Hi friends! I have a confession to make. I’ve been keeping a secret from you all for several months now and I’ve been dying to spill the beans: I’m pregnant!! It’s crazy and wonderful and kind of scary all at once. But I couldn’t be more excited. It’s been so weird to stay silent about such a major life event on the blog, given how transparent I’ve been with you all through all my cookbook and career ups and downs. But I’m thrilled to finally be able to share what’s really been going on the past few months, and to begin to process this adventure with you all. Last year I birthed a cookbook; this year, if all goes well, I’ll be birthing a baby. (On Christmas Eve, according to my due date!) God is truly good.
Today marks 15 weeks – almost 4 months! – into the pregnancy, which just feels miraculous to me. First of all, it’s a miracle that there’s a tiny human growing inside of me. One with a beating heart and kicking legs and tiny little fingers and toes and an adorable little nose. It’s a miracle that this little baby girl (yes, it’s a girl!!) is perfectly healthy, despite all the elevated risks of genetic disorders that come with me being 35 years old. It really feels like a miracle that I’ve made it through the treacherous first trimester – with the morning sickness (that really lasts all day) and exhaustion and constant worries that something could go wrong with the pregnancy.
It’s a miracle that I’m feeling like myself again – energetic and with an appetite! – after months of feeling like I’d had the life sucked out of me, and fearing that I might never enjoy eating again. But most of all, it’s a miracle that we were even able to get pregnant, given the years of harsh antibiotic treatments B has endured to treat his chronic Lyme disease. We always knew we wanted children, but we had no idea if it were even possible for us to conceive. Not to mention the fact that it was scary to even go down that road while B was still sick. So imagine my shock when, just a few weeks after my birthday, I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test in the bathroom at Eataly. (I was there shopping for dinner and just decided I should take the test then and there. Seems oddly appropriate, right?!)
I wish I could say the past few months have been pure bliss, enveloped in the pregnancy glow that people talk about. But to be honest, the past few months have been some of the hardest of my life. In addition to being almost constantly nauseous, tired to the point of feeling comatose, and having indigestion so bad that it made eating almost anything painful, I plunged into nearly 2 months of inexplicable sadness. I’m certainly no stranger to melancholy. It sits on my doorstep, threatening to break in whenever life slows down. (You see why I’m such a busy-ness addict!) When my body forced me to put the brakes on during those early weeks of pregnancy (i.e. taking daily naps and ignoring the piles of laundry, dishes, and emails that piled up), the lurking sadness saw the perfect opportunity to walk right in the open door.
The sadness told me: what are you doing laying on the couch?! You have important stuff to do! The house is trashed, you’re neglecting your blog, and your career is going down the pipes. You have a book to sell! And work to do! And relationships to maintain! And yet, I didn’t feel like doing anything. It was like somebody had come into my bright apartment and dimmed the lights. None of the things I normally enjoy brought me joy: I was too sick to cook, too tired to see friends, and definitely too sick and tired to throw a dinner party. I didn’t feel like reading, writing, running, dreaming…truly the only thing I felt like doing was lay on the couch and watch TV or sleep. It was like the real Anna had vanished. Even though I was thrilled to be carrying a new life, I was afraid that I had lost my own in the process.
Those weeks were long, and scary. I felt alone and trapped inside a little cave of darkness – despite having an amazingly supportive husband who loved me through the process. I shared with several close friends and family members how I was feeling, and they reminded me that I was growing a human, which is hard at the beginning, and that this time would pass. And praise God, it did!! It took awhile, but right around the beginning of the second trimester, it was like the lights turned back on inside me, and I suddenly regained my sense of joy! It helps that food doesn’t make me sick now, so I’m back to cooking and eating and loving it. I’m able to see friends and go on long walks and write and dream again. And I even started a new freelance job (as I shared in my last blog post). I cannot tell you how grateful I feel to be able to enjoy each day now – physically and emotionally.
I shared what I did today, not to complain, but to be honest about the sadness that can often accompany pregnancy. I have no idea if that was a brush with depression, or just normal pregnancy hormones, but I know that it was real. And hard. And I’m guessing that some of you can probably relate. I think there’s a lot of shame attached to admitting that you’re sad during pregnancy, because being pregnant is such a gift that many people would give anything in the world to be able to experience. I know I am wildly blessed, and I really wouldn’t trade this process for anything. But I think it’s important to show the full spectrum of life experiences, not just the glossy pretty moments.
So there you have it. The beginning of an adventure that will only get more exciting in the upcoming months. I’m already in love with this little girl growing inside me, and I can’t wait to meet her. I hope and pray that we can have the same beautiful bond I have with my own mom, and I dream of the day my little girl is old enough to stand on a stool with her little apron and help me in the kitchen. I’ve longed for a family of my own to be able to pass along the tradition of shared meals and conversation that my parents began so many years ago, and I’m so grateful that the process has begun. And…there’s nobody in the world I’d rather share this adventure with than B. He is going to be the most amazing dad, and I cannot wait to see him love our daughter.
Thanks for sharing in this journey with me! I’d love to hear from you mamas out there about your own pregnancy experiences – good or bad! (Also, feel free to share tips and advice – I have so much to learn!)
Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend everyone! See you next week.
P.S. I just reread my post “On Being Enough” – I’m still learning this truth day by day. Hope you can, too!