Due to a prior medical condition, I didn’t think pregnancy was a possibility for me. Now I’m grateful for all the ways it has changed my life.
When I first saw the positive plus sign on my home pregnancy test, I was shocked.
I had previously been told by doctors that there was only a 30 percent chance I would be able to conceive naturally, and would likely need IVF.
This prediction was due to the scarring on my abdomen and around my pelvis caused by abdominal surgery to remove my large intestine following a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease.
I didn’t know how to react. For years, I had imagined my life without children, because it was too painful to imagine the struggle of trying to conceive when I was finally ready. I remember running to the shops to get another test just to be totally sure that there really was a big fat positive there, because I couldn’t believe it.
It took a couple of days for the news to sink in, and a few weeks for me to really believe that I was going to be a mum. And now, 27 weeks into my pregnancy, I firmly believe that getting pregnant was the best thing to ever happen to me.
I only thought about myself. I didn’t take life super seriously. I made some bad decisions. I wasn’t so careful with money.
But getting further along into the mum role, and preparing for my baby, everything has changed. It’s like something has clicked in me.
I now have a tiny human to protect, and I needed to change myself in order to be the best mum I could be.
Getting pregnant and knowing there’s a little baby who’s going to rely on me for everything has forced me to grow up. It’s forced me to mature and to stop being so selfish.
I’m no longer spending money on things I don’t need — instead it’s all going toward my baby, making my house a home for him, and putting it into a savings account to get me through my maternity leave.
This is big for me because usually I treat money as if it’s disposable.
I am spending my days making my house perfect for my baby, because I want him to grow up in a lovely family home that he loves.
Getting pregnant forced me to seek help for my borderline personality disorder. I want to be the best person I can be for my baby, and so I’ve sought help and have found lots of support from the antenatal mental health team, which I know is the right thing for me.
And, in turn, my relationship has flourished. Planning for parenthood with my partner has been amazing. We’ve both grown so much closer, and we’re both excited for the future — even though at first, children were never in the plan.
It has pushed us together. We now make more decisions as a team, and we’re more supportive of each other than we’ve ever been before. It feels like we’re really becoming a family and it’s a wonderful feeling.
But the best feeling is knowing that I am going to be a good mum. That I am willing to make sacrifices and put my baby first to ensure he is safe, loved, and well looked after.
Everything from now on is about my baby and what he needs.
Of course, I will be looking after myself too — but again, that’s something I need to do for him, because my well-being is also the best thing for him.
I may have been a little late into taking adulthood seriously, but I am so glad that I’m in this place now.
I’m glad that my baby will have a stable, mature mother who loves him. I’m glad my baby will grow up in a lovely home, with everything he could ever need. I’m glad my baby will grow up with a family who absolutely loves him.
And I’m glad my baby will have a mum who puts him first, before anything else in the world.
I’m proud of myself for getting into a position where I can say all of this. These past 27 weeks have been the biggest turnaround for me, and I wouldn’t change them for the world.
It’s been the most eye-opening, amazing time and I never thought I’d feel so ready for motherhood.
This baby really is going to be the absolute making of me — he is already — and I am so ready to welcome him into the world.
Hattie Gladwell is a mental health journalist, author, and advocate. She writes about mental illness in hopes of diminishing the stigma and to encourage others to speak out.