Big news for Catfish fans: Nev Schulman is having a baby with girlfriend Laura Perlongo. The announcement makes it clear the couple is seriously excited.
On Wednesday, ATTN: published a letter by Perlongo detailing how she found out she was pregnant, the reactions she got from friends, and why she and Schulman decided they were ready to be parents. Schulman posted a link to Perlongo's pregnancy announcement on Facebook with a caption:
There are no words to explain the excitement and joy I feel about becoming a father. I'm also wildly in love with this woman and so amazed and impressed with everything she does. Ahhhhhhhh!!!
Nev Schulman is best known as the man behind Catfish, the documentary and MTV series dedicated to exposing dishonest internet daters. The show is in its fifth season, but it's not Schulman's only project. His new MTV series, Suspect, focuses on helping people who believe a loved one is keeping a major secret from them. Perlongo is also a creative. Imaginative freelance work is her focus, according to LinkedIn; she's both a copywriter and a photographer. Splitting her time between New York and LA, she collaborates with major brands: Calvin Klein, NBC, and Target are former clients. According to her website, her interests include art, friendship, and humor. Now, she's using humor to describe what it's actually like to be pregnant as a millennial.
Perlongo found out she was pregnant shortly after eating a marijuana gummy and playing cards; she'd escaped to the bathroom to take the test ("Like most girls not on birth control, every month there is a day or two where I confuse normal PMS with 'definitely pregnant.'"). Seeing two lines appear on the stick wasn't exactly a surprise: Perlongo wrote that she and Schulman had discussed having kids but hadn't established a specific timeline. Though Perlongo admitted to feeling a bit unprepared for the level of responsibility that accompanies parenthood, her joy at the opportunity outweighed her reservations:
After the initial shock/weed wore off I knew right away I wanted this baby. I was strong. I was smart. I was full of love. I COULD DO THIS! I was confident I’d be great. Nev was confident he would be great. HE COULD DO THIS!
Unfortunately, Perlongo and Schulman's friends weren't quite as excited. People questioned whether they were having kids too soon and sacrificing their independence in the process. Perlongo opened up about the way her friends' skepticism led her to question her own preparedness:
Is this what having a baby is allowed to look like? I’m not married. I make good money but it’s gig-based money. I certainly don’t have (or want) a steady job. I’m not ready to literally or figuratively ‘die’. And I don’t really have a room that resembles a living room. I could get one? Ultimate confusion set in.
Perlongo's letter goes on to offer a genuinely relatable take on what it means to pursue parenthood as a young adult. Millennials often feel the pressure to remain allegiant to traditional timelines (for example, not having kids before marriage) while recognizing that what it means to become an adult is evolving. Perlongo adopted her own method of self-reflection, balancing practical questions about having kids ("Can we nurture them physically, emotionally and financially?") with consideration of how motherhood might change her identity ("Will I become uninterested in things that aren’t my own baby?"). After a lot of soul-searching, she and Schulman decided that they were ready to expand their family:
Ultimately I didn’t believe I should deprive myself of a much-wanted experience because of stereotypical perceptions of what motherhood was supposed to look like. We can do it our way.
Perlongo's thoughts on what it means to be a millennial mother is seriously meaningful. In one letter, she manages to touch on many of the anxieties moms-to-be may feel are too taboo to discuss openly. Hopefully, Perlongo's letter will help all millennials feel more comfortable talking about the emotional challenges of pregnancy.