I’ve never considered myself to be maternal. I love and would do anything for my family and friends, nieces and nephews and enjoy playing with babies and kids, but finding out I was pregnant was something else. It was by far one of the most surreal things that I’ve ever experienced.
I’ve now been married for 8 years. For most people, not having kids after 3-4 years means one of three things: 1) you don’t want kids, 2) you can’t have them, or 3) you’re still trying. None of these applied to us.
When people asked, “Are you guys thinking about kids anytime soon?”, the explanations evolved over time. They went from “Work has been so busy; really don’t know where the time has gone!” to “Oh I just joined an amazing dance company so I really want to give it a shot”, and then to “Well, Kumar is traveling so much right now so it’s just not the right time.”
We always wanted kids, but weren’t sure when. My husband was definitely ready before I was, but I wanted to continue exploring the new opportunities that I was coming across. I hoped that “kids” would slot itself somewhere in between the chaos. I know that’s not how it works, but that didn’t stop me from wanting that.
As written in two of my recent posts, Overwhelmed and To Quit or Not to Quit, my move to Hong Kong and quitting my job occurred back to back. I quit my job to see if I could actually “build” something, and I was very excited to do whatever was necessary. Little did I know that a third change was about to surface.
The week after I quit, I realized that my body clock was off; I missed my period. In the back of my mind, I knew, but I was in severe denial. Was this really happening right now?
Am I pregnant?
“Yes,” said each of the pregnancy tests. “Surprise!”
You’re probably wondering, “Oh, you guys weren’t trying?” No, we weren’t. Yes, I wasn’t on birth control, but my husband was traveling a lot so the timing never aligned. But, apparently I wasn’t paying close enough attention to my cycles (don’t worry, this is as TMI as it gets).
I freaked out.
Most cliches applied to this scenario – “there’s no such thing as a good time”, “things happen for a reason”, etc. But I freaked out because I was planning to spend all of my time creating my new career once we moved. Do I now have to put this on hold?
I felt extremely selfish for my thoughts. After all, we were very lucky that this happened for us without a hitch. I just couldn’t shake the extreme anxiety that I was feeling.
I needed to give it time. Let this new information settle in and find a home in my mind. But I also realized is that this was a huge test to my resolve.
I was worried about now having to change the ways in which I networked with people – potentially requesting to meet for coffee vs. happy hour. I was worried about people being ok with working and shooting with a pregnant woman. I’ll never say that any of these concerns were truly worth worrying about because I’ll just have to create workarounds and people that petty would never be good to work with anyways, but I still worried.
I couldn’t disclose my pregnancy generally because it was still early, but I found myself seeking validation from specific family and friends. Every conversation about the topic would quickly take me into a downward spiral constantly asking if I could still create my own career, if they believed in me, and pushing them to actually say, “YES!”
Annoying, I know.
But, it had to come from within. Pursuing something on your own requires internal drive regardless of the situation. Yes, there would now be a slew of unplanned occurrences unrelated to my career that I’d have to deal with, but I’d just need to be flexible and even more patient. Basically force myself to breathe while I worked. And that’s not a bad thing.
So I let the feelings come in waves. I danced in my last pre-move performance – admittedly, I was nervous to perform pregnant, but it was also exciting. I said my goodbyes to work colleagues and my day job. I spent time with family and friends as much as I could. And I packed up my NYC apartment – the place I’ve stayed longest since my childhood home.
The hardest part through all of this was answering questions like, “Are you ready for the move?” and “How are you feeling?”. I still couldn’t disclose my pregnancy so I had to try to keep my responses focused on the move and the creation of my new career. It was so hard not to toss in the third major change.
But now I’m in Hong Kong, reviewing this post at 17 weeks pregnant and committing to myself everyday that I’ll keep working, exploring and building. I still think and worry about potential challenges – including how I’ll photograph clothing on this evolving body of mine. But I’ve promised myself that I’ll continue to push forward regardless of the double emotional roller coaster that I’m now on.
Even if I fail, I look forward to telling my daughter, that I tried.
Blog edited by: Betty Ho