What it felt like to have an Unplanned Pregnancy

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It's no secret that Zach was a surprise, but it's not something I've really talked about much on here, despite the fact that having an unplanned pregnancy obviously had a huge, quite literally life-changing, impact on my life. The person that I am today, and the life that both Jono and I are living, is one that his been shaped immeasurably by finding out about, and then having, our beautiful baby boy. It's now been almost three years since that first (and second, and third) positive test, so I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings from when we first found out, as well as reflecting on it now that being a parent is my normal.

For a bit of context, Jono and I found out that we were expecting Zach when I was 22 and had just finished university. I was yet to graduate, and we were living in a small room in a shared house, with almost all of our belongings filling our space. I was unemployed, and applying for jobs anywhere and everywhere, although I had no clue what it was I actually wanted to do. We had been together for a year and a half, and although that's not that long, we were happy, and were making plans for the future.

The day I took that test, everything changed, and with it came an overwhelming feeling of fear. I was about to start an adventure I really knew nothing about, without all of the equipment I needed for the job. I was scared about everything; telling our family and friends, finding somewhere to live, miscarriage, being able to afford it all, and that big scary thing that is childbirth. I was also mourning the life I would never get to live, but that I would see all of my friends enjoying. That freedom that comes with being in your early 20s, that I was going to have to forfeit in order to be a mother.

For those first three months I shut myself off from the world. I was distraught because although I had always longed to be a mother, this wasn't the way it was meant to be. I had longed to have a family of my own, but not so soon and definitely not so unprepared. I remember feeling so unbelievably guilty that I wasn't happy, when I was getting not only something that I had always wanted, but that so many people long for but never have. 

After my first doctors appointment I remember just sitting in my mum's car, crying to her, because everything felt so overwhelming. I couldn't see how we could possibly have a baby when we didn't have a home to bring him back to, and every hurdle we had to jump felt so high that I thought I would fall at every stage. Looking back now, I realise that I was so much stronger than I thought I was at the time, and I am so happy that despite how bleak I imagined the future, we decided to keep our baby and push forward to create the life we live today.

After our first scan we began to tell our friends and family, and immediately it felt as though a weight had lifted. Realising that everyone would support us as best they could made such a huge difference to my outlook, and I really began to feel positive about becoming a mother. I loved looking at tiny baby clothes, and would spend hours researching everything from pushchairs to baby monitors. As my bump grew, so did my happiness, and it started to feel as though everything was slotting into place.

By our anomaly scan, when we found out that we were expecting a little boy, my pregnancy became a celebration. We had a gender reveal party, really as an excuse to get all of our friends and family together, and I remember just how happy I was that everyone turned up. I know that sounds so silly, but it just meant so much to me that everyone cared, and in that moment I knew that everything was going to be okay.


When I was five months pregnant we moved into the perfect house for our little family, which is where we still live now, and I remember how excited I was to put together Zach's nursery. I spent hours packing and then re-packing the bags for the hospital, and washing and folding what felt like hundreds of little vests and sleepsuits ready for when our squishy little newborn would fill them. The fear that I had been harbouring had begun to evaporate, and whilst I was still sad about how much freedom I was losing, I was excited and optimistic.

By the end of pregnancy I still wasn't quite ready to be a mum, but I knew there wasn't much I could do about that. I was nervous, going into the unknown, the same way I think you would be even if you had planned your pregnancy right down to a T, and I was somewhat apprehensive about what the future was going to bring. But finally, after 9 long, and very emotional months, it was time to meet our baby boy.

It's now been over two years since I gave birth to our little bundle of joy, and I have never been happier. Looking back at my pregnancy now I am both ashamed of how negative I was, but also incredibly proud, not only of myself but of Jono too. Together we created a perfect little family, and really there's nothing more special than that. I do still feel as though I'm missing out on 'the life I could have lived' but not as much as I thought I would, and luckily we have very supportive parents who help us out immensely, which allows us to have more freedom than I could have imagined.

Whilst it seems that at this stage, most parents are thinking about, or are already expecting (or already have!) another child, to us it feels as though the dust has just settled after having Zach. We are not ready to have another baby, and if one day we do decide to add to our family, I want to really want to be pregnant. I want to experience that feeling of longing for a child, and I want to feel blessed rather than unbelievably stressed if we do manage to conceive. For now though, I'm just waiting for my friends to catch up, and enjoying life (most of the time) with my two very annoying but handsome boys.

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8 comments

  1. Ahh this is such a lovely post Chantal! I know exactly how you felt because I've been there too. I do sometimes still mourn the life that I could've been living when the days are hard but I hope it just means I'll get to experience it all in the next few years with them by our side xx

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    1. Thank you lovely, and you are so right! I'm so glad to have someone who knows what it is like in my life, and I love you so much! xxx

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  2. I can relate to this post so much! Indiana was very unexpected (I was on the pill), I was 20 and we both still lived at home. It's amazing how much we managed to get together before she was born.. and now I look back and can't believe I was ever worried or unhappy. She really did turn our world upside down but for the better xx

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    1. It's amazing how much you can achieve when you have to isn't it! Totally agree! xxx

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  3. I loved this post Chantal and it made me so emotional. I met my husband when I was 19 and before that I was working and living life quite quickly - I filled a lot of those twenties years that you speak of into my teenage years and really I was on a bit of a spiral of self destruction. But, I met Dave, settled down and the rest is history. But, I didn't get to do all that stuff my friends were doing in their twenties and I still envy them that at times. But, instead I had a full time job, a mortgage and so much debt. Not a baby but still quite restrictive! I think you should both be proud of yourselves that you stepped up to the mark, made your new life work and have a beautiful little boy to show for it. Three years on and you guys are so solid, and a proper family unit. Back when you found out you were pregnant anything could have happened in the next three years and it could have ended up with so many different outcomes. You guys should definitely be so proud - and don't feel ashamed. I made decisions in my teens that make me feel ashamed even now. The way you felt was natural and part of a process of dealing with such a mammoth change. You have nothing to feel ashamed about and I'm sure, later in life, Zack would agree x

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    1. Oh Donna, thank you so much for this comment, it has totally made my day. You should be so proud of yourself too, and I wish I could give you a big hug! xxxx

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  4. I think your journey from scared to excited is something many people with unplanned pregnancies can relate to. I got pregnant at 17 with my now teenaged son, so I definitely understood a lot of it! It was ten years before I was ready to plan the next baby, and now I'm on to my 3rd! I used to feel a bit jealous of people without kids, especially those who got to take gap years and go travelling. But Hubs and I have said we'll do all those things, just later in life (maybe even with the kids in tow). So now I don't see any of it as missing out or doing it the wrong way...we just did it a different way around!

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    1. Yes, it's the travelling which really gets to me too, and we also plan to do it later in life! I think we'll be the same with a bigger age gap, but who know what will happen! xx

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