Alice's Story
"Mothering, A Planned Accident"

My son was a planned accident. Carl was planned in that I went off the pill a year before he was conceived because I’d reached a point when an unplanned pregnancy would not be devastating. He was an accident in that my husband and I decided - after our one and only time of unprotected sex - that we wanted to wait a few years to start a family.

I’m ever so grateful for our planned accident. It allowed me to become pregnant without the anxiety of “trying” and helped me avoid spending lots of time building expectations about motherhood. (Most of my focus during pregnancy was on my health and preparing for the birth process.)

So now, as if it were unexpected, I’m a “mom.” On the one hand, I feel like my life has been turned completely upside down and on the other I’m amazed at how natural parenting feels. I attribute the “natural” part to the attitude surrounding our planned accident. Deep down I knew I was ready to take on the challenge of parenthood, yet I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what it would be like.

For example, I did not:

  • anticipate witnessing so many wonderful smiles from complete strangers;
  • understand that I would spend so much time breast feeding;
  • expect the delight I feel every morning when my son greets me with a big smile from his crib;
  • think I’d actually schedule dinner dates at 5 pm;
  • realize my time away from Carl would be as special as my time with him;
  • believe I would forget the pain associated with birth;
  • conceive how adamant I would be about reducing/reorganizing my work hours so I could be home with Carl four days a week; nor
  • fathom that having a child would mean I would spend so much more time with my husband, Eric.

Carl just started sitting up and grabbing toys with intention. I couldn’t quite visualize this stage two months ago — just like I can not completely imagine what it’s going to be like when he starts crawling or walking, let alone talking.

I believe every new stage of motherhood is going to feel a bit like a planned accident — deep down I am ready for it.


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We will make a river,
flood this city built of passion
with fire,
with a revolutionary fire.
- Joy Harjo