I wasn’t planning on having a baby just yet. When I found out the news in March 2016, I cried. Not happy, “touched by an angel” cry. Ugly, “why me?” cry. It wasn’t the way I imagined it. I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t married. I wasn’t even speaking to the father at the time. I didn’t know anything about babies. I made it a general rule to avoid them at all costs. I was scared. I hadn’t even been sober a full two years. I was barely taking care of myself again. How in the world would I manage?
Luckily, I had fixed my credit in the two years I had been free from the “haze” and I was in a stable career. I also had put up a few thousand dollars in the hopes of buying a house one day before I died. I was literally in the middle of moving from my 1 bedroom apartment into a 2 bedroom town home the day I took the pregnancy test, so that was a lucky break. Honestly, I was in the best mental and financial shape I had ever been. My situation could have been much, much worse. Still, I knew it was going to be a hard road and I wasn’t completely confident in my life skills.
I threw myself into the preparation aspect of it all so I wouldn’t have to think about the reality of my situation. I applied for every credit card I got an offer for to give myself ample emergency funds. Not going to be able to afford that damn house any time soon…so why stress about my credit?
Supplies. Babies need stuff. Lots of stuff. Amazon has great discounts and specials if you know how to shop. I signed up for Amazon Prime and slowly stocked up on as many diapers and baby supplies as I could afford to have auto-shipped each month. I calculated approximately how many diapers I would need of each size and started getting size 1 delivered, then size 2, etc. (So far it has worked out perfectly. I had a few extra size 1’s, but only because I did not factor in the surprise baby shower gifts I got.) I bought 75 packs of the fancy Huggies wipes when Kroger ran a promotion of Buy 5, Get them $1 each. (I had to visit five different Krogers three different times to make that happen.) I visited Goodwill. Every. Single. Weekend. I got brand new and barely used baby clothes size 0-12 months for $1 (or less) each. Floor gym $3. Boppy Pillow $2. Blankets. Sleep sacks. Toys. Baby books. You name it, I probably got it at Goodwill for 90% less than most parents paid for it. Crib? Craigslist. A friend whose baby is a year older than mine gave me her swing, jumper, and stroller for a fraction of what she paid for it. The most expensive purchase I made was a nice Pack ‘n Play with a changer and infant bassinet. I paid $100 open box for it on Amazon…list price $180. (and it actually pretty much saved my life after an unplanned C-section and my brilliant upstairs nursery) I read the blogs. I joined the forums. I got the apps. I did everything a “good mom” should do.
That’s great…but what about the actual baby? I don’t think it hit me that a human was inside of me until his heart rate plummeted during my induction and I almost lost him. I didn’t even know it was a him at the time. (I had opted to wait and let it be a surprise because they are so few and far between as an adult.) As the nurses swarmed around me, reassuring me that everything was OK, NOTHING was OK…It became real. The gravity of it all hit me. For over nine months, I had carried this baby inside of me and never really had that “magic mom” moment women always go on…and on…and on about. I thought I was different. Something was wrong with me. But the floodgates opened. I started shaking uncontrollably as they frantically prepped me for an emergency C-Section. Tears fell. Everything I had ever wanted changed in a single moment. The only thing I really wanted was this baby. The second I heard his first cry was the moment I took my first real breath. My life started when he was born. As I read that last sentence, I am fully aware of the fact that three years ago, I would have laughed at the corny, lame ass person who would write something like that. But now I am that person. That mom. His mom. And even though I thought he was the last thing I wanted at the time, he is everything I need now.