My Story. Real. Vulnerable.

This is me about one year ago. In five months from now I will give birth to my third baby in three years. Um, no, we did not plan it this way. If your jaw dropped a little, I would say that mind fell off of my face when I held a positive pregnancy test in my hand.

Since I shared my news, I have been so uplifted and buoyed by the well wishes and support of our friends and family. I’m energized by all of the kind words and excitement. Truly, it does help to be reminded that this is an act of bravery and resilience on my part. I hope you realize that if those qualities are something you see in me its because those are qualities that reside deeply in you.

Lets have a little real talk.

Before becoming a Mother the first time, I spent a lot of time with children and felt at home playing and caring for them. That didn’t prepare me at all for the tremendous upheaval that took place inside of me the moment my daughter was born. For over a year I had paralyzing anxiety that consumed and exhausted me. It wasn’t until I stopped breastfeeding after I (unexpectedly!) became pregnant with my son that my anxiety eased up and I felt like I could breath and connect with other people again. Barely.

Being a mother of two young babes has stretched our family and made us grow exponentially. It is also really hard and stressful at times. My husband and I made the choice to stop after two and so I had an IUD inserted at the end of my last visit home to the United States in May. I did my due diligence and went to have my IUD checked out two weeks later. It had disappeared. A CT scan the next day showed that it perforated my uterus. I made an appointment for surgery the next week and decided that I would more forward and have my fallopian tubes removed entirely at the same time. No more unplanned babies for me! While the decision was bittersweet, I felt really positive and happy about moving onto a new stage of life.

Two weeks later I got the shock of my life. Despite all of my pregnancy tests leading up to my surgery, there, in my uterus that had been stretched and shrunk and even perforated, was my third baby.

Growing as if nothing had ever happened. Growing as if nothing else could have ever been. A little undetected embryo persisted through a surgery, endured through my body’s recovery, and thrived through my own resignation that I could not possibly handle another baby.

My immediate thought was termination. In Japan, it is legal to have an abortion in the first trimester if the pregnancy creates a hardship. It felt restrictive and infuriating to know that it is not more widely available. At the same time, I was so comforted to know that option was there for me in my situation. In an age when Roe v. Wade seems to be hanging in the balance and women’s basic human right to make determining choices about our bodies and our life is under real and constant attack, I caught a small glimpse into what more restrictive policies could look like.

After I let fear subside, I opened myself to the idea of a world with a third baby. For the first time in my life, I was at a true crossroads. I could see two different and beautiful paths ahead. One was the life I had already taken so many steps to ensure. The other was full of uncertainty and hope. Motherhood upended every part of me, yet somewhere along the line I unearthed my own healing, tenacity, and resilience. A million tiny, difficult moments brought me home to myself.

Because I knew that I had access to a safe abortion if I chose to, I didn’t have to fear being in a position that I couldn’t handle. I felt a strong sense of community in connecting with women who have had abortions or considered abortions. I felt a strong sense of community with women that have decided to go forward with unplanned pregnancies. Every woman who has been in a similar situation knows that in the moment she is weighing not only her own desires and well being, but also that of her entire family unit.

Both choices are entirely honorable and brave. My personal decision became less about whether or not to terminate my pregnancy, but more about whether or not I really wanted to have another baby. I was able to imagine a life that was not dictated by my fears and my past experiences, but truly aligned with what I wanted for my future and for my family. Every woman who finds herself in a place where she has to consider bringing a baby to life deserves the same.

I wanted to share this with everyone because I think its important to talk about and normalize all the of sometimes complicated emotions that come along with parenthood, family planning, and our journey as mothers.

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My Story. Real. Vulnerable.

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