I found out I was pregnant at six weeks and chose an adoption plan soon after. I had decided several years prior that I would never have children.
After the initial devastation, I really enjoyed my pregnancy (except for the extreme exhaustion). I was in no hurry for it to end physically. I enjoyed hearing her heartbeat and spent many hours watching her movements.
Emotionally it was another story. There was no way I could hide my pregnancy ( though I really wanted to). I was really tiny ("skin and bones" I was told) prior to my pregnancy so I knew I had to fess up. Nobody approved of my choice and having always been a "good girl" (weren't we all?) my pregnancy and my choice to go through with it and place my child came as a shock to everyone.
Although my condition was obvious, it was ignored by my workplace and by my family members. I was completely alone. I didn't dwell on it much while pregnant. I had read about the effects of stress on a child in utero so I was actually more stable during my pregnancy than I have ever been in my life. I also felt that my choice to place made it easier for me to enjoy the pregnancy. I didn't worry about how I would support a child or what kind of parent I would be. I just focused on doing everything possible for my unborn child during the nine months I was responsible for her care.
I work with troubled teens and many of them are adopted so I had a lot of fears about how my child would handle being adopted. This experience made me more determined to give her a healthy start. I have enough guilt about placing her so I didn't want the added guilt of a complicated pregnancy or birth.
I went into labor two weeks early. One of my coworkers had described giving birth as "death-defying pain" and my sister had given birth to five children and had really long painful labors so I prepared myself for the worst.
It was incredibly painful (I asked my stepmom why people would do it more than once), but easy compared to my family history. The painful labor lasted about twelve hours with an hour of pushing. I had no meds and only a small tear that didn't require stitches. My daughter and I were both healthy and the midwife was really pleased with my "performance".
I delivered at the most amazing hospital. Everyone was wonderful to me. Just thinking about it brings me to tears. Not a single person pressured me in any way or made me feel judged. All of my wishes were respected and many nurses went out of their way to make my experience better. The pediatrician was an adoptive mom and she also went out of her way to comfort me. When I was discharged with my daughter, many of the staff were in tears as well.
Having never wanted children, I was overwhelmed with the maternal feelings I had for my daughter. I wanted to protect her with all my being. I never expected that my feelings would be so strong. I finally understood what people mean when they say you can't understand what it is like to give birth until you have done so. I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world. I would experience the pain a hundred more times to bring her into the world again. Someday I hope she will have children of her own so she will understand how it felt to hold her in my arms.
Having my daughter changed me in ways I never could have imagined and made me rethink everything that I have ever believed about having children. I was completely unprepared.