sisters, aarp, pregnant
Chioma Ebinama
Chioma Ebinama
Me Time

Pregnant Again? (Part 2)

Does a new marriage mean a new baby?

Janelle Harris

If you missed Part 1, click here.

Last year, the Lord finally sent the man designed for me. A month ago, I married him. It still feels surreal but it happened like the clichéd wisdom people love to dispense as hope to single Black women said it would — fast and when I wasn’t expecting it. He’s a blessing to my battered heart and daily proof of God’s faithfulness. He’s also 39 with no kids and he wants some. Three, he says, but we compromised at two. So here I am, planning to bring more lives into the world in what will surely be a contender for the biggest age gap in the history of baby-making.

I made an appointment for an initial consultation with my doctor’s office a week ago, and as I sat on the examination table, clutching together a paper gown that gaped in the back and drooped in the front, I heard a newborn sobbing in another room down the hallway. Can I listen to that noise again? I wondered and immediately scolded myself for having the thought. But the crying continued and the nurse must’ve seen my facial expressions shifting between bewilderment and introspection.

“Shots,” she said in a one-word explanation. Ah, shots. I remembered the agony of watching a little helpless infant — my little helpless infant — subjected to painful injections. I felt for the baby who had to go through it and the parent in there supervising it.

But I did shots already. I also did lost teeth and forgetting to play my part as the Tooth Fairy by putting money under the pillow. I did colds and viruses, dance recitals and Girl Scout fundraisers, homework arguments and parent-teacher meetings. My entire adult life has been centered around motherhood, and single motherhood at that. With the planning of this baby, I will have been a teen mom and now, at 40, a seasoned mom. It’s two completely different extremes, two completely different circumstances, two completely different experiences. People have told me that I'm crazy for starting all over again. I might be. But I hope I’m not.

I didn’t realize how scared I was until the nurse said “prenatal vitamins.” I hadn’t heard that term in years, not in my own personal context anyway, and I felt a well of anxiety flutter against the inside of my chest. I had to sit with that discomfort. This is what I said I wanted, so why am I freaking out? She asked me when I wanted to schedule my appointment to have my trusty IUD removed. It’s been my champion of birth-control choices for 20 years now. “Give me three months,” I told her, then went home and told my husband the same thing. “This has been a lot of change in a short period of time, for both of us. Just give me three months to breathe.” He smiled, gracious as always, and said, “Of course.”

I’m afraid I’ll regret giving up the freedom I have now. I’m afraid something will happen — divorce, death, any number of consequences of being Black in America — and I’ll somehow wind up being a single mother again. I’m afraid my body will fail under the tremendous strains that pregnancy will put on it. I’m afraid I won’t bounce back from the weight gain because I’ve been trying to lose the same 20 pounds for years as it is. I’m afraid something will be wrong with the baby because of the age of my eggs. I’m afraid of putting too much of a strain on a marriage and transition that are still very new. I’m afraid I won’t enjoy this round of motherhood as much as I expected. I’m afraid of losing dreams that haven’t manifested yet because I’m still not where I want to be in life. I’m afraid of things I’m not even formally afraid of yet because I know they will inevitably come and I’m worried I won’t be able to handle them.

But I’m also afraid of forfeiting to fear and not having the baby I said I wanted even before I met my now-husband. After 20 years as a single mom, I want the chance to experience partnership in parenthood with the love of someone who supports me and wants a family. None of this is happening when I thought it would or should, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't still happen. Does it?

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sisters, aarp, pregnant
Chioma Ebinama