Planned Parenthood in front of two happy, smiling (one crying) nurses. They're whispered about, they are filled with so many emotions, and they're moments you're hard pressed to ever, ever forget.
"I Love Them So Much. Here It Goes..."
Then, you say it. Then, your partner realizes they're going to be a parent. Then, the real fun begins.