Naturally, the second thing I did after finding out I was pregnant (the first being to tell my partner – more on that later) was to google ‘Fuck! Accidentally pregnant?!’ I wasn’t looking for solutions for the problem, but rather a soothing voice to calm my overwhelming panic and offer some reassurance. (A word of warning: googling ‘Fuck! Accidentally pregnant’ will bring up some very questionable Pornhub links relating to some very questionable fetishes..!) In this situation, some people might go to an older woman in their life – their mother for example – but my mother is the personification of panic and I thought better of amalgamating our emotional meltdowns. Given that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned (this seems shockingly high to me but it may be taking into account aborted pregnancies) you’d think there would be a wealth of information and support for those many thousands of women who find themselves huddled over a pee-stick hyperventilating and suddenly wishing they had accepted the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis that the pill offers. There is not.
Why women stay so tightlipped about unplanned pregnancies, I don’t know. Perhaps many are dealt with quietly and regretfully in the early stages and those that aren’t are welcomed as happy surprises. Or maybe there is still fear of the social stigma that has accompanied babies born outside of a neat nuclear family for so many hundreds, thousands of years. Perhaps women still feel – consciously or unconsciously – that they will be judged for practising ‘irresponsible’ sexual freedom. Despite our many modern advances, these views still linger on and can be found in all manner of places. Daily Mail comments section. Golf courses. The offices of the Conservative Party.
I came across one book, ‘How to Rock the Mother of All Surprises’, an account written by a thirty-something year old woman who discovers her Whoopsy pregnancy whilst on a booze filled weekend by the beach. A good read, yes, but reassuring? Not really. She had a husband. I had a boyfriend of ten weeks. She had a house. I had a little apartment that I shared with a man who was not my boyfriend and who was unlikely to have an interest in holding my hair back as I vomited up my bran flakes. She had a career. I was in the midst of leaving mine to go travelling. I read it feeling more envy towards her than empathy. I needed to hear the same story from someone who had become pregnant after a one night stand, to a man whose name she didn’t know, the only detail of which she could remember was that he had casually dropped into drunken conversation that he hated children with a burning passion. In that moment, I needed to feel like someone’s life was worse than mine.
So consider this a sacrificial undertaking. If you have just found out that you’re unexpectedly pregnant and you want to know that someone has been in a worse (or equally as bad) situation as you, and managed to get through it, here I am. Ready to reassure you that there can be life after the blue line.