When we think of September 11th we justly think of all the chaos and tragedy that occurred. While I am still brought to tears, even as I type this, thinking about the images and the grief this day has brought and continues to bring to so many, I am also reminded of the hope that day brought to me. I have never shared this story with anyone because 1.) it is rather personal, even for me and 2.) it has always felt wrong to think of this day as joyful. As I grow in my faith, I am learning that regardless of how I feel about my story, God has a greater purpose for my life experiences, even if I protest.
The morning of September 11, I arrived at the Chase Bank building at 5:00am, 7 months pregnant and ready to put in a days’ worth of work. With the three-hour time difference, we were making calls to the East coast. Our monthly deadline was that day and it was our last push to hit our collections goal. Right before 6:00 am Arizona time, different reps were whispering and chatter started to spread throughout the call center. Soon outgoing calls to New York rendered a busy tone and a Supervisor on our floor told us to stop making calls. Someone came in and announced the news about the Twin Towers. A television was brought out on the floor and we all watched in stunned silence.
When I was a little girl I had always dreamed of living in New York, secretly as a writer, but publicly as an attorney. Then life took a change of events and I still had a secret desire to write but publicly I shifted my focus to the non-profit sector. No matter which way my career path went I knew it would be as a single gal living in New York City.
However, in February of 2000 my dad died suddenly. I had been working full-time at Chase Bank in the collections department and going to school full-time. I was all set to finish college and move to New York in the Summer of 2000. Because my brother was still a minor when my dad died and his estate needed to be settled my plans were put on hold.
During this time, I started dating Ricky, who I had known and worked with for a little over a year. For an entire year we spent fifteen minutes a day on our break grabbing lunch and getting to know one another, yet we never saw each other outside of work. Anyway, I withdrew from school to deal with my dad dying and my relationship with Ricky went from platonic to intimate in a skipped heartbeat. So much so that I found myself pregnant three months into our relationship.
I felt stupid and embarrassed. I prided myself on being twenty-four with no kids because the rest of my family started having kids at 16! Truthfully, I was mostly scared of turning out like my own mother. I cried all the time. I didn’t want to be pregnant. Still, I took my vitamins, stopped drinking, went to the doctor and did everything a responsible mother-to-be should do, expect love the thought of being pregnant.
Just short of being three months pregnant, I miscarried. It was awful. As much as I didn’t want to be pregnant, I didn’t want this. I felt (and still do) guilty and responsible. I thought it was my fault for crying all the time or wishing I hadn’t gotten pregnant in the first place.
It was challenging for my relationship with Ricky because of us having to deal with so much, so early into our relationship. More so because when I became pregnant we started to spend time as a family with my future step-son and dealing with being a blended family. Somehow, we continued and five months later I was pregnant, again.
Carrying the guilt of my previous miscarriage, I refused to cry. I refused to feel anything. I went through all the responsible motions again. With every ultrasound or baby heart beat check we held our breath until the coast was clear. My goal became keeping this baby alive.
Ricky and I had moved in together at the beginning of this pregnancy. I was working full-time and balancing life as a pregnant girlfriend and an un-official step-mom. We hardly ever talked about the baby and we weren’t in any rush to buy any baby items. Although, I did read the What to Expect While Your Expecting book like it was my Bible.
As I stared at the images on the television on the morning of September 11th, I instinctively held my belly. For the first time, I felt like a mother. Not someone who was pregnant and going through the motions. No. I felt like a mom. A mom scared for the future of her unborn little girl. I wanted to protect her from all the unjust craziness of the world. I was overwhelmed with selfless, unconditional love for a baby girl who would be mine to raise.
On that day amid all the chaos and hurt, I felt the joy of impending motherhood for the first time, ever. It turns out being a mommy is everything I never knew I wanted. It is the unconditional love that humbles me and gives me never-ending hope. I am thankful every day that God’s plans promise to prosper me and give me hope.
What is your September 11th story?