So this is where my story begins. The first big change in my life occurred in 2009, way back when my life was all about drinking and dancing, eating out, and going to work in between to subsidise all the fun I was having. My boyfriend was doing his national service in some freezing cold base on the northern Greek border, and I was living in a shared house in Reading in the UK. That was the situation when I missed my period, which was always as regular as clockwork because I was on the pill. I bought a pregnancy test, just in case, but I was so sure it would be negative that I did it in the toilet at work after my lunch break.
It wasn’t negative. I freaked out, made some garbled excuse to my line manager, and left the office. I took two trains to my parents’ house, for some reason. They weren’t home, so I let myself in, did the other test (pack of two!) which was also – surprise – positive, and knocked around the house for a few hours. Then I took the train back to my own house and called my boyfriend.
He was freaked out, too. But I still remember what he said to me: every child is a gift from God. It’s a cliche, and a totally out-of-character thing for him to say, but it was what I needed to hear. For me, at that time, getting pregnant seemed like a disaster, and I didn’t know what to do. I thought I wasn’t ready, that having a baby would ruin my life. But I couldn’t face the alternative. This was a little life inside me – a gift from God. So, overnight, I changed my life.
I stopped drinking completely (although I kept going dancing until I was 6 months pregnant!) I did aerobics for the first three months, then yoga, then swimming when I was finally too fat to do anything else. My boyfriend and I arranged our wedding for that summer, in Corfu when I was four months pregnant. Then he finished his national service and we rented a cottage near Reading University. He got a job with the local council as a care worker, and we bought baby clothes, an Amby nest and a pushchair. It turned out I was totally ready, and although having a baby changed everything about me and my lifestyle, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. My little girl truly was a gift.
Sometimes the universe knows what you need, even if you don’t know it yourself.
Photos from Pixabay, except the title graphic, which is my own work.