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Finally, some good news
There’s more, indeed!
I don’t have a clever intro to start this week. Instead, I’ll just get right to it: I’m pregnant!
Billy and I are expecting a baby girl in October, which means we’ve reached the halfway point of pregnancy. We’re excited, scared, grateful, anxious, thrilled, and all the things that first-time parents tend to be.
Yes, it’s weird to be pregnant in a pandemic. Yes, it’s weird to be pregnant in general, given that I fully expected to be an adoptive mom. Yes, it’s weird to have some good news to share—especially after a few sad newsletter updates.
And yes, it’s really wonderful, too.
I’ve been cautious about how much I share online about my relationship with Billy; I’m aware that people have opinions about finding love again after the death of a spouse, and wanted to avoid outside judgment. But earlier this year, I decided to divulge Billy’s name—up to that point, I’d only referred to him as “my partner”—and shared the catchphrase that’s become somewhat of a relationship mantra for us.
Billy’s full name is Billy Mays III. If that sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the son and namesake of the late, great pitchman Billy Mays, best known for his ubiquitous OxiClean commercials and signature line, “But wait, there’s more!” Yes, that Billy Mays.
I’ve thought about the fact that, if I were to ever write a memoir, “But Wait, There’s More!” would be a good title for the chapter where I introduced my relationship with Billy. For a long time, I couldn’t imagine loving anyone in the same way that I loved my late husband, Jamie. I couldn’t imagine anyone being accepted by my friends and family in the same way that Jamie was. I couldn’t imagine finding happiness again. I couldn’t imagine feeling strong or hopeful or brave enough to want to plan a future with anyone else.
I’d often express these fears to the people closest to me; they’d listen with an empathetic ear and, usually, try to convince me that things would turn around with time. I didn’t believe them. The universe had taken Jamie’s life away and ruined mine. Why should I trust in something good happening? But wait, they would patiently tell me, reminding me that if I stayed open despite all my pain, there’s more ahead.
And now here we are. If all goes well, Billy and I will welcome a new family member in less than five months. There’s more, indeed!
It’s been hard to not write about this development until now. I found out I was pregnant in early February, and spent most of that month battling nausea and wondering how in the hell I’d come up with other things to write about in this newsletter.
I wasn’t ready to share the news publicly, but worried that waiting would stifle my writing. “I write about what I’m thinking about, and all I can think about is being pregnant!” I told my editor, Becca.
“I know,” she said. “I’m sure you’ll figure out something else to write about in the meantime. You always do.”
Then the coronavirus crisis happened, and everything changed. Becca was right. For better or worse, I had something else to think and write about.
At first, the pandemic took my attention away from pregnancy. It added to the anxiety both Billy and I were feeling about becoming parents, but it also gave us some time and space to process the huge changes ahead of us. Now, as pandemic life has gotten a bit easier to adjust to—or, at least, this strange reality feels a little less strange—I’ve become more preoccupied with the little being growing inside me. My belly is getting bigger and harder to ignore, we now know the baby’s sex, and the reality of becoming a parent is becoming more and more tangible.
One thing is certain about being pregnant in a pandemic: It serves as a huge reminder that you can’t control things. Ever since we decided to try and have a baby, nothing has turned out quite like we imagined. Because of COVID precautions, I’ve had to attend prenatal appointments alone, we’re considering the possibility of a virtual baby shower, and we’ve missed out on enjoying quality pre-baby time with family and friends.
Still, I am immensely grateful. There are plenty of ways that my life will change, and there are things that I hope I can carry with me from this time. There are reasons why I’ve waited to share this news, and reasons why I feel a bit guilty now that it’s out. I’m looking forward to writing about all of it.
Rest assured, there will still be plenty of other subjects to explore outside of pregnancy and parenthood. I’ll keep writing about topics like grief and uncertainty, anxiety and overthinking—the fun stuff we all deal with! It’s my hope that this experience, like any other major life event, will inform my mindset and broaden my perspective. With any luck, it will make me a more empathetic writer.
I hope you’ll continue to follow along as I figure it out. For now, it feels good to finally share this big news.
Let’s hear your good news!
It’s nice to have something to celebrate. There’s no shortage of things to mourn, worry, and be angry about these days, but that doesn’t stop good things from also happening. I want to hear about the good news in your life! Tell me about your happy moments—big and small—and how it feels to celebrate them during the pandemic.
Share your stories by replying to this email, leaving a comment, or sending me a message. I’ll compile some of your best replies in Thursday’s subscriber-only newsletter.
Also: If you’re not a paying subscriber, you can still contribute! If I use your response, I’ll be sure to forward along Thursday’s newsletter so you can read it. (Of course, it’s never too late to become a paying subscriber!)
My Sweet Dumb Brain is written by Katie Hawkins-Gaar. It’s edited by Rebecca Coates, who can’t wait to meet baby Hawkins-Mays! Special shoutout to Kristen Hare, who has her own newsletter for local journalists, for the wonderful cross-stitch gift that made for an A+ baby announcement.