pregnancy
Adapting to college can feel daunting and learning to balance these changes after finding about your mother's pregnancy is even tougher, but it can be done. (Image via Pixabay)

When you get out of high school and dive right into college, so many aspects of your life can change. You’re in a new place surrounded by so many new faces, all from different places. You relearn your social circle yet again, feeling out which crowd of people you’ll fit best with. Maybe you try to test the waters in the notorious Greek life or try to stick with some high school traditions like marching band.

Oftentimes you leave your home, saying goodbye to your hometown and those you love most. One of the biggest shockers when leaving high school, though, is seeing where all of your other classmates continue in their lives. Some people go to the military, cosmetology school, other colleges both in and out of state and some people even end up pregnant really fast. But what happens when you don’t end up expecting, but your mom does?

I was only about two months into my sophomore year of college when my mom started dropping hints about pregnancy. Between starting classes and performing in marching band during college football season, I already didn’t see my mom too often. I will admit, however, that I am one of those daughters that texts her mom just about every day. So, when my mom would tell me that she would wake up sick and feel nauseous throughout the day, the “I’m preggo” jokes simmered in my head for a little longer than they should have.

It wasn’t until Halloween that my suspicions were confirmed. I visited home to go candy-hunting with my younger brother who was 10 years old at the time. When my family made it back to the house, I got a whole spiel from my dad being the oldest of my siblings, as I had one who is nine years younger than me and another who, apparently, would soon be 20 behind me.

You see, it wasn’t my parents’ intention to have a baby every 10 years or so. I don’t even think I was a purposeful decision, because I was born when both of my parents were in high school. Born at only 28 weeks, I proved to be a mighty little fighter because I was constantly in the hospital due to my underdeveloped lungs.

After such a troubling pregnancy and delivery of a merely 2-pound baby, it made sense for my parents to give another pregnancy some time. Their next baby was born when I was just 9 years old; I suppose this is a significant gap, but clearly much better after having their first child so young. They were now experienced parents who were ready for teeny-tiny complications, and luckily those complications never came with my brother.

Fast forward 10 more years: Their first baby is in her second year of college trying her best to be a great example for her younger brother, who is scratching the surface of fifth grade. Because I am much older now for my mom’s third pregnancy than I was for her second pregnancy, I have a much greater understanding of what is going on. I hardly remember my mom being pregnant with my brother, so this bun in the oven is 100 percent fresh.

Got Questions? Yeah you do.

Be prepared to ask your mom a lot of questions, and I mean A LOT. How are you feeling today? Are you nauseous? Do you need anything? How are you feeling today? Does your back hurt? Are you in pain? How are you feeling today? Did you sleep enough? Did the baby move? Is it hurting you?

I found myself bombarding my mom with questions on the daily, most specifically: How are you feeling today? This is a basic question you could ask literally anyone at any time, but even if you know nothing about being pregnant, the answer can really help gauge where someone is mentally, physically and emotionally.

My mom has not once mentioned being irritated of me posing the question, and when I do ask it, I try to get as much out of her answer as possible. She’s nauseous? I’ll do more work for her. She’s been sleeping a lot more? I’ll leave her alone when she goes to her room. She’s tired and swollen? Again, do more for her so she has significantly less to do, especially as she progresses further into her pregnancy.

Gender reveal? Plan accordingly.

You will go run down every baby aisle in Target and Walmart, scouring through everything fueling your baby fever. You will want to make your own gesture to your mom, and that might include breaking your wallet just for her.

I decided that my special surprise to my parents would be a gender reveal box. I stopped at Target and trudged my way through the mommy- and daddy-filled aisles through piles of baby clothes to find the ones that I knew my mom would love. While it is difficult to realize, babies grow at an alarming speed, so keep in mind to look at sizes bigger than newborn to six months.

After deciding on a few things to purchase, I found a large box to fill with pink tissue paper, shredded paper, flower balloons, baby clothes and a few other items. I finally ended my search by buying some pink confetti poppers and I was so ready for the reveal. Long story short, I didn’t get my Insta-worthy gender reveal, but my parents loved the gesture anyway.

Baby shower galore

You can go ahead and try to plan a shower for your mom yourself; I wasn’t so lucky, because everyone else had already beat me to it. Get ready to make room for shower after shower from different people, like your mom’s friends, other aunts and or a planned joint one by your parents.

They are each going to happen and they are each going to be different. Are men allowed or not? Does my mom know, or is it a surprise? Men are typically nowhere to be seen during a baby shower, so unless someone specifically says so, don’t invite men. With the shower planned by my parents, invites consisted mainly of my dad’s work friends, who were majority male, and it was a hilarious time.

The same goes for the surprise factor; this could go in various ways. If friends are hosting the shower, they might tell your mom, “Hey, we’re throwing you a baby shower, invite whoever you want!” then your mom, more than likely, knows about this shower. If your cousin is texting you to make sure your mom shows up at your aunt’s house at 5 p.m. the following Saturday, then your mom probably has no clue about what’s going on. Depending on who’s throwing it and when, she may or may not know about it; regardless, she will definitely enjoy and appreciate every bit of it.

She’s definitely going through it, and so are you.

Remember when I mentioned that I didn’t see my mom as often as I would have liked in the early stages of her pregnancy? School didn’t make that any easier as the months progressed. Clearly your mom is filled with ever-changing feelings, some that she won’t even tell you about, but college isn’t making things better for you either.

I think everyone has that “What am I even doing here?” phase when in college, but with exams and assignments, even more so with finals, those negative thoughts are heightened. With my dad as the only source of income for my family and knowing how expensive it is to have a baby, I had my fair share of mental melt-downs when thinking about my own academic decisions for too long.

Just hang in there! If you feel like you’re doing something wrong, don’t. If you really need an academic break, talk to a professor that you trust or an advisor to see what to do next. If anything, just call your mom and know that, even though she might worry alongside you, she will for sure hear her baby out because you will always be her baby.

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