Today marks 100 days since my last drink – my personal record. There’s a sense of pride there, but that inner voice of mine (many of you know which one) tries to devalue it due to the reason I have accomplished this. I am 18 weeks pregnant. The day that I found out I was pregnant was a day I almost picked up a drink. The bottle was in my fridge – chilling and waiting for me to open it – when the two pink lines appeared. I had picked up the test on a whim, thinking there was no chance it would be positive, but my fiancé and I had just started “trying” and I wanted peace of mind before I picked up the glass. I took three more tests that day, not able to believe what I was seeing, but after that first test the bottle was thrown in the trash, unopened.
I haven’t been writing or participating much in the sober community because I feel like I haven’t “earned” these 100 days like others have. It sounds silly. But I couldn’t get to 100 days before I found out I was pregnant. I know sobriety is sobriety but the perfectionist in me fights against that.
Part of me feels ashamed that my story of finding out I was pregnant revolves around drinking. What kind of person drinks when she is trying to get pregnant?
A person who sometimes still believes she doesn’t deserve to be a mother.
I didn’t always want to be a mother. When I was a teen I used to say I was never having kids. I didn’t have the patience for other people’s kids…how could I have my own? As time went on, that maternal instinct became stronger and stronger, especially once I was in a committed relationship. I loved the idea of two separate people joining together and creating a miracle, out of nothing but love. I loved the idea of family; of raising a child in this world and teaching them to learn from my experiences. My ex-husband had three kids of his own, and despite the fact that he said he was willing to have more with me, not once did he actually do anything to make me believe it. I would try to bring it up in conversations and there was always an excuse – not until we have more money, wait until we buy a bigger house, until the middle child has graduated, until our sex life improves, until he gets a new job. I continued to accept his excuses while my clock kept ticking. I had wanted to have a baby by age 30 and one day I found myself 33 years old and no closer to having a baby than I was at 18. There’s a saying that goes “No one changes until the pain of not changing exceeds the pain of changing.” I had finally reached that point. The idea of never having a child hurt more than anything I had ever experienced. I could not continue to live in “what if’s” and “maybe’s” and risk never having a baby. So I left. Living without at least trying to have a baby hurt more than being alone, starting over, hurting our friends and family, losing financial stability, and not having a guarantee that I could even physically get pregnant.
It was by far the best decision I have ever made.
Three years later, and sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming. In 24 days I will marry a wonderful man – a man I thought only lived in my dreams. Four and a half months after that I will hold our sweet, beautiful baby in my arms for the first time. Sometimes when I am alone I allow myself to really think about all that is happening in my life and I can’t breathe. The combined feeling of disbelief, gratitude, awe, joy, and love is so overwhelming that it paralyzes me.
Do I really deserve this? If I breathe and allow myself to feel all of this happiness, will it stay?
There’s a feeling of impending doom that I can’t quite seem to shake.
This morning a quote I had hung up months ago, when I was still on my shaky sobriety sea legs, caught my eye. It’s a quote from The Alchemist (which I still haven’t finished): “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I have been thinking about it all day, and I think I’ve finally discovered what is going on. A big piece of me has been feeling that I don’t deserve all that has been given to me because I didn’t have long term sobriety before I became pregnant. Whenever I thought about having a baby, it was always with the belief that I would have “mastered” this sobriety thing. Obviously, it didn’t happen that way.
The Universe knew that I wanted to be sober. It knew that I wanted to have a baby. What if it was supposed to happen this way? What if getting what I wanted most in the world (a baby) was the invitation into sobriety that I have been looking for? Maybe God and the Universe love me so much that they gave me one gift, knowing it would lead to another. I never needed to earn any of this. I just needed to trust and accept and receive and love.
100 days today. I am so grateful.