The butterfly effect takes exactly twenty seconds to alter the course of the universe. Or at least, mine. I blinked hard: ten seconds to register the word “PREGNANT” staring back at me, another ten for the math on our Sicilian engagement to add up. I had inadvertently swapped my best-laid plans for a best-laid fiancé.
As the shock dissipated over the course of the following weeks, I felt a deep sense of contentedness. I smiled to myself as I lay on the sofa scrolling through our holiday snaps: two idiots blissfully unaware of the marvel we had just created, squinting under the hot sun looking very pleased with ourselves and our orange creamsicle gelati.
The butterfly effect continued its charter and things just fell into place. I was fully booked with postpartum overnights, three weddings, and a birth across the next two months, but to my surprise the days passed with relative ease. Was I allowed to feel this good, this productive during the dreaded first trimester? This in love?
There were small moments when my happiness faltered - hesitation in the store at purchasing a gift for my baby so early, a morning of spotting, and one poorly-conducted blood test that left some hideous bruising. Still I waited for the forecast of nausea and fatigue, the possibility of loss, and… nothing: a healthy boy kicked me energetically on the ultrasound. I regret the sacred time I wasted worrying and dreading. The “Just Be Grateful” chorus rang in my ears almost every time we shared our news: Just be grateful you got pregnant at all, just be grateful your head’s not in the toilet! Just be grateful you didn’t miscarry, grateful your baby is healthy… I felt the sting: how could anyone suggest that the gratitude I felt for our firstborn was insufficient? I suspect the people who make these well-intentioned comments are the very same who, when told brightly that a new baby is sleeping well, scoff “just you wait…’ and, somewhat threateningly, “sleep while you can!”
Commentary aside, we revelled in the delight of unveiling one of life’s best surprises to our loved ones. There is something so uniquely thrilling about a growing belly and the impending arrival of a fresh little babe. To my former self lying awake at 4am, wondering if perhaps I had left it too late to become a mother (and all the suffering that must certainly lay ahead if I hadn’t), I would travel back and tell me to wait for goodness. To spend less time worrying about what may come to fruition and more time simply enjoying la dolce vita with my great love, sipping an icy-cold Aperol Spritz, because pregnancy isn’t always your friend’s cousin’s horror story and you don’t owe anyone an apology for living happily ever after. It’s enough to enjoy the parts of pregnancy that feel good, and complain loudly about the rest.