JACK CANFIELD and MARK VICTOR HANSEN, the # 1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling coauthors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, have dedicated their lives to the personal and professional development of others.
PATTY AUBERY is the coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul, Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul and Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul. She is the proud mother of two boys.
NANCY MITCHELL AUTIO is the coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul, Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul and Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul. She and her husband, Kirk, hope to be expectant parents by the time this book is published. Aubery and Autio are based out of California
I stared at the stick in disbelief. Two straight, pink lines. No doubt about itpregnant. Oh my God!
A mix of excitement and sheer terror washed over me. Sure, my husband and I had talked about having a baby. I just didn't think it would happen so fast. It seemed like one minute we were talking and the next, I was standing in front of the drugstore's home-pregnancy section debating whether I should buy the single- or the two-test pack.
I had a feelingearly mother's intuition maybe? And bought just a single test. That was all I needed. We were having a baby. And I'd never even changed a diaper.
What were we thinking?
My husband, Joe, developed the baby pangs a year ago. I, on the other hand, was seized by fear. I wasn't ready. I'd look at a baby and mentally count the bottles of Pepto-Bismol the parents would consume once that bundle of joy hit those turbulent teens, or I'd calculate how much five years of college would cost. Then the baby bug bit meand not a second too soon.
Now my body's on this wild, hormonal ride, and I have to say, sometimes I want to get off.
I'm this close to thirty years old, but my complexion is sixteen. Nausea is my constant companion. My friends even ask for upchuck updates. I never drive anywhere without an air sickness bag by my side, and I've thrown up in so many restaurant parking lots that I've thought about asking if I could just rent my dinners instead of buying them. My bladder has shrunk to the size of a lima bean, requiring me to pee exactly every thirteen minutes.
And I'm so acutely tuned in to painyeah, that bodes well for an easy labor and deliverythat I swear early on, I could feel each and every cell dividing. Hypochondriacs are not good pregnant women.
More proof. When two barf-free weeks passed, I panicked. I felt so normal. I figured something had to be wrong. Maybe I wasn't having a baby after all. Maybe it was a hysterical pregnancy. Joe assured me the only thing hysterical about this pregnancy is me.
And my maternity underwear.
I'm not sure which is scarierhaving my body feel so out of control or those enormous, one-size-fits-all panties. At four months, my belly's still at that awkward is she-pregnant-or-is-that-a-beer-gut stage. My little Buddha belly is enough to keep me out of my stylish silk undies, but it's still too small for the maternity briefs. I can pull those things up over my chest.
I think I just invented combination bra and underwear. I'll call it the brunder. If I can sell that idea to Victoria's Secret, no more worries about our kiddo's college tuition. But I have to say, the most amazing transformation of all&3151even more than filling out that maternity underwear some dayis how neurotic I've become about this little person who isn't even born yet. It all hit when I saw the first sonogram of our baby on the monitor. That's when I really and truly realized this was our baby. Our baby. The nausea and frequent urination, all the inconveniences, well, they just melted away. They didn't matter anymore as I looked at this amazing person. Our baby.
At just eleven weeks old, our little miracle was already so perfectly formed, yet so small--just four centimeters-that Joe nicknamed the baby "Speck."
It was much too early to tell the gender, but I saw a little girl taking her first steps, walking to school, getting her driver's license, going to college, getting married, having babies of her own. Her whole life flashed before my eyes right on that screen. I thought about what a big, ugly world is waiting out there for Speck. One filled with cancer and war and junior high dances. How could I possibly protect her from all the bad, while letting her experience the good?
Yes, in that instant I realized there are much scarier things than that shapeless maternity underwear. But you know what else I realized? I'm ready.
(c)2000. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul by by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Aubery, Nancy Mitchell. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.