Since Judah was born, time has been on warp speed. But man, this moment still feels like a million years ago.
It’s true that a lot has happened since the day I found out I was pregnant — we moved three times, Tony has started two different jobs, we traveled to Europe. But more importantly, I have changed so drastically, I don’t even recognize the girl holding this pregnancy test.
Last year on April 2, my office was closed for Good Friday. I should have been sleeping in. But I was wide awake way too early.
I had reason to believe I could be pregnant, but I doubted it. It had only been 3 weeks since we officially decided to start a family. Just a few weeks before, I was thrilled at the possibility that I could get pregnant right away. On April 2, I was ambivalent.
Two weeks before that morning, I had received a call from my dream job. I was already pregnant at that point, even though I didn’t know, but I did know that if I was pregnant, it had already happened. I started the interview process anyway, thinking to myself how unlikely it was that I could be pregnant after just one month.
The interviews were going well. It came down to me and one other candidate, but I had a feeling that the woman who would be my primary supervisor favored me. I felt 99% certain they would offer me the job.
We knew we were moving back to Indiana in just over a month. Neither one of us had a job yet. We made the decision that if they offered me the position, we’d temporarily stall our plans for a family so I could accept.
It’s so hard to explain my feelings about it now, as I hold my sleeping baby. I can’t imagine feeling anything but absolute joy and excitement to have him in my life. But for two weeks before I found out he would be born, I hoped I wasn’t pregnant. I hoped I’d have the opportunity to take my dream job.
I took pregnancy tests on March 31 and April 1. Both negative. I became convinced that I wasn’t pregnant. I scheduled a final interview with the board that would make the final hiring decision (via Skype, since I still lived in North Carolina). I daydreamed about the exciting career ahead of me. I didn’t know how long I’d wait to have a baby. Maybe a year. Maybe two.
And then I took a third test on April 2. Positive. I was going to have a baby.
Never before in my life have my feelings so dramatically and instantly changed. In one moment, I was hoping the test would be negative, hoping I would be able to take a job in Indianapolis. The next I was consumed with excitement and anticipation and joy, because, OMG, I’M HAVING A BABY. In that moment, I went from focusing on my career and myself to thinking about nothing but the little person I was incubating. Suddenly nothing else mattered.
To this day, even after experiencing the rush of emotion while holding him in my arms for the first time on the day he was born, I remember that moment as the moment I became a mother. Even then, I realized what a strange feeling it was to experience such a drastic, life-altering change in a split second.
The following week, I removed myself from consideration for the job. I made the decision for a number of reasons. I knew it wouldn’t be fair to begin a new job knowing that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when the baby was born. We also worried that moving to a particular city would limit Tony’s job search too much, and he wouldn’t be able to find anything. It was essential for him to find a job if I was going to stay home. We decided it would be better to keep our options open so we could move anywhere with an open position. I knew it would be difficult to turn down a job offer even though I knew it wasn’t right for us, so I decided to drop out before they had a chance to make me an offer.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t regret our decision to start trying that month. I was so so happy to be pregnant. But I did wrestle with the decision to give up the job. I toyed with the idea of being a working mother. I wouldn’t have considered it for just any job, but for this one, I strongly considered it.
In the end, I knew it wasn’t the right choice for our family or for me. My biggest fear was that I would someday regret my decision.
When I think about the way everything fell into place after that, it amazes me. No, it wasn’t ideal to be touring Europe with morning sickness, but I’m glad I wasn’t 9 months pregnant when Tony was offered his current job. If I’d waited even a few months to get pregnant, I wouldn’t have been able to have my baby at one of the most natural-birth-friendly hospitals in the state. Or worse, we wouldn’t have been able to accept the job, because I would have been too pregnant to consider undertaking a 300-mile move in less than two weeks.
One year later and four months into my little boy’s life, I know everything worked out exactly the way that it should have. I wouldn’t change a single thing. In the end, it turned out that being Judah’s mama was my real dream job. I know it’s trite, but it’s true, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.