I say my son’s the baby we didn’t know we wanted because now that he’s here in my arms he is so deeply loved, but if I’m being uncomfortably honest, when I found out I was pregnant with him, I was sure I wanted nothing to do with that.

I’ve always known there was nothing I wanted to be when I grew up more than I wanted to be a mommy. I spent months praying for my first baby, obsessively using ovulation predictors and pregnancy tests, and crying out to God every time my period came. While my second baby wasn’t quite as anxiously anticipated, she was a pleasant surprise.

So believe me when I say I never expected to be upset about a positive pregnancy test.

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After having two babies in two years, my husband and I knew we were ready for a break. When I found out I was pregnant with my third baby while my second was 8 months old, I felt a lot of things, but most prevalent were fear, anger, and indignation. These emotions were followed quickly by a lot of guilt.

I knew I didn’t want another baby right then.

I knew I wasn’t ready for another baby right then. And I knew that feeling those things probably made me the worst mother in the world.

That’s why the first thing I want you to know if you find yourself pregnant with a baby you’re not sure you want is it’s OK to feel what you feel. We can’t control our feelings, only our actions. I experienced a lot of sadness and anger, and sometimes, I prayed for a better attitude, and sometimes, I just allowed myself to sit in what I can only describe as grief.

I took responsibility for the things I could control. I took care of my body and made healthy, pregnant-mama choices. I accepted that ready or not, this baby was coming and that I would figure out mothering three under three because I would have to. I think it’s healthy that before I came to that place of acceptance, I just felt my honest feelings, and looking back, I wish I’d given myself more grace.

The second thing I want you to know is you get to handle your news however you want. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to baby announcements. With my first two, I told my nearest and dearest immediately and shouted it from the rooftops by 12 weeks. With this baby, I wasn’t ready to tell anyone for a long time. I was too busy dealing with my own feelings to deal with anyone else’s. I didn’t want to listen to other people’s excitement when I wasn’t feeling it myself. Even worse, I didn’t want to deal with other people making me feel like I was crazy and couldn’t possibly do this because I had enough doubts on my own.

Most of all I wasn’t ready to deal with other people being stressed on our behalf when I was too stressed out myself.

I found out I was pregnant the day after my husband quit a job that was not working without having anything else lined up. We had a baby on the way, needed to sell our house and buy a new one, needed to sell one of our cars and buy a new one, and the sole breadwinner of our family was out of work. I could not reassure the people who loved us that it was going to be OK because I wasn’t sure of it myself.

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Ultimately, I did what I had to do just to get through those first hard months.

We kept the news between my husband and me for a long time. When I was ready to tell someone, I shared with one close friend whose reaction I could anticipate. We told our immediate families later than we ever have before. We didn’t personally tell a lot of people we would have normally. We told our closest people to share the news for us when I still wasn’t at a place where I could excitedly tell the world. I know there were some hurt feelings amidst all that, but I can’t regret that I did what I had to just to cope.

The third thing I want you to know is that God can take it. When you’re having your honest feelings, God can take it. When you’re expressing your doubts, God can take it. When you’re asking why, God can take it.

Throughout this whole pregnancy I grieved with God, I lashed out at God, I asked God some pretty impertinent questions, and I never hid my anger or fear from God. He knows my every thought and feeling, what’s the point in hiding?

I can’t say my view of God during this time was perfect or that I was never sinful in the ways I responded to my unexpected pregnancy, but I can say that when I was constantly worried about how others would react to both the pregnancy and to my feelings about the pregnancy, it was nice to know I could say it all to God and His view of me didn’t change.

Lauren Dank

Lauren is a stay-at-home mom of three littles . . . Eliza (3), Nora (1), and Benjamin (2 months). She spends a lot of time filling sippy cups, changing diapers, and refereeing toddler cuddle sessions turned wrestling matches. You can find her chronicling life and offering encouragement, survival tips, and realism @raisinglittlecyclones on Instagram.